Thank you ALDI for sponsoring this post about Three Make Ahead Salad Recipes to Feed a Crowd. All opinions are 100% my own.
A few weeks ago I invited twelve friends for lunch to thank them for helping me through my two surgeries by driving my kids, making dinners, having multiple playdates with my kids and calling me to see if I needed anything. Lunch is a quick, easy and inexpensive way to entertain. Everyone has to eat lunch and can even stop by if their work schedule allows. For a busy mom like myself, having some Three Make Ahead Salad Recipes to Feed a Crowd is vital to success. Also be sure to check out our ultimate list of make ahead dinner ideas.
Make Ahead Lunch Salad Recipes To Feed A Crowd
After making my menu and writing out a grocery list, I headed to ALDI and was able to find the ingredients I needed. That means not only are these easy recipes filled with many pantry items, but ALDI is a great resource for the best prices for your lunch party.
Some people cringe at the idea of hosting a meal at their home. It is all about planning and finding recipes that are not only easy to make, but will sit well in the fridge for at least a day so you can relax the morning of your event.
Chinese Chicken Salad is my new favorite make-ahead salad, filled with yummy veggies at low prices from ALDI.
ALDI had all the veggies I needed for this recipe, and they were all fresh and well-priced. I am pretty picky about my produce and ALDI has the best selection.
I used Kirkwood Bone-in Chicken Breasts; everyone raved that the chicken was spectacular!
Two nights before the lunch, I baked the chicken breasts while I was making dinner for the family. Simply oil and salt and pepper the bone-in chicken breasts and roast for 35-40 minutes. Allow to sit and then peel off the skin and pull apart into bite size pieces. Store in a sealed plastic container in the fridge.
On the same day, you can prepare the asparagus and peppers and store them in the fridge.
Make the peanut dressing for the Chinese Chicken Salad the day before. You can also dress it the day before to allow the flavors to meld, wait until the morning of your lunch, or dress the salad again a few hours before your guests arrive.
The dressing is a delicate peanut dressing that just soaks into the chicken for a wonderful meld of flavors.
Also on our lunch menu was Pesto and Pea Pasta Salad made with ALDI products. From the pesto to the peas, we put this delicious and unique pasta salad together in minutes. This Texas Sheet Cake is the perfect dessert for a crowd.
ALDI has a large assortment of pastas (including gluten-free!) that are always a big hit for make-ahead salad ideas. Most pasta salads taste so much better the next day after all the dressing soaks up into the pasta. Check out this Greek Inspired Pasta Salad too! ALDI carries everything you will need for these crowd pleasing salads.
Find the closest ALDI Store near you to shop these great products for yourself!!
Three Make Ahead Lunch Salad Recipes To Feed A Crowd
1. Chinese Chicken Salad Recipe
An entree salad that is filled with chicken and veggies and tossed in a light peanut chinese inspired dressing. Feeds a crowd. Chinese Chicken Salad
- 8 split Kirkwood chicken breasts bone-in, skin-on
- SimplyNature organic extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground Stonemill black pepper
- 1 pound asparagus ends removed, and cut in thirds diagonally
- 2 red bell pepper cored and seeded
- 4 scallions white and green parts, sliced diagonally
- 2 tablespoon white sesame seeds toasted
- 1 cup Carlini vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup good apple cider vinegar
- 6 tablespoons Fusia soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons dark sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon SimplyNature organic wildflower honey
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon peeled grated fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds toasted
- 1/2 cup SimplyNature organic creamy peanut butter
- 2-3 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground Stonemill black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub the skin with olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove the meat from the bones, discard the skin, and shred the chicken into large bite-sized pieces. You can store covered for up to 2 days in fridge.
Blanch the asparagus in a pot of boiling salted water for 3 to 5 minutes until crisp-tender. Plunge into ice water to stop the cooking. Drain. Cut the peppers in strips about the size of the asparagus pieces. Also can be done day before.
Combine the cut chicken, asparagus, and peppers in a large bowl.
Whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing and pour over the chicken and vegetables. Add the scallions and sesame seeds and season to taste. Serve cold or at room temperature.
Adapted from Ina Garten
2. Pesto Pasta Salad Recipe
A twist on a pesto pasta salad that has a little tang fro the Greek yogurt Pesto Pasta Salad recipe
- 3/4 pound Reggano fusilli pasta
- 3/4 pound Reggano farfalle pasta
- 1/4 cup SimplyNature organic extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups Priano pesto sauce
- 1 10-ounce package Season’s Choice frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 1/4 cups Friendly Farms nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Priano Parmesan
- 1 1/2 cups Season’s Choice frozen peas defrosted
- 1/3 cup pignolis pine nuts (optional)
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 tsp Stonemill black pepper
ook the fusilli and bow ties separately in a large pot of boiling salted water for 10 to 12 minutes until each pasta is al dente. Drain and toss into a bowl with the olive oil. Cool to room temperature.
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree the pesto, spinach, and lemon juice. Add the mayonnaise and puree. Add the pesto mixture to the cooled pasta and then add the Parmesan, peas, pignolis, salt, and pepper. Mix well, season to taste, and serve at room temperature.
3. Greek Pasta Salad
- 2 cups Reggano penne pasta
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 teaspoons SimplyNature organic dried oregano
- Stonemill iodized salt and Stonemill pepper to taste
- 2/3 cup SimplyNature organic extra-virgin olive oil
- 10 cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 small red onion chopped, rinsed in cold water to reduce spiciness
- 2 bell peppers chopped (any color: green, orange, red, or yellow)
- 1 cucumber sliced
- 1/2 cup Specially Selected Kalamata olives sliced
- 1/2 cup Happy Farms Preferred crumbled feta cheese
Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, stir in the penne and return to a boil. Cook the pasta uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta has cooked through, but is still firm to the bite, about 11 minutes. Rinse with cold water and drain well in a colander set in the sink.
Whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Set aside. Combine pasta, tomatoes, onion, green and red peppers, cucumber, olives, and feta cheese in a large bowl. Pour vinaigrette over the pasta and mix together. Cover and chill for 3 hours before serving.
Marinate chicken in additional dressing, grill, and add to pasta.