Large Quantity Salad Recipes

These large quantity salad recipes serve 20-50 people for brunch, lunch or dinner. 

All great salads start with a great dressing...

image of salad greens

Basic  Vinaigrette
Makes 1½  quarts, enough for a salad serving 50.  Divide in half to serve 25

2 cups red or white wine vinegar
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fresh minced garlic
1/4 cup salt, or to taste
2½ cups salad oil or light olive oil  OR half salad oil and half olive oil

Combine vinegar, water, sugar, garlic and salt in a large bowl with a whisk.  Add the oils very gradually while mixing.  Store in the refrigerator and stir before serving.


Creamy Bacon Dressing
Makes about 2 quarts, serves 50-75

12 ounces sliced bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small onion, finely chopped
8 ounces sugar, granulated
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
3 cups mayonnaise 

Fry bacon until crisp. Remove from fat.  Sauté onions in the hot bacon fat until soft. Add sugar, vinegar and water and bring to the boiling point. Cool.

Place mayonnaise in mixer bowl.  Add cooled onion-vinegar mixture slowly, beating on low speed until smooth. Stir in bacon pieces. Serve with chilled salad greens or as a vegetable dip.  

Basic Large Quantity Salad Recipe
Serves 50

Start your big salad here. Double ingredients to serve 100

10-12 pounds lettuce.  Use a mixture such as romaine, iceberg or mixed greens.  Wash and dry thoroughly.

1 1/4 - 2 quarts homemade or prepared dressing

Cut or tear lettuce and other greens into bite-size pieces.  Arrange in individual salad bowls or on large platters or in large containers.  

Serve with a variety of dressings and olive oil and vinegar.

Big Bowl Chef's Salad
Serves 50

Portion all ingredients equally into individual salad bowls or into platters or containers for self-service. 

10-12 pounds lettuce bunches, washed, dried and torn into bite-sized pieces
6 pounds cooked turkey, cut into bite-size cubes or thin strips
3 pounds cooked ham, cut into bite-size cubes or thin strips
3 pounds Cheddar cheese or Swiss cheese cut into bite-size cubes
8 pounds green pepper rings, sliced into 50 rings
6 pounds tomatoes, cut into wedges
25 eggs, hard-cooked, quartered 

Arrange meats and cheese on top of lettuce.  Garnish with green pepper rings, tomato wedges, and egg quarters.  Serve salad with choice of dressings on the side

Creamy Coleslaw for 50
About 3/4 cup serving.  Can be doubled to serve 100

3 1/2 lbs green cabbage, coarsely chopped or thinly sliced
1/2 pound carrots, finely shredded
1 cup finely diced sweet onions
1/2 cup green bell peppers, finely diced (optional)
16 ounces mayonnaise or salad dressing
2 tbsp granulated sugar

1/2 tbsp celery seed
1 tsp dry mustard (or try 1 tbsp of Dijon mustard)
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Place all vegetables in large bowl and toss lightly to mix. Combine mayonnaise or salad dressing, sugar, celery seed, dry mustard and vinegar. Pour dressing over vegetables. Mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Mix before serving.

Mixed Greens with Toasted Pecans, Cranberries and Blue Cheese
Serves 25, easily doubles to serve 50

So simple, so elegant.  Great with a chicken dinner or even burgers and fries.  One of my favorites!  

1/4 cup balsamic or red wine vinegar
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 large bunches of lettuces.  Use a mixture of crisp greens such as romaine and iceberg, torn into pieces
2 cups chopped toasted pecans.  Toast at 325 degrees, 5 minutes. Don't walk away, they burn quickly
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
2 cups blue cheese, crumbled

Whisk the vinegar and oil together in a medium bowl and set aside.  Place lettuce in a large bowl(s) or platters(s).  Toss in pecans and cranberries.  Drizzle on vinaigrette and toss to blend.  Season with salt and pepper.  Toss in blue cheese.   Serve at room temperature. 

Simply Spinach
Serves 25

For garlic lovers only!  For this one, use a garlic press or mince the garlic with the salt to form a smooth paste.   For extra crunch and color add about 8 sliced radishes

6 garlic cloves, finely minced or use a garlic press
1 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice or white wine vinegar or half and half
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
4 9-oz bags baby spinach
4-5 ozs. Parmesan cheese, shave with vegetable peeler or slice thinly with a paring knife

Whisk the prepared garlic, oil, lemon juice, mustard and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.    Add the spinach into a large salad bowl.  Add the dressing and toss lightly.  Top with cheese shavings.  Serve chilled.  

Green Bean and Red Pepper Salad
Serves 25

Colorful, nutritious and delicious.  This salad can be served on a bed of mixed greens with sliced tomatoes.  Double the vinaigrette ingredients and serve the extra at the table

1/4 cup white balsamic, red wine or sherry vinegar
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed and left whole or cut in half
6 large shallots, thinly sliced.  You can also use 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
2 large red peppers, cut into thin strips.  Peppers can be roasted and thinly sliced if desired
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Whisk the vinegar and oil together in a medium bowl and set aside. 

