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Picnic Salad Recipes

By Editorial Staff

picnic saladsContributed by Info Guru Aurora LaJambre

Picnics are the ultimate way to enjoy the outdoors over some good food with special people, but when you do them potluck style there’s always the risk that everyone will bring the same dish.

These top ten picnic salad recipes include timeless favorites and a few dishes that if you haven’t tried, you’re in for a refreshing treat.

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10. Noodle


This noodle bowl introduces some new flavors to delicious picnic fair. Cook thin linguine noodles according to the instructions. Chop up a few veggies like purple cabbage, Napa cabbage, and colorful peppers. Wash and throw in slices scallions, bean sprouts and fresh cilantro. Make a dressing with soy sauce, olive oil, a little sesame oil, fresh ginger, garlic and a pinch or sugar. Shake and mix.

9. Macaroni


Macaroni is a reliable fallback when you’re short on ingredients and need picnic salad recipes STAT. Cook the macaroni as instructed then rinse and throw it in a bowl. Add chopped celery and onion, and then flavor to taste with a spoonful of mayo and dry mustard. Cider vinegar adds some bite and salt and pepper makes it sing.

8. Coleslaw


Would it really be a picnic without coleslaw? Nope. Make this the night prior and you’ll be the bell of the food table. Shred cabbage into a bowl. Add chopped bell pepper, sweet onion and a grated carrot. In a separate measuring jar make a dressing with cider vinegar, 1 tsp of dry mustard, celery seed and salt. Mix in some olive oil and sugar to taste. Shake, pour over the cabbage and stir.

7. Cucumber


This one’s a classic because you really can’t go wrong with a few simple ingredients. Slice a few cucumbers and red onion very thin. In a seal-able container mix vinegar, salt, pepper, pinch of salt and some fresh chopped dill. Shake and pour over the cucumbers. Let chill for a few hours and serve cold.

6. Three Bean

Three Bean

Use fresh, canned or frozen beans for this one so you can make it year round- any three of the following beans: black, red, white, black-eyed peas, edamame or string. Steam the beans for a few minutes. Heat oil with cumin, onion, garlic, salt and pepper and the onions in a pan for about a minute. Mix the beans and seasoned oil, and top with fresh lime juice and fresh cilantro. Cool for a few minutes.

5. Potato


Potato in this dish because they hold their shape after boiled. Leave the skin on or off, it’s up to you. Use a good kitchen knife to chop onions and celery for some crunch. Slice hard boiled eggs or throw in some olives if you like. Mix with a spoon of mayonnaise, mustard or both, and garlic, salt and pepper, and stir in some honey for contrast.

4. Pasta


Pasta salad is good to have on hand for any vegetarians or vegans in attendance. You can even use quinoa pasta for gluten-free friends. Simply cook a box until tender and then chop and add any raw veggies you have on hand: cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, corn and peas to name a few. Select a few strongly flavored add-ins: feta, lives, capers, sun-dried tomatoes. Mix in some oil, fresh herbs, rice wine vinegar and lemon juice.

3. Fruit


When the weather is warm it’s almost impossible to keep up with the bounty of fruit, but we can try. Use a melon ball scooper to make all bites the same size. Throw in some honeydew, cantaloupe, watermelon, banana slices, strawberries and blueberries, and you’re good to go. If it’s not quite season for most of those, use canned pineapple chunks and maraschino cherries.

2. Chicken


This pleases most meat lovers, and works in a bowl, on a sandwich or in a pita so it’s perfect for picnic salad recipes. Dice a poached chicken then chop celery and onions. Add in some fresh tarragon, parsley and sliced scallions. Mayo, mustard, lemon, salt and pepper should be added to taste (about a cup of mayo and spoonful of mustard).

1. Israeli Couscous

Israeli Couscous

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Israeli couscous has a mildly sweet, neutral taste that absorbs the flavors you mix it with, plus it’s easy to make. Cook chickpeas and set aside to cool. Grill chopped vegetables in a kebab basket like asparagus, zucchini, bell pepper and onion. Mix the veggies, couscous, chickpeas and a handful of cherry tomatoes in a bowl. Drizzle olive oil on top, a spoon of Dijon mustard and 2 spoons of balsamic vinegar. Mix and serve at room temperature.


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