We have updated this post about Chinese Chicken Salad to feed a crowd since we posted in 2017
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.
We used Bone-in Chicken Breasts; everyone raved that the chicken was spectacular!
HOW TO MAKE THE CHICKEN AHEAD OF TIME
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.
CAN I PREP THE SALAD A DAY AHEAD?
On the same day, you can prepare the asparagus and peppers and store them in the fridge.
MAKE AHEAD SALAD DRESSING
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.
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.
What types of salads do you use to feed a crowd?
Three Make Ahead Lunch Salad Recipes To Feed A Crowd
1. Chinese Chicken Salad Recipe
- 8 split chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground 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
- For the dressing
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup good apple cider vinegar
- 6 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons dark sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon wildflower honey
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon peeled, grated fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2-3 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground 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
Nutrition InformationYield 12 Serving Size 12
Amount Per Serving Calories 572Total Fat 40gSaturated Fat 6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 31gCholesterol 110mgSodium 953mgCarbohydrates 9gFiber 2gSugar 4gProtein 44g
All information and tools presented and written within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on stayingclosetohome.com should only be used as a general guideline.