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A Stress-Free Dinner Party: Your Mix-and-Match Menu
What's the easiest way to throw a fabulous dinner party? Provide the ingredients and get your guests to do the work.
Mix-and-match salad ingredients
The Ultimate Salad Bar
You don't need to serve a five-course meal when you entertain. Instead, borrow the concept from choose-your-own-salad spots like Washington, D.C.–based Sweetgreen. "The secret to a satisfying salad is balance," says Nicolas Jammet, cofounder of Sweetgreen. "For example, combine an interesting protein, like spicy shrimp, and a crunchy topping, like crushed tortilla chips, with avocado and lettuce for a 'guacamole' salad." To serve eight, you'll need about two pounds of greens and two cups each of the other ingredients you offer.

Step 1: Shop for your choice of greens and add-ins.


Lettuce: Chopped romaine, mesclun, mizuna, arugula, Bibb

Vegetables and Fruit: Asparagus, snap peas, green beans, red onion, shallots, beets, radishes, corn, bell pepper, carrots, avocado, grape tomatoes, broccoli, basil, mint, cilantro, apple, grapefruit, grapes, watermelon, balsamic strawberries

Grains and Beans: Quinoa, chickpeas, black beans, shelled edamame

Cheese: Feta, goat cheese, Cheddar, Parmesan

Meat and Protein: Spicy shrimp, baked falafel, roasted portobello mushrooms, roasted chicken, hard-boiled egg

Crunch: Roughly crushed tortilla chips, pita chips, and crackers; wasabi peas; roasted nuts, like almonds, walnuts, and macadamia; seeds, like pumpkin and sunflower; toasted whole spices, like cumin, coriander, and fennel

Step 2: Make dressings.


Ginger-Scallion Vinaigrette Recipe

Lime-Cilantro Dressing Recipe

Balsamic Yogurt Dressing Recipe

Miso Dressing Recipe

Master Mixes


Fruit and Goat Cheese
Bibb + balsamic strawberries + basil + shallots + goat cheese + roasted almonds + balsamic yogurt dressing

Guacamole Salad
Mesclun + avocado chunks + grape tomatoes + red onion + cilantro + spicy shrimp + crushed tortilla chips + lime-cilantro dressing

Apple-Ginger
Bibb + apple + asparagus + green beans + quinoa + goat cheese + roasted portobellos + crushed crackers + ginger-scallion vinaigrette

Asian
Chopped romaine + cilantro + shallots + edamame + carrots + spicy shrimp + wasabi peas + miso dressing

Broccoli-Cheese
Arugula + roasted broccoli + basil + shaved white Cheddar + roasted portobello mushrooms + macadamia nuts + balsamic yogurt dressing

Southwestern
Romaine + grape tomatoes + sweet corn + shaved strips of sharp cheddar + black beans + tortilla chips + lime-cilantro vinaigrette

Shrimp and Feta
Mizuna + carrots + radishes + red onion + Feta + spicy shrimp + ginger-scallion vinaigrette

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