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10 Easy Main Course Salads for an Outdoor Potluck

Invited to a ton of outdoor picnics and backyard barbecues this summer? Not sure what to bring with you? Don’t sweat it. There are many types of main course salads that you can make easily in your apartment and that will travel well. Because they are hearty dishes, they can serve as the star of the show rather than just a side item. The possibilities are endless when it comes to salads, but here are some ideas for inspiration.

Main Course Salads with Chicken

  • Grilled Chinese Chicken Salad, as posted on the Food & Wine website: Chicken, coleslaw mix, ginger-miso spice paste, and some commonly used vegetables and condiments is all you’ll need.
  • Summer Pasta Salad, as posted on the Vegetarian Gastronomy website: Gluten-free pasta can be used to create a refreshing and hearty pasta salad. You can make a pasta salad your own by incorporating your favorite vegetables and dressing. This one features artichoke hearts, black olives, feta cheese, and various sweet peppers for a beautiful blend of colors.
  • Chicken Waldorf Salad, as posted on The Food Network website: Combine cubed, cooked chicken with grapes and/or raisins, a chopped apple, some nuts, and a few other ingredients and toss them with mayo and yogurt. Pack some pita bread separately that people can use to make sandwiches, and you’re good to go.

Main Course Salads with Steak or Beef

  • Taco Salad, as posted on the Allrecipes website: You most likely already know how to make it and have eaten it plenty of times, so this one can’t get much easier. Cooked ground beef, taco seasoning, beans, cheese, lettuce, sour cream, salsa, you know how it goes. Toss a bag of tortilla chips into your picnic basket and you’re done.
  • Steak and Potato Salad, as posted on the Martha Stewart website: Here’s the perfect solution for those who prefer meat ‘n potatoes to light and airy salads: Combine them into one! This one might take a little more effort, but it will be well worth it.

Seafood Salads

  • Crab, Apple, and Watercress Salad with Walnut Vinaigrette, as posted on the Food & Wine website: Featuring a variety of textures and tastes, this salad is easier to make than it sounds. It’ll look like you spent hours preparing it, but really it’s a simple matter of combining the dressing ingredients and tossing precooked crab, walnuts, apple, and a few other ingredients into a bowl.
  • Classic Tuna Salad, as posted on the Genius Kitchen website: We couldn’t let this blog go without including this classic. When stored in a sealed container in a refrigerator or cooler, tuna salad is perfect for not only short picnics, but also a weekend-long trip.

Gluten-Free and Vegetarian Salads

  • Cranberry Pecan Wild Rice Salad, as posted on the Veggie Inspired website: Most salads are or can be made gluten-free and vegetarian, but you can get so creative with them that we had to make this its own category. This recipe is the perfect example. It’s nutty, tangy, sweet, and full of protein and other nutrients. It’s also easy to make and even easier to store.
  • Jicama, Black Bean, and Quinoa Salad, as posted on the Gluten-Free Living website: With its range of colors and textures, this salad is just as beautiful as it is tasty and healthy. It’s hearty enough to serve as a main course, and can keep for several days when stored properly.
  • Vegetarian Cobb Salad with Roasted Sweet Potato, as posted on the She Likes Food website: Boiled egg, lettuce, beans, pepitas, and roasted sweet potatoes make this a hearty, satisfying, healthy, and beautiful dish. It’s all you want out of a salad in one mouthful.
  • Summer Pasta Salad, as posted on the Vegetarian Gastronomy website: Gluten-free pasta can be used to create a refreshing and hearty pasta salad. You can make a pasta salad your own by incorporating your favorite vegetables and dressing. This one features artichoke hearts, black olives, feta cheese, and various sweet peppers for a beautiful blend of colors.