Bring a large stockpot of salted water to a boil and cook the green beans until tender crisp, about 6 minutes or so.   Remove to a colander and rinse with cold water and drain very well.  

If green beans are whole, layer on a large platter or platters.  Top with shallots and red peppers and drizzle with vinaigrette.  Season with salt and pepper.  If beans are cut in half, combine with the shallots and peppers and toss together with the vinaigrette and salt and pepper.  Serve in a bowl or on platters.

Fresh and Easy Cabbage Salad
Serves 30

A healthier alternative to coleslaw with mayonnaise which makes it perfect for a buffet.  Be generous with the salt to pump up the flavor.  Let salad marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before service

2/3 cup apple cider, white wine or rice wine vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
2 large green cabbages
3-4 large carrots
1 large red bell pepper
1 large green bell pepper
Salt and black pepper to taste

In a large bowl or bowls, whisk together the vinegar and sugar until the sugar is dissolved.  Cut and core the cabbages and slice into thin strips or use a food processor with the slicing blade.   Shred the carrots.  Stem and seed the red pepper and cut into thin strips.  

Toss the cabbage, carrots and red peppers in the bowl with the vinegar mixture.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve chilled.

Crab and Pasta Salad
Serves 50

1 pounds 8 ounces orecchiette, shells or other short pasta.  About 3 pounds cooked
3 3/4 cups Italian vinaigrette or other dressing
3-4 green onions, finely chopped
1 pounds 4 ounces snow peas, cut into 1-inch pieces or left whole
2 pounds lumb or back fin crabmeat.  Substitute diced cooked shrimp or lobster 

Cook pasta according to directions in salted water.  Drain.  Add dressing. Toss to coat pasta. Chill well.  Mix in onions, snow peas and crabmeat.  Keep chilled.  

Basic Fruit Salad with Salad Greens
Makes 50, 3/4 cup servings

For salad greens: Bibb, Romaine, green leaf or spinach leaves
For fruits: Seasonal strawberries, apples, pineapple, kiwi, raspberries, peaches
For garnish: Cheese and nuts of choice
Dressing: 32-64 ounces - Homemade or purchased

10 pounds salad greens, washed and trimmed
4 pounds mixed fruits
1 pound garnish

Toss greens with small amount of dressing.  Scatter fruits on top.  Sprinkle on garnishes.  Serve dressing on the side with salt and pepper


Waldorf Salad For 50
About 1/2 cup each

Perfect on a buffet table and excellent with a spicy chicken dish.  This quantity Waldorf Salad serves 50 but can easily be divided in two to serve 25.  

The lettuce, grapes, celery and nuts can be prepared 1 day in advance.  Store separately in tightly covered containers.  

For fruit salad dressing, use bottled dressing with sweet undertones or use mayonnaise 

About 15 medium firm, eating apples such as, Golden, McIntosh or Gala
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
4 cups red seedless grapes, halved
1 small bunch celery
3-4 heads red leaf lettuce, washed and dried
2 cups fruit salad dressing or mayonnaise
2 cups whipping cream
2 cups nuts, chopped, pecans or walnuts
Wash but do not peel apples.  Dice in 1/2 inch pieces and marinate in lemon juice.  Cut celery in 1/3 inch pieces.  Whip cream until soft peaks form and fold into dressing.  Mix apples and celery with half the dressing just before serving.  

Layer the whole lettuce leaves in one or two large platters.  Mound salad onto lettuce.  Sprinkle chopped nuts over top of salad.  Serve remaining dressing on the side.


Orange Avocado Radish Salad for 25

6 bunches red radishes
10-12 navel oranges.  In a pinch use 3-4 cans mandarin oranges, well drained; use reserved juice in place of some of the lemon juice
6 tablespoons balsamic or red wine vinegar
1/2 cup avocado or sunflower oil, or your favorite salad oil
1½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper,  more or less to taste
3-4 large bunches/heads lettuce, your choice;  washed, dried and torn into bite-sized pieces
6-8 large ripe avocados
Lemon juice
Kosher salt to taste

Wash and trim radishes and slice into 1/4 inch rounds.   Place in a large bowl. 

Cut the ends off the oranges and cut off the peel, removing all of the white pith.  Cut the oranges into 1/2 inch slices and cut those slices into fourths.  Place in bowl with radishes.  Add the vinegar, oil and pepper and toss gently to combine.   Make ahead to this point up to 6 hours, cover and refrigerate.

Up to 2 hours before serving, arrange lettuce on a large serving platter.  Peel and slice avocados into 1/2 inch slices.  Arrange around the rim of the platter.  Brush or drizzle with enough lemon juice to prevent discoloration.   Mound the orange pieces and radishes rounds in the center of the platter.  Keep covered with plastic wrap until ready to serve.  Sprinkle with lightly with salt just before serving


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