Make ahead salads that keep
Summer entertaining for many is the highlight of the season. Friends and family, a bounty of food and drink and (with some planning) a stress-free host!
If you’re a host, or you’ve been asked to bring a salad to an event, these make ahead salads that keep can help you be prepared ahead of time so you can focus on the good stuff.
Salads that keep well
Salads made with mostly grains, legumes and hardier vegetables (such as potatoes, carrot, cabbage, broccoli and kale) are great for making ahead of time. These will keep much better than salads with soft leafy greens like lettuce and spinach, especially once dressed.
Potato and pasta salads keep well but tend to absorb the dressing overnight. This makes them extra flavourful, but can also make them a little dry. Reserve some dressing and refresh the salad if needed before serving.
Crunchy elements like croutons, toasted nuts and seeds, or delicate herbs for garnish should be kept separate and added at the last minute.
Here are lots of salad recipes that can be made the day before, with tips for the best results:
- Honey Soy Veggies & Chicken Salad Bowl
- Mediterranean Tuna and Risoni Salad
- Carrot, Tomato and Chicken Quinoa Salad
- Gado Gado Salad (dress just before serving)
- Creamy Ricotta Pasta Salad (add basil just before serving)
- Best German Potato Salad (refresh with extra dressing and garnish with mint just before serving)
- Chicken Pesto Panzanella Salad (add croutons and basil just before serving)
- Fennel, Apple and Cabbage Slaw with Green Mayonnaise (add dressing and herbs before serving)
- Roast Beetroot, Grilled Chicken and Grain Salad (add herbs and dressing just before serving)
- Mushrooms and Ancient Grain Salad (add coriander and pine nuts just before serving)
- Avocado Lentilicious Salad (toss avocado in lemon juice to stop browning, add herbs just before serving)
How to keep a leafy salad fresh
Want to prepare a leafy salad ahead of time? The basics of keeping a leafy salad fresh include keeping the salad cool and dry as much as possible. Here are some tips for packing a leafy salad the night before to keep it fresh:
- If the leaves are wet, dry in a salad spinner or gently dab with paper towels.
- Keep it cool, pack with ice packs or in an esky.
- Store dressing in a separate container and dress salad at the last minute.
- Place wet or juicy ingredients such as tomato, fruits and soft cheese at the bottom of the container with leaves on top. This keeps the leaves dry and crisp.
- Put crunchy ingredients like croutons, nuts and seeds in a separate container, or on top of the dry salad leaves.
More salad recipes
Scroll down to see all the salads listed above!
Get the recipe: Avocado Lentilicious Salad
This simple salad is so easy and it keeps well. To stop the avocados from browning, toss in some lemon or lime juice.