When I’m hosting family and friends – in groups big or small – I always try to lean on menu items that are customizable to guests tastes and preferences. It makes it easier when guests can pick and choose some elements of their dish to make their meal best fit their needs (particularly this time of year when lots of people are on New Year’s diets!). My grazing boards are always a big hit, and I thought I’d take that same concept and translate it to a DIY salad bar board so that guests could mix up their own combination of toppings and dressings with lots of leafy greens.The place to start with a DIY salad bar board is with the salad of course! I’ve talked about my love for Little Leaf Farms before, and I’m so happy to partnering with them this year as a food brand that is really prioritizing sustainability in their business practices. But beyond that, their greens are so delicious and fresh (because they’re grown right here in New England, they’re not traveling for days on a truck!). I wanted a variety of lettuces on this board, so I used a combination of the Baby Green Leaf, Red & Green Leaf Mix, and a Spring Mix from Little Leaf Farms. You eat with your eyes first, and the color and texture of these greens is a perfect palette for the rest of the ingredients. I filled a large rimmed serving tray with heaps of each of the Little Leaf Farms greens and then tucked in some other fresh veggies like shredded carrots, sliced radishes, and some bright red and yellow tomatoes. The options are endless for what you could use here – fresh English peas, diced bell peppers, or cucumber slices. I also think this is a great way to use up extra produce you might have on hand from other recipes, like thin slices of a leftover half of a red onion. Next I added in small bowls of different toppings. A few crunchy items like sliced almonds, spicy pecans, and croutons. A mix of sweet (dried fruits), savory (crumbled blue cheese) and salty options too (like black and green olives). You can add in proteins too, like grilled chicken or steak, or for a vegetarian option add on beans or roasted chickpeas. Keep in mind food restrictions of your guests, you may want to skip the nuts or keep various toppings separate from the board to accommodate everyone’s needs. To finish off the display I added some tongs for serving, and a variety of salad dressings in pourable containers on the side. Try to pick a few different types of dressings – something oil and vinegar based, a creamy dressing, and maybe a light or specialty option too. You can prep this all in advance and keep it chilled – just wait to add things like the croutons or other crunchy items to the board until the last minute so they don’t get stale in the cool temperatures of the refrigerator. I love the idea of doing this for a display for a dinner party or potluck, and think it would be perfect on a larger scale for a bridal or baby shower too – there’s something for everyone!
Please note: This post was created in partnership with Little Leaf Farms. All opinions, images and content are my own. Thank you for supporting brands that support this site.