Salads and Sides That Can Stand the Heat

Heading to a Labor Day picnic or planning one of your own? Here are some handy tips and recipes to help you create the perfect outdoor spread for even the hottest of days.

A few rules of thumb for serving food outside in the summertime:

  1. If it's going to be over 90 degrees outside, stay away from mayonnaise- or cream-based recipes, or anything with highly perishable ingredients.
  2. When adding cheese to salads, use feta or something else that doesn't melt that easily. Cubed cheddar, for instance, will melt and sweat in the heat, and soft goat cheese will turn to mush.
  3. Keep cold things cold, and keep hot things hot.
  4. Do not leave perishable foods out in the heat for more than 2 hours if it's under 90 degrees, or for more than 1 hour if it's over 90 degrees.
  5. Pack perishable foods and beverages in separate coolers. That way the foods won't be exposed to the heat every time someone wants a drink.
  6. Cook hamburgers and other meats to order, or time it so that everyone is encouraged to eat as soon as you're finished cooking.

Mayo-free salads:

Side dishes that won't melt in the heat: