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Grab this Best Summer Salad Recipe for a Picnic

Summer is the season of outdoor adventures, and nothing quite captures the essence of warm weather like a picnic. I have a great salad idea for your next picnic. You’ll want to check out this best salad recipe for a picnic.

Whether you’re heading to the park, the beach, or a scenic hiking trail, a picnic is the perfect opportunity to savor delicious food while enjoying the company of friends and the outdoors.

What better way to complement your picnic spread than with a refreshing and flavorful salad? 

Picnics are all about creating lasting memories with loved ones. A well-crafted salad can be the star of the show. 

Imagine a vibrant array of fresh summer vegetables and fruits, tantalizing flavors, and a dressing that ties everything together in perfect balance. Not only does a salad provide a burst of nutrients and flavors, but it also offers a refreshing contrast to heavier picnic fare.

This guide covers picnic-friendly salad ingredients, tips for transporting salads, food safety, and a creative salad in a jar idea to make your summer picnic unforgettable.

Inspiration for this Summer Salad for a Picnic

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Last week, I was scrolling through Pinterest looking for picnic ideas for my 15 Ways to Plan the Perfect Picnic when I came across this image from Nina at Sharing a Journey (See the post for her link).

pink flower on plate on picnic blanket

What interested me the most was the book lying on the picnic blanket. She didn’t mention it or link to it, but the pretty cover and title intrigued me. I searched online, found the book and ordered it. I’m so glad I did.

Picnic Book

The Picnic is full of advice, suggestions and tips for hosting a picnic. Plus there are dozens of great recipes. This is where I found the recipe that I’m sharing with you: Tomato, Peach, and Corn with Feta. It has all my favorite summer foods, and one of my favorite cheeses – feta.

And, the illustrations are so darn cute!

Picnic book with salad recipe for a picnic

So, with my salad recipe chosen, I was ready to think about having a picnic.

Salads in a Jar: The Perfect Picnic Companion

For this salad, I opted to serve it in a fun container that can easily be transported to a picnic. I love these jars with a white ceramic flip top. These are originally filled with lemon curd.

glass jars with white ceramic lids for summer salad

When I finished the lemon curd, I squeeze some GooGone on the label, removed it, and then washed the jars in the dishwasher.

This idea is one of the most convenient and visually appealing ways to transport a salad to a picnic. Salads in a jar have become a popular trend, and for good reason. 

I also have two Le Parfait jars I bought in an antique mall in Atlanta. They are available in several sizes.

Le parfait jar

These are too big for salad in a jar, but fortunately, they come in the perfect little salad in a jar size.

I also like the Weck jars.

They not only look so appealing, but they also keep the ingredients fresh and crisp until you’re ready to enjoy them. And, they make it easy for each guest to have their own salad “bowl”. 

When you’re ready to eat, simply hand out the jar and a fork to each guest. You have a perfectly mixed and dressed salad, ready to be enjoyed.

Food Safety at a Picnic

While picnics are all about fun and relaxation, it’s essential to prioritize food safety, especially when dealing with perishable items like salads. 

To ensure your salad stays fresh and safe to consume, rather than bringing the salad in one large bowl, pack salad in cute jars in an insulated cooler with ice packs. 

This will help maintain the optimal temperature and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Packing individual portions of salad in separate containers minimizes the risk of contamination.

NOTE: As a general rule, perishable foods should not be left out for more than two hours (or one hour if the temperature is above 90°F). 

Transporting Your Salad to the Picnic

Transporting your salad to the picnic can be a breeze with a little preparation. 

If you’re opting for a salad in a jar, make sure to pack the jars securely in a cooler or insulated bag to prevent spills and maintain the desired temperature. The ingredients for this best summer salad recipes are perfect for placing in an airtight container with a secure lid.

Remember, the key to a successful picnic salad is to keep it fresh, flavorful, and easy to transport. With a little planning and creativity, you can elevate your picnic experience with a delicious and nutritious salad that will have everyone asking for the recipe. You can share this post with your friends!

Ingredients for a Summer Picnic Salad

There are so many different ingredients that can be used in a summer salad. Some work better than others for a salad in a jar.

The key for picnic salads is to choose ingredients that are sturdy, flavorful, and can hold up well when transported and served at room temperature. Layering ingredients in jars or containers can also help keep them fresh until ready to serve.

Here is a list of picnic-friendly salad ingredients; the ingredients with an asterisk are in this best salad recipe in a jar.

