Hosting lunch gatherings with friends or family bring great amounts of joy, but often great amounts of stress. From picky eaters to those with allergies, it's difficult to navigate just what to prepare so everyone has something tasty to eat.

Sandwiches are simple and filling, but not a great choice for those avoiding gluten. They also won't work if your spread is mainly meats and cheeses and you have guests who are vegetarian or vegan. 

Enter the salad bar: an easy way to feed the masses with endless combinations of everyone-friendly fare. Simply start with a base of greens, from romaine to spring mixes, and snag a mix of fruits, veggies, nuts and protein. You really can't go wrong. 

At home, these fixins are packed in reusable containers in the fridge, but if you're hosting a gathering, serve them salad bar-style along the counter or a card table outdoors.

If you're looking for a little salad inspiration, we have a handful of concoctions for you to try. But remember, one of the best parts about throwing together a salad is knowing that you really can't go wrong.   

summer salad

spring mix of greens

strawberries, quartered

blueberries

grilled chicken

feta cheese

oranges, mandarin oranges or pineapple (or all of the above!)

lemon or lemon poppy seed dressing 

an apple a day salad

spring mix of greens

apples, chopped

grapes, halved

walnuts or pecans (or both!)

bacon bits

blue cheese crumbles

apple cider vinegar & olive oil dressing

easy Greek salad

romaine lettuce

tomatoes, chopped

cucumber, diced

green onion, diced

kalamata olives, halved

feta crumbles

olive oil

red wine vinegar

lemon juice

(recipe adapted slightly from foodnetwork.com)  

veggie mother load salad

spring mix of greens

cucumber, diced

red pepper, sliced

green onions, diced

carrots, chopped

broccoli florets 

cauliflower florets

radishes, thinly sliced

balsamic vinaigrette dressing 

Laura Anderson Shaw is the editor of Radish.

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