If you’ve ever been to a dinner party at my house or have read a blog post about my philosophy for entertaining large groups, you know that I am all about options that allow everyone to build their own meal. I especially like to use this strategy to come up with interesting ideas for football Sunday hang-outs, birthday parties and casual dinners with friends. Here’s a recent creation that kept everyone engaged and satisfied through an evening of Sunday Night Football: a vegetarian chopped salad bar!
You get to eat tons of everything that you want and absolutely nothing that you don’t.
In the age of food allergies, sensitivities, varying dietary preferences and food-based lifestyles, this is the way to go. Here are a few more reasons to love this idea, in case you’re not convinced yet:
1.) Encouraging people to build their own meal will allow them to be more involved in the preparation process, inevitably resulting in guests that are more appreciative of the end result and the effort that it took to get there.
2.) Speaking of effort, this set-up requires less effort from you, the host which is especially important since we’re assuming that you’ve already spent a decent amount of time inviting people over, cleaning the house, grocery shopping, washing, chopping, etc.
3.) Because everyone has such different taste preferences and varying levels of food expertise, you get to witness so many interpretations of the same set of ingredients – the outputs are all going to be interesting and unique.
4.) It’s totally and completely fun, which is what food and entertaining is all about!!
What will you need?
Here’s where you get to be creative. Feel free to stock the salad bar with your favorite ingredients! Make sure to get a variety of different colors, textures and food groups. Roasted veggies, fresh veggies, proteins, nuts, seed, greens, fruits… you name it! Here is what I used in this particular example…
Chopped romaine hearts
Roasted asparagus, carrots and zucchini (tossed in some olive oil and curry powder + roasted at 375 for about 25 minutes)
Fresh chopped green onions
Chopped, toasted pecans
Homemade sundried tomato vinaigrette
How do you make it?
1.) Roast, dice, chop and slice all of your ingredients.
2.) Place in cute mixing bowls and set out for your guests to make their own combinations!
3.) Revel in how beautiful of an idea this is while your guests enjoy their perfectly-made, customized salads.
4.) Let me know if you end up using this idea for your next party! And as always, send me some great pictures of the occasion