What to bring to that Labor Day pot luck or picnic? How about a great salad!

Outdoor entertaining during the summer can be as simple as a buffet of delicious make-ahead salads with some great bread and wine. Everyone loves old-fashioned, picnicky, or what I call dish-up, salads. And certainly no food’s more welcome to a pot luck or Labor Day gathering.

Think of potato salad—how many versions can there be? Sweet German, mustard and eggy Mom’s style, hip sweet potato with spicy chutney dressing, even baked potato with bacon, chives … totally loaded!

Big ethnic flavors are especially great to meld into summer salads such as in my featured recipes.

Colorful Wheat Berry, Edamame and Shiitake Mushroom Salad takes on an Asian flavor flair and is vibrant with sweet red peppers, carrots, and green onions. With the addition of shiitake mushrooms, which are a good source of dietary fiber, anti-oxidants and trace minerals plus protein-rich edamame beans, this salad is a nutritional powerhouse. This super-good-for-you salad is great as an accompaniment to grilled fish.

For my friends at SUNSET® Produce, I whipped up a Glorious Greek Salad with Feta Vinaigrette that uses a rainbow of summer veggies and their tasty Campari® Tomatoes! It’s perfect to serve at your next gathering of friends and family.

Glorious Greek Salad with Feta Vinaigrette

Photo ©2010 Kathy Casey Food Studios® for SUNSET® Produce

Assembling kits of the salad components makes these excellent take-along dishes for potluck picnics and parties, too. Put “dry” ingredients, “wet” solid ingredients and dressing in separate large zip-lock bags. Just pack up your baggies and a big bowl, and you’re on your way! Then mix them together right before serving.

So whether you mix-and-match salads to build a picnic around an international theme or stick to American classics, dish up salads will provide a parade of fabulous flavors for a festive Labor Day or any summer celebration.

Colorful Wheat Berry, Edamame and Shiitake Mushroom Salad
Makes about 5 cups

3/4 cup whole wheat berries or spelt
2 quarts water
1 cup frozen, shelled edamame beans, defrosted
1 medium red bell pepper, julienned
1 cup thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms
3 green onions, thinly sliced
2 to 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped parsley
1 medium carrot, thinly bias cut
1 cup thinly sliced napa cabbage

2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1/2 tablespoon honey
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Asian chili paste, such as sambal oelek
1 1/2 teaspoons finely minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons finely minced fresh garlic

To cook the wheat berries or spelt: In a large pot, bring the wheat berries and water to a boil then reduce to a slow simmer. Simmer until wheat berries are very tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. (Spelt may need to cook a bit longer.) Add more water if needed. Drain wheat berries and cool

Meanwhile, mix the dressing.

When the wheat berries are cool, combine with remaining salad ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle with the dressing and mix well. The salad can be served right away, or refrigerated for up to 4 hours. Bring to room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving.

© 2010 Kathy Casey Food Studios – www.kathycasey.com

Posted by Kathy Casey on September 1st, 2010  |  Comments Off on What to bring to that Labor Day pot luck or picnic? How about a great salad! |  Posted in Dishing with Kathy Casey Blog, Recent Posts, salads, sides

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