Consider Garbage Salad For Your Next Dinner Party

When you're serving friends or family dinner, garbage salads can not only satisfy hungry bellies but also act as a unifying theme for your mealtime get-together. Made up of an assortment of ingredients, garbage salads leave discretion in the fridge. More is more when it comes to assembling these kinds of seemingly haphazard recipes. The name itself is derived from the ability to use up ingredients that otherwise might find their fate in the trash. Yet by including produce, proteins, and other ingredients into a mass salad, you'll be doing your part to minimize food waste while putting together a hearty meal that can convince even the staunchest veggie-hater to enjoy eating something that is good for you.

Rules don't exist when compiling ingredients for garbage salads. While it is helpful to keep ingredients uniformly sized, a variety of textures from cheese, fruits, nuts, meat, and vegetables will result in a satisfying dining experience for those waiting to be served at the kitchen table. For an interactive dinner party experience, you can choose to make the making of the garbage salad more of a group effort.

A salad recipe that is never boring

Challenge dinner guests to bring items that begin with certain letters of the alphabet, or simply let guests come over bearing ingredients of their choosing for a potluck-style salad. Provide a bowl big enough to mix together the range of ingredients — chickpeas, quinoa, dried cranberries, shredded beets — or set out ingredients in smaller dishes for guests to assemble their own garbage salads to suit their preferences. This DIY set-up can easily accommodate guests with any dietary preferences, as meats, eggs, and cheeses can be added to salad plates as desired. 

Don't feel limited to what is stored away in your fridge, either. Head to your kitchen pantry and feel free to throw in crumbs from the bottom of potato chips and trail mix snack bags, or open up that jar of artichoke hearts that is approaching its "use by" date. To finish the salads, offer a range of dressings and toppings like nuts, seeds, and croutons for guests to crown their meals. As long as the ingredients are fresh enough to eat, you'll have a filling dish that can liven up your next dinner party and give guests something to talk about.