Make-Ahead Picnic Salads

Cranberry Bean Salad with Celery, Basil and Mint
Photo: © Martin Morrell

These easy recipes include potato salad with bacon and quinoa salad with sugar snap peas.

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Green Bean-and-Tomato Salad with Tarragon Dressing

Green Bean-and-Tomato Salad with Tarragon Dressing
John Kernick

This supersimple bean-and-tomato salad, tossed with a tarragon-flavored dressing, is perfect for summertime picnics, like the kind Paul Virant’s mother would prepare when he was a child.

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Santa Fe Quinoa Salad

Santa Fe Quinoa Salad
Stephanie Foley

Chef Chad Aaland makes quinoa salad with three types of beans and house-pickled onions. This streamlined version with black beans and jarred cocktail onions is tasty, too.

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Moroccan Carrot Salad with Spicy Lemon Dressing

Moroccan Carrot Salad with Spicy Lemon Dressing

Susan Feniger likes to make this salad early in the day, so the carrots marinate a bit in the dressing. Harissa, the North African chile paste, adds fiery heat.

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Quinoa Salad with Sugar Snap Peas

Quinoa Salad with Sugar Snap Peas
© Quentin Bacon
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Vegetable Rainbow Salad

Vegetable Rainbow Salad
CON POULOS

This vibrant salad showcases a colorful mixture of pickled onions and radishes, roasted root vegetables, leafy greens and black quinoa.

06 of 21

Antipasto Salad with Bocconcini and Green-Olive Tapenade

Antipasto Salad with Bocconcini and Green-Olive Tapenade
John Kernick

This no-cook salad from Los Angeles chef Nancy Silverton, inspired by the antipasto in Italian-American restaurants, is a delicious toss of iceberg lettuce, mozzarella, salami and olives in an oregano-laced dressing.

07 of 21

Lemony Bulgur Salad with Shrimp and Spinach

Lemony Bulgur Salad with Shrimp and Spinach
© Petrina Tinslay

Bulgur (a quick-cooking form of whole wheat) is usually boiled before it’s eaten, but for this terrific main-course salad, Melissa Rubel Jacobson simply softens it in warm tap water before tossing it with baby spinach and precooked shrimp.

08 of 21

Layered Chicken Salad with Coriander-Yogurt Dressing

Layered Chicken Salad

Taking a cue from French verrines, these portable, layered chicken salads could also be assembled in one big glass bowl.

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Crunchy Cabbage Salad

Crunchy Cabbage Salad
© James Baigrie

“Sometimes I make this simple salad with just one color of cabbage; sometimes I arrange it in alternating rows of color,” says Jacques Pépin. The tangy-salty anchovy dressing would also be delicious on other crisp salad greens, such as escarole or chicory.

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Chicken and Rice Salad with Pine Nuts and Lemon

Chicken and Rice Salad with Pine Nuts and Lemon

This Mediterranean-inspired salad can be served warm or slightly chilled. Be sure to check the seasonings, as cold dishes often need more salt and pepper than those served hot.

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Fusilli with Spinach and Sun-Dried-Tomato Pesto

Fusilli with Spinach and Sun-Dried-Tomato Pesto
© David De Vleeschauwer

Feel free to use chopped walnuts instead of pine nuts, or add half a cup of roughly chopped pitted black olives to the salad.

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Eggplant Caponata

Eggplant Caponata
© Tina Rupp

Sicily’s caponata is a tangy eggplant salad served as a side dish or appetizer. This version adds bits of velvety avocado, full of monounsaturated fats that can help lower cholesterol.

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Barley Salad with Parsley and Walnuts

Barley Salad with Parsley and Walnuts

Barley is versatile enough to be served warm or at room temperature, as in this terrific salad with walnuts, parsley and salty bits of ricotta salata cheese in a lemon-garlic vinaigrette.

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Potato Salad with Bacon and Barbecue Sauce

Potato salad
© John Kernick

The mayonnaise dressing for this potato salad gets pungency from mustard oil (store-bought spicy mustard works fine, too) and a hit of smoky-sweet flavor from bacon and bottled barbecue sauce.

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Rice Salad with Merguez and Preserved Lemon Dressing

Rice Salad with Merguez and Preserved Lemon Dressing

This boldly flavored dish is enticing, especially to those with a taste for heat. It can be prepared several hours ahead and served at room temperature.

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Couscous Salad with Zucchini and Roasted Almonds

Couscous Salad with Zucchini and Roasted Almonds
© Petrina Tinslay
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Barley and Grilled-Vegetable Salad

Barley and Grilled-Vegetable Salad
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Farro Salad with Squid and Chorizo

Farro Salad with Squid and Chorizo

The chorizo in this farro-and-squid salad makes it robust enough to pair with a ripe Australian red.

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Leek Salad with Walnuts and Tomme de Brebis

Leek Salad with Walnuts and Tomme de Brebis
© Tina Rupp

Leeks turn sweet and luscious simmered in salted water and dressed with a simple red wine vinaigrette. Chef Armand Arnal heightens the flavor with fresh toasted walnuts and shavings of the firm farmstead sheep's-milk cheese Tomme de Brebis.

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Escarole and Roasted Broccoli Salad with Anchovy Dressing

Escarole and Roasted Broccoli Salad with Anchovy Dressing

This salad offers an amazing array of flavors: sweet roasted broccoli, bitter escarole, salty anchovies, sharp cheese.

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Cranberry Bean Salad with Celery, Basil and Mint

Cranberry Bean Salad with Celery, Basil and Mint
© Martin Morrell
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