Best Summer Pot Luck Main Dishes (Salads?)

Going to a pot luck this weekend and want to bring something interesting but not too exotic. I've done Ina's Orzo salad and that was a HUGE hit. Anyone have suggestions? Thanks!



BerryBaby July 15, 2016
A big thank you for all the wonderful suggestions! I looked at what I had on-hand and this is what I came up with. It is an Orzo salad with lemon-lime dressing, zucchini, red pepper, Greek olives, red onion, fresh dill and parsley, salt/pepper. It is very tasty and perfect for outside potluck as it is best at room temperature. Also made brownies with mini-chocolate chips instead of nuts. I will definitely keep all of these ideas. They will probably be seen on the dinner table! BB
Pegeen July 14, 2016
And the thing that will put this salad over the top is zest from the limes - whatever you have: a teaspoon of grated peel or, for a bigger crowd, a tablespoon. If you don't have limes on hand, use lemons. It will make a lot of difference in salad, which you will have let rest for a few hours before serving. Right?
AntoniaJames July 14, 2016
Last night I made a quickie side salad that could easily be made a main. Ours was made with whole wheat couscous (nice and flavorful!), leftover quinoa (color, flavor, texture), halved cherry tomatoes, golden beet cubes, diced cucumber, and loads of coarsely chopped fresh parsley and basil with a touch of mint. Dressing: juice of a lemon, pinch of salt, a few grinds of pepper, and the best olive oil in my cupboard. It was delicious!

I didn't include them last night but for a party I'd also add some roughly chopped olives and lemon zest (my zest had already been used in our grilled chicken's marinade).
Were I making it a main, I'd lightly toss in at the last minute chunks of feta and cubes of smoked mozzarella. A not-vegetarian version could include quick seared and chilled shrimp, cut into halves or thirds, depending on size.
Just want to emphasize that whole wheat couscous is so flavorful! Not to mention how little time and effort is required: boil water, pour it over couscous, tightly cover, don't touch for 15 minutes, done! Simply perfect, in so many ways, for summer dining. ;o)
creamtea July 14, 2016
Yum, AJ!
Pegeen July 14, 2016
Oops! Add to the key ingredient list: cilantro (traditional) or substitute basil if you prefer.
Pegeen July 14, 2016
Black beans, corn kernels (steamed and sliced off the cob), red onion diced small, red pepper diced small, cilantro or basil torn small, with a lime-honey vinaigrette. Optional: just a dash of hot sauce to the vinaigrette, in case some people can't handle the heat. If you feel you need more bulk: chickpeas, cherry tomatoes cut in half, diced chicken.

The key ingredients are the black beans, corn, red onion and lime vinaigrette.
Valhalla July 14, 2016
This a a nice twist on potato salad. I don't grill the potatoes, just roast them:
creamtea July 14, 2016
If I can toot my ow horn a little, this salad of mine was a contest winner and still popular on the site. It's full of flavor:
Stephanie July 14, 2016
I don't know how I missed this but I've bookmarked it now. Thanks for tooting your own horn (well deserved) and bringing this to our attention.
AntoniaJames July 14, 2016
Yes, this is beautiful, creamtea. I too am glad you tooted your own horn. I always buy an extra ear or two of corn at the farmers' market, so I appreciate new ways to use the leftover later in the week. Thank you! ;o)
sydney July 14, 2016
I don't know if any of the previous URLs were...lentil salad? Quick and easy to make (no lentil-soaking required), very substantial, stays fresh for a few days, and colourful with fresh scallions, red and green peppers, and/or anything else you like. So versatile. And it pairs with so many other foods it finds itself beside.
Stephanie July 14, 2016
Ooh, yes, great thought. I might have to make that this weekend!
PHIL July 13, 2016
Another idea, got a bundt pan? Giada's rice cake was a show stopper or a spaghetti pie
PHIL July 13, 2016
Good point Nancy , I usually serve it immediately
sexyLAMBCHOPx July 13, 2016
Jennifer Perillo's Summer Farro Salad is a tried and true favorite of mine from this site, plus you can it one day in advance. I sometimes add baby arugula, baby spinach or watercress. Here's the link:
QueenSashy July 13, 2016
I am really crazy about this salad . Also this is one hell of a salad and a huge hit at my parties, but I recommend making everything ahead and assembling once you arrive to your destination
PHIL July 13, 2016
I like Ina's watermelon salad . I change it up a bit. I use cilliegine instead of feta and add some chiffonade spinach. Another option might be a fattoush. I made one from food52 recipe . Lastly that one night in Bangkok salad won best crunchy salad last week
Nancy July 13, 2016
Phil, good idea - I make a similar salad often, and it's a big hit.
But Berry Baby see & remember Ina's caution - if not serving within an hour, store dressing and salad separately, then combine just before serving.
I've learned the hard way that the watermelon collapses is left about half an hour in the vinaigrette.
Elizabeth V. July 13, 2016
Silver Palate's Nutted Wild Rice
Nancy July 13, 2016
And, related, their rice and vegetable salad from the original 1979 edition of the book.
Nancy July 13, 2016
Missoni vegetable casserole. Like a ratatouille, but beautifully arranged in stripes and patterns (like their clothes). From Tai (Ottavio) Missoni, one half of the couple that founded the fashion house. Good and safe for hours at room temp, hot from the oven, maybe even cold.
See this Mimi Sheraton article from 1984, when the recipe appeared in NYT:
Lindsay-Jean H. July 13, 2016
Sticking with twists on pasta salad, I love Yotam Ottolenghi's Soba Noodles with Aubergine and Mango from Plenty. If you don't have the book, there's a version of the salad on 101 Cookbooks:
Stephanie July 13, 2016
This is one of my "go-to," feed-a-crowd recipes. I don't know that I've ever made it the same way twice - I use whatever I might have on hand!
Sarah July 13, 2016
Recommended by Food52