  • Leafy greens (romaine, spinach, arugula, mixed greens)
  • *Fresh veggies (grape or cherry tomatoes, corn, cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers, broccoli, radishes, corn, peas)
  • *Fruits (berries, grapes, peaches, apples, oranges, pineapple, mango)
  • Proteins (grilled chicken, hard-boiled eggs, tuna, chickpeas, edamame)
  • *Cheeses (feta, cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan)
  • Nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, pepitas, pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds)
  • Grains (quinoa, couscous, farro, pasta)
  • Beans (kidney beans, black beans, garbanzo beans) TIP: drain your can of beans and rinse thoroughly before using in a salad.
  • *Fresh herbs (basil, cilantro, parsley, dill) I love basil in the summer. We have plenty in our herb garden. In our Zone 8, it’s too warm to grow cilantro and dill.
  • *Dressings (vinaigrettes – lemon, lime, sherry, red wine vinegar, champagne vinegars or creamy dressings like ranch, creamy avocado or blue cheese).

The fresh produce ingredients for this particular salad are some of summer’s best seasonal offerings. They all should be in season. 

  • 2 ears of best sweet yellow corn on the cob, shucked
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion (about 1/4 of an onion)
  • 1 pound ripe peaches, halved, pitted and cut into 1-inch chunks. My favorite summer fruit is peaches, and this salad packs the delicious taste and aroma of fresh peaches. NOTE: I recommend getting clingfree peaches to easily remove the pit before cutting the peaches. Also, the peaches should be ripe, but firm.
  • The original recipe called for heirloom tomatoes cut in 1-inch chunks. I thought it would be easier to slice multi-colored grape tomatoes in red, yellow, and orange in half.
  • Good extra virgin olive oil
  • Good variety of vinegar, such as red wine, white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, sherry or champagne. You could even use lemon juice or lime juice. I used sherry vinegar for a lighter taste.
  • Chopped fresh summer herbs, such as basil, mint, or tarragon
  • freshly ground black black pepper
  • kosher salt, for seasoning
  • good quality sheep’s milk feta cheese. NOTE: Always try to purchase feta in a block in brine for the best taste and freshness.

There are other colorful vegetables that you could add or substitute in this summer salad

  • red peppers
  • kalamata olives
  • blueberries
  • mozzarella balls

The Farmer’s Market is the best place to gather these summer favorite fruits and vegetables.

There’s nothing better than fresh, in-season summer fruits and vegetables.

This salad in a jar doesn’t contain leafy greens, which can become wilted in a jar.

Let’s Get Started Making this Delicious Salad in a Jar.

I’ve made this salad twice and it’s become one of my favorite ways to enjoy summer salad.

First, gather all your ingredients on a sheet pan.

summer salad ingredients

Then prep each ingredient.

Begin by shucking the corn. Once you have most of the husks removed, I cut off the tops and bottoms of the corn cob. This makes it easier to remove the remaining husks.

trimming corn on the cob
cutting end of corn on the cob

Then cook the corn in boiling salted water for 5 minutes.

cooking corn on the cob

Remove the corn from the water and place in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Remove after 3 – 5 minutes and pat dry.

cooling corn on the cob

Place the corn on a cutting board. I like to place a piece of parchment paper in a sheet pan to hold the corn kernels. Then add a cutting board and place the corn cobs on the cutting board.

If you did not previously cut the tops and bottoms off the corn, do that now. You need a flat bottom so the corn can sit flush on the cutting board.

cooked corn on cutting board

Using a sharp knife, cut the kernels off the cob, turning the cob around as you go.

Thinly slice the red onion. To remove the bite of the onion, place the onion in a colander or fine mesh sieve and place in the same ice bath as the corn. Remove after a few minutes and pat dry.

sliced red onion in bowl of ice water

Continue by dropping the tomatoes and the peaches. You now have all your veggies and fruits prepped.

summer salad prepared ingredients in white bowls on tray

The final major ingredient is basil. It’s the perfect summer herb for this salad. This basil is from the herb garden in our backyard.

basil, extra virgin olive oil, sherry vinegar, salt and pepper

You can tear up the basil or slice it in a method called chiffonade. You stack the basil leaves, then roll them up like a cigar.

Then slice across the “cigar”. The pieces are called rags. Chiffonade is French for “made of rags”.

Assemble the Summer Salad

Place the corn in a large bowl. Then add the tomatoes, sliced red onion, and peaches.

Drizzle the vinegar and the extra virgin olive oil over the salad ingredients. I used 2 tablespoons of vinegar and 6 tablespoons of the oil. The standard ratio of vinegar to oil is 1:3. I increased the oil and vinegar amounts considerably from the original recipe. The revised amounts were just right.

Finally, sprinkle on the basil and add a good size pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

tossing picnic summer salad

NOTE: I rarely measure salt and pepper for dishes like this summer salad. I let my taste buds be my judge. Start with a little amount and add more salt until it tastes right to you

Use a large spoon to gently toss the salad ingredients. Then taste and adjust the seasonings.

tossing summer salad

The last step is to add the feta. I love feta for its slightly salty, lemony flavor and creamy texture.

NOTE: I always encourage you to purchase blocks of feta in brine. They taste better and last longer than dry crumbled feta.

