Chopped, Dressed, Do-Ahead Salads... Something Fabulous, Please!

For me, family gatherings tend to mean lots of buffet-style or potluck meals. There's always plenty of starch and fat and protein, but a seeming dearth of nutrition. I'm not counting the inevitable (store-bought) tray of withered veggies, or the (store-bought) "fresh" fruit bowl full of rock-hard melon, neither of which anybody actually ends up eating.

I need new ideas for salads or cold vegetable dishes that will "hold" well. Sure, there are things like coleslaw, tomato salad, three-bean salad, broccoli slaw... all things I make, and all terrific old-fashioned standards. But they get boring.

I want something more innovative... more uncommon... more, um... vegetabley (is that even a word?). Something pretty and appealing. Something that makes people go, "Wow! I need that recipe!" Something I don't end up carrying back home with me.

And, although it's not a deal-breaker, I'd love to find some that don't rely on mayo (to satisfy a couple of finicky eaters). Vinaigrette and sour cream are obvious options, but maybe you have other more exciting ideas?

Give me your fabulous ideas!


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