Imagine a table piled with a zillion different combinations of salads. With a whole range of dressings. A variety of breads. And lots of dips and spreads. How about a cheese platter, cracker biscuits and fruit? Warming up to the idea already?



 OK, so it’s going to take some organising. Maybe even hard work. But almost no labouring over

hot stoves. The thing about a salad buffet is that one can prepare in advance and assemble just before the party. You could start a couple of days before the party and build up your  menu  peacefully and comfortably. The important step, of course, is to plan the menu and make a list of ingredients. Then shop and get stocked up. A couple of volunteers would be icing on the cake.










SOUPS:  Now, they aren’t essential so you could do without them. Especially if you plan to serve wine or a couple of punches. But if you like the idea, try one cold soup and one hot. Gazpacho is

a popular choice for cold and it’s easy to find a recipe. The one I’ve got is an avocado soup, which is a shade exotic.

Take 3 large ones (peeled and diced), a capsicum, 3 spring onions (both chopped), 3 cups of milk, some cream or yoghurt, juice of 1 lime, 3 tbsp rum, ½ tsp crushed black pepper, a few drops of  Tabasco and salt to taste. Whisk the lot in a blender and chill. Serve in a  large  bowl  garnished with red chilli powder.  Have cups or disposable glasses handy.

Let the hot soup be a light broth, Minestrone or a Chinese mushroom and vegetable soup. It’s a good idea to fill a flask with the hot soup, for guests to help themselves.


You can really let your imagination run wild here. Use a sensible mix of vegetarian and non-vegetarian combinations with a variation in dressings. Spike up a mayonnaise by adding flavours. Change its texture with cream cheese or yoghurt. Aromatic oils (oil infused with herbs and spices can be stored in the refrigerator), lemon and vinegar perk up salads nicely. Here are some suggestions. Remember to chill them nicely. Seal with foil or cling film until they are ready to be served.

*  Hawaiin  Salad: Shredded cooked chicken +  cubed  pineapple  +

cream + mayonnaise + salt/pepper + mustard. Serve with lettuce in

a scooped out pineapple shell.

*   Tuna  Fish  Salad:  Flaked canned tuna  +  chopped  onions  &

tomatoes + Shredded capsicum + Lemon juice + salt/pepper + tomato

flavoured  mayonnaise. Use a fish mould to shape and serve  on  a

bed of tomatoes.

*  Egg Salad: Boiled eggs (halved) + tomato wedges  with  chopped

onions,  green  chillies,  corriander leaves in  lemon  juice  as

dressing. Serve on a bed of onion rings.

*  Drunken Waldorf:  Shredded apple and carrots + chopped  celery

+  sprinkle with campari/angostura bitters + cream +  mayonnaise.

Serve on bed of red cabbage.

*   Mexican Salad: Baked beans + chopped capsicum, onions +  baby

corn + sundried tomatoes in oil. Serve with garlic toast.

*   Farm Salad: Cubed boiled potatoes + chopped spring  onions  &

celery  +  Chopped  gherkin  +  cream  +  mustard  mayonnaise   +

salt/pepper. Serve on a bed of onion greens.

*   Cole Slaw: Shredded cabbage, capsicum, carrot + salad  oil  +

lemon juice + salt/pepper. Serve on a bed of lettuce.

*   Tomato Salad: Quartered tomatoes + cubed cheese  tossed  with

chopped dill leaves (suva/shepu) + lemon juice + salt/pepper.

Those are some of the formal salads. Now you need a whole lot of raw vegetable strips bunged in a big bowl of ice and water. Carrots, capsicum, white and red radish, celery sticks, cucumber, lettuce leaves and whatever else you can find. Surround the bowl with 4-5 kinds of dips. It’s quite simple really. You take a big bowl and combine mayonnaise or cream cheese and thick yoghurt  (half and half). Then you decide on the flavours. Say, 3 savoury and 2 sweet;

a) finely chopped parsley and crushed black pepper; b) garlic and tomato; c) onion and celery;

d) apple and cinnamon; e) pineapple and candied ginger.

Divide the basic dip into 5 parts and mix in the additional ingredients. Check seasoning. Et voila,

you’re done.


A cold meat platter could hold anything from ham, salami, meat loaf, pastrami to roast chicken, pork or beef. If you want to be really extravagant, get some fancy cuts from the many delis & gourmet stores that have now sprung everywhere.

There is a huge variety of breads on the market. Offer a choice of regular and whole grain along with flavoured and speciality breads. Cracker biscuits, bread sticks and similar stuff make great accompaniments. Bowls of cheese spread and peanut butter add a nice touch.

The piece de resistance is indubitably a cheese board. And you can find a range of cheeses at almost all food stores. Choose a mix of soft, sharp, flavoured and blue. A bowl of assorted nuts helps here.

Finally, fruits. Segments of orange, grapefruit and pomelo are both exotic and refreshing. Grapes, kiwi, litchi, pineapple, any left-over strawberries and a bowl of chilled mango puree or chunks with whipped cream would be a fitting finale to such a fine evening.

Have a whale of a party!