NOTE: I recommend never buying fat-free feta. I accidentally bought one once and it tastes horrible.

I cut the feta into slices, then into pieces. Use your chef’s knife or pastry scraper to break the feta into crumbles.

crumbling feta cheese
crumbled feta

Add the feta to the salad.

picnic summer salad topped with feta cheese

At this point, you can cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator.

Serving the Summer Salad

If you are serving the salad at home for a party, you can make the salad the night before or in the morning.

If you are making the salad to take to a picnic, you can make the salad as described. In the morning, add the salad to your jars. Return to the fridge until you are ready to pack for your picnic.

Pack the jars in a cooler with ice packs. This tomato, peach and corn salad is perfect for taking to a picnic. There is nothing that will wilt or get soggy.

You can pack spoons or forks to eat the salad.

I pretended we were having a picnic – in our backyard!

I laid my favorite blue and white quilt (It was my younger daughter’s when she was in junior high and high school.) on the grass. Our picnic basket, which we have used often, served as a little table.

Our liquid refreshment would be a bottle of Procesco. A bottle of Rosé would also be a lovely accompaniment to the salad.

picnic with summer summer salad in a jar and a bottle of Prosecco on blue check quilt

The pretty blue linen towel is from All Cotton and Linen. They have gorgeous linens of all kinds and graciously sent me these linen dish towels. I fell in love with the French blue color and the classic stripes.

These linen towels can be used for decorative display – I have two hanging on my oven. I think they are too pretty to use as a dish towel. I have four so that I can use them as napkins.

Check out the Super Summer Salad Recipe.

summer salad in a jar for a picnic

Tomato, Peach, and Corn Salad with Crumbled Feta

The Picnic Recipes and Inspiration from Basket to Blanket
A delicious easy salad full of summer's best produce. Perfect for summer entertaining or taking to a picnic in jars.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings

Equipment

  • 1 large mixing bowl
  • 1 medium saucepan
  • 4 small bowls for ingredients
  • large mixing spoon
  • jars for serving salad

Ingredients
  

  • 2 ears corn on the cob shucked
  • ½ cup thinly sliced red onion about ¼ of a red onion
  • 1 pound ripe cling-free peaches halved, pitted, and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 pound multi-colored cherry or grape tomatoes cut in half or quartered
  • 6 tablespoons good extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons good vinegar*
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs*
  • kosher salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons crumbled feta

Instructions
 

  • Fill a medium saucepan with water, bring to a boil, and season generously with kosher salt. Add the shucked corn and cook for 5 minutes. Meanwhile prepare a large bowl with iced water.
  • Drain the corn and cool in the iced water for a few minutes. Turn over a few times with a spoon or tongs, if desired. Removed from the ice bath and drain on paper towels and pat dry.
  • Place the sliced red onion in a colandar or fine mesh sieve. Place the onion in the iced water in the same bowl as the corn for 10 minutes to remove the harsh bite. Drain and pat dry.
  • Place a piece of parchment paper in a sheet pan. Place a cutting board on top. Stand the corn cob upright and holding firmly, cut the kernels off the cobs with a sharp chef's knife. Place the kernels in a large bowl.
  • Add the sliced onion, tomatoes, and peaches to the corn.
  • Drizzle the vinegar of choice and the extra virgin olive oil, the herb, and salt and pepper. Gently toss with a large spoon. Taste for seasoning and adjust.
  • Add the crumbled feta on top. Cover the salad tightly. Place in fridge until ready to serve.
  • If desired, spoon salad into individual jars. Keep in fridge until ready to transfer to picnic.
Keyword best summer salad, picnic salad, summer salad
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Fun Finds for Your Next Picnic

Ready to get this super summer salad? Here are a few more summer salad recipes and picnic ideas you’ll love:

I hope you will make this Tomato, Peach, and Corn Summer Salad recipe this season – and take it on a picnic. Please PIN to your favorite recipe boards. Here are more recipes for summer enjoyment: Salad Recipes and Summer Recipes.

Enjoy your summer and have a picnic.

PIn graphic for now for later
picnic with summer summer salad in a jar and a bottle of Prosecco on blue check quilt
Hugs, Carol blog signature graphic

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4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Carol, your salad sounds so fresh and delicious.
    Thank you for sharing your picnic salad recipe at Create, Bake, Grow & Gather this week. I’m delighted to be featuring your post at tonight’s party and pinning too.
    Hugs ~ Kerryanne

  2. My goodness, this looks like the happiest, most colorful salad I’ve seen! I’ll be featuring this wonderful post tomorrow on Farmhouse Friday 351. Thank you for linking up and sharing your talents with us. Happy Summer! pinned

  3. Carol I love your salads in a jar. We are always eating at the beach and I’m tired of soggy sandwiches!! This is lovely.