I’m hosting an Appetite for Health “salad” party tomorrow at my home in CA. My CrossFit and running girlfriends are coming over to enjoy some of my produce creations. I think they’re more curious than anything…and some thought the invitation to a “salad” party was really code for something entirely different. I had to explicitly explain that is really meant a fruit- and veggie-centric get-together.
My vegan and vegetarian friends were excited as they said it’s one party that they don’t have to eat something before going. The Paleo CrossFitters certainly eat their fair share of veggies, but I had to have some lean non-dairy protein too so I opted for some grilled chicken breasts to tame the carnivores.
The party came about when Dole invited me to participate in their Dole Salad Party campaign. To become a member of the salad party “club,” visit Dole Salads Facebook page. There, you’ll see how easy, enjoyable, healthy yet indulgent a party can be when you’re serving a few different types of salads. If you enter your information, you’ll get access to great salad recipes, entertaining tips and more.
Salad Party Inspiration
If you’re intrigued by my salad party, here’s the scoop on how I decorated for it and the menu. Other than creating the menu ahead of time, I’m planning to do all the prep, cooking and hosing on one day. If I can do that, so can you.
Decorating with Produce
Fresh-cut flower arrangements can get pricey, so not only did I decide to create a menu entirely around produce, I had some simple flower arrangements where I used sliced oranges, limes and lemons to decorate the vases. I think they turned out great. I also bought a couple bags of lemons, limes and a bag of oranges and filled several vases with the fruit and placed around my dining and living room. Citrus makes the house smell great and it looks so contemporary too.
Salad Party Menu
Beverages: Wines, light beers, seltzer water, pitcher of water infused with fresh fruit and mint infused into the water.
These are simply grape tomatoes sliced in half. Put on a toothpick with a small basil leave and piece of fresh Mozzarellaa. Drizzle the tomatoes with EVOO and a reduced balsamic vinegar and sprinkle lightly with sea salt and pepper.
This looks wow but is so easy to prepare. Slice the tops off the cherry tomatoes and turn upside down to remove excess liquid. Using your fingers or small spoon, fill each cherry with tapenade and replace tomato top.
Trio of Dips with Veggie Crudité
The dips included traditional hummus, Sweet Potato and Curry Hummus and Muhammara
Sweet Potato Curry Hummus
- 2 cups sweet potato, diced and cubed (1 medium sweet potato)
- 1 1/2 cups garbanzo beans (1 15 oz can, drained and rinsed)
- 1 Tablespoon tahini
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Splash lime juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2-3 teaspoons curry powder
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and add sweet potatoes. Cook until sweet potatoes are soft, 10-15 minutes (depending on size of cubes.) Reserve one cup of water as you drain the sweet potatoes.
- In a food processor combine all ingredients except the reserved water. I started with only 2 teaspoons of curry powder and continued to taste and adjust. Begin to run food processor and drizzle cooking liquid one tablespoon at a time into hummus, adding just enough water to smooth out the hummus. Hummus should be creamy and smooth.
- Remove from food processor and store in an airtight container in refrigerator for 4-5 days.
- a 7-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained
- 2/3 cup fine fresh bread crumbs
- 1/3 cup walnuts, toasted lightly and chopped fine
- 2 to 4 garlic cloves, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
- 2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses*
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
In a food processor blend together the peppers, the bread crumbs, the walnuts, the garlic, the lemon juice, the pomegranate molasses, the cumin, the red pepper flakes, and salt to taste until the mixture is smooth and with the motor running add the oil gradually
Salad Bar: I’m making a large centerpiece tossed salad using a variety of Dole Packaged Salad Kits and blends partnered with a variety of toppings. This allowed everyone to Build Your Own Salad (BYOS). Toppings include cherry tomatoes, avocado, garbanzo beans, fresh chopped herbs, diced grilled chicken breast, Feta cheese, sliced beets and guests who want to bring something I told the them to bring a salad topping. Who knows what we’ll end up with???!!!
Fattoush Salad: This classic Middle Eastern salad uses fresh Romaine, Kalamata olives, tomatoes, onions, feta cheese, mint and cilantro. It also has baked whole wheat pita chips in the salad. We also put chopped grilled chicken breast as a companion to this dish for those who wanted it.
- 6 pita rounds, torn into pieces
- 4 cups torn romaine lettuce
- 4 tomatoes, chopped
- 4 small cucumbers, peeled and diced
- 2 green bell pepper, chopped
- 6 green onions, minced
- 30 fresh mint leaves, chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 3/4 cup Kalamata olives, sliced in half
- 2 teaspoons cilantro
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- 2 pinches salt
- 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
- 2 pinches celery salt
- 2 pinches garlic powder
- 1/2 cup olive oil
Heat over to 350 degrees. Place torn pita pieces onto baking sheet and bake until toasted, turning once half-way through baking. Allow to cool.
- Place romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell pepper, green onions, mint leaves, parsley, and cilantro into a large bowl.
- Pour lemon juice and white wine vinegar into a small bowl. Season with salt, lemon pepper, onion flakes, celery salt, and garlic powder. Stir in olive oil.
- Gently toss salad with fried pita pieces and dressing. Adjust seasonings to taste, and serve.
Sticking with the produce theme, I opted for fresh fruit kebobs and dark chocolate covered almonds.
Find out how the party went on Monday when I do a recap of what recipes were the hits…and any that were misses.