My favorite thing about potlucks is the bountiful assortment of side dishes that are usually available. I can pile my plate high with a little of this salad and a little of that one. And more often than not, these salads aren’t leafy lettuce ones but are instead comprised of a rich abundance of other vegetables, fruits, and grains.
Of course, delicious salads shouldn’t be reserved only for potluck dinners. Salads of all sorts make a great side dish for just about any meal. Here are seven non-leafy salads worth adding to your recipe repertoire.
Cool Off with Cucumber Salad
There’s something ever so refreshing about biting into a cool, crisp cucumber on a hot summer day. That’s why cucumber salad makes such an excellent side dish for grilled meats.
It’s easy to make a creamy dressing for a cucumber salad with mayonnaise and either plain Greek yogurt or sour cream. Dill, vinegar, and sugar round out the dressing to lend the salad a sweet-and-sour flavor. Just be sure to de-seed your cucumbers before tossing them in the dressing so that your salad doesn’t get watery.
Prepare cucumber salad one hour in advance and leave it in the refrigerator to chill and meld the flavors.
Find Satisfying Crunch in Broccoli Salad
The main ingredient in broccoli salad is, of course, broccoli, but that’s not the only component at play here. The hearty salad also features sunflower seeds and bacon. The dish is brought together with a dressing of vinegar and mayonnaise. Just a splash of sugar adds depth to the salad’s flavor profile.
Although this salad works just fine without them, you may want to add raisins or dried cranberries to your dish. They provide a hint of sweetness and lend contrast to the crunchy vegetables.
This hearty salad pairs well with beef main dishes of all sorts, from pot roast to burgers.
Couple Mexican Meals with Corn Salad
Corn is a common side dish for tacos and other Mexican fares, but serving plain corn time and again can quickly become boring.
Instead, mix up your cooking with Mexican Street Corn Salad. This side dish takes elotes, a food truck favorite, and changes it into an easy salad to serve on your dinner table.
For the best flavor, use corn straight off the cob. Cilantro, diced jalapeno peppers, cotija cheese and lime juice add plenty of Mexican tastes to this dish.
Make a Fruit Salad with Watermelon
A classic picnic treat, watermelon practically screams summer. It’s great that this melon is so popular as it is a rich source of lycopene, vitamin A, vitamin C and the amino acid L-citrulline. Plus, it’s low in calories.
The next time you have barbecued chicken or pork, serve a watermelon salad alongside it. The dish is bursting with flavor, thanks to not just watermelon but also thinly sliced sweet onions, feta cheese, and mint leaves. An oil-and-vinegar dressing lightly coats the mixture.
Get Protein from Quinoa Salad
Quinoa is a grain that’s high in protein. It provides all of the amino acids plus iron, potassium, lysine and vitamin E. Similar to rice, this healthy grain blends well with other flavors, so it makes an excellent base for salads.
Green Bean and Almond Quinoa Salad features nutty quinoa, crunchy almonds, and lightly cooked green beans. Start with fresh green beans, and give them a 5-minute steam to tenderize them a bit. Once combined with quinoa and sliced almonds, the green beans need only a dash of lemon juice, a teaspoon of almond extract and a pinch of salt and pepper to become a flavorful salad.
Put a Twist on Pasta Salad with Orzo
A short, rice-shaped pasta, orzo is an interesting addition to salads. And although orzo’s size is similar to that of rice, it contains double the protein of brown rice.
This small pasta makes a creative base for Greek-style salads. Cucumber, onion, and tomatoes make this dish similar to traditional pasta salads, but the addition of black olives and feta cheese put a Mediterranean twist on the recipe. A homemade vinaigrette ties the whole dish together.
Try Something New with Panzanella
This might just be your favorite salad that you’ve never yet heard of. Panzanella is a Tuscan salad made of bread and tomatoes. The trick to this delicious salad is to use dried bread and let it sit in your juicy tomato mixture for about six hours to infuse the croutons with sweet tomato goodness.
Although tomatoes, bread and a light vinaigrette alone are enough to make a delicious bread salad, many recipes call for the addition of diced cucumbers and thinly sliced onions. These extra vegetables add both flavor and nutritional value to the dish.
Panzanella works well as a side dish, but it can also be served as a main course. Adding mozzarella cheese to the salad gives it an extra boost of heartiness.
Which non-leafy salad will you make next? Whether I’m carrying a dish to a potluck or just feeding my family at home, I find salad side dishes satisfying and delicious. Drop your favorite salad recipe in the comments below. Then, please share this article with your friends so they too can find a new salad to make for dinner tonight.