Individual Salad Cups with Rhubarb Vinaigrette are perfect for entertaining, whether you’re having a family picnic, throwing a wedding shower, or hosting a spring brunch. Make a few extra to keep the fridge for healthy snacking, too.
Individual salad cups are not only cute, they’re a problem solver!
Fessing up here, I have a thing for cutesy individual sized foods, I can’t help myself. I think maybe in one of my past lives I must have been a caterer, or event planner or something. I love little crisps, crumbles and layered salads in mason jars, and appetizer dip cups that encourage you to eat and mingle at the same time.
These salad cups solve the age old problem of how to serve salad to a crowd, especially an outdoor crowd. No more awkward gymnastics with tongs, no more soggy paper plates…or soggy salad for that matter…all you have to do with these elegant finger salads is grab one and go. You don’t even need a fork. Problem solved.
The tart rhubarb vinaigrette will be your new favorite dressing
I’m also giving you a bonus with today’s recipe – an amazing rhubarb vinaigrette, which could have been a post all by itself. It’s creamy, tangy, fruity, and really good. Pretty too! You can make it a day or two ahead and save yourself time.
Layer each salad cup starting with the dressing at the bottom…
I spooned a good bit of dressing into the bottom of each plastic cup, and then arranged my lettuce leaves and veggies on top. I put colorful heirloom cherry tomatoes on a pick for easy dipping.
You get extra points for tucking in a few fresh herbs, like basil and thyme. If you like you can slip slices of cucumber onto the rims of the cups.
You can see I used endive lettuce, and that’s important because this is finger food, and you want the leaves to have some ‘backbone’ to them, to hold up to being dipped and eaten by hand. I used both green and red endive, but you could also use very small romaine leaves if you can find them. Isn’t this fun?
The secret to gorgeous salad cups is uber fresh ingredients
These cups won’t look very appetizing with wilted lettuce or wrinkled tomatoes, so use whatever looks good at the time you’re shopping. And while you can make the dressing a day or two ahead of time, I recommend you assemble these shortly before serving.
Individual Salad Cups with Rhubarb Vinaigrette
- 6 Tbsp fresh rhubarb puree, recipe below
- 4 Tbsp champagne vinegar, or other mild white vinegar
- 4 tsp honey
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard, I used whole grain
- 4-6 Tbsp mild olive oil
- pinch of salt and black pepper
- 8 plastic tumblers, the kind that flare out, not the straight ones (mine were 10 oz)
- 8 appetizer picks
- 1 head green endive
- 1 head purple or red endive
- 1 yellow bell pepper
- 1 red bell pepper
- 2 carrots
- 8 scallions
- about 16 green beans
- 8 radishes
- 16 snap or snow peas
- about 24 small multicolored cherry tomatoes
- 8 small radishes
- fresh basil and/or thyme leaves for garnish
- To make rhubarb puree, wash and trim the ends off of several stalks of rhubarb. Cut them in 1 inch pieces.
- Put the rhubarb into a saucepan and add a splash of water. Bring up to a boil, turn down the heat, and summer it for about 5-10 minutes until the rhubarb softens. Add a little bit of extra water if it runs dry.
- Let the mixture cool a bit and then puree in a small food processor. Measure out 6 tablespoons for the dressing recipe.
- To make the Rhubarb Vinaigrette put all the ingredients in a small food processor and blend until creamy. Taste and adjust any of the ingredients to your liking. Refrigerate until needed.
- When ready to assemble the cups, spoon 2 tablespoons of the dressing into the bottom of each cup.
- Trim the ends off the endive and carefully separate the leaves. You will need about 3 leaves per cup. Trim the leaves as necessary, from the bottom end, so that they extend an inch or so above the rim of the cup, as shown in the photos.
- Cut the bell peppers and carrots into thin strips and layer them into the cups, along with the trimmed green beans, pea pods, and scallions.
- Thread 3 tomatoes onto each skewer and add it. Finish with the radish and herbs for garnish.
- The cups should be full but not crowded. Assemble just before serving.
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Questions and Reviews
Beautiful collection of salads (made me hungry)! They’re all perfect for summer! Congratulations on the release of your book – can’t wait for my copy to arrive!
We have a mustard allergy in the family, do you think there is a replacement we can use? Or would it work without?
You can just leave it out Amy, I think the dressing has enough flavor without it.
This is such a unique and healthy recipe. I never would have thought to make “salad cups” and put a little dressing down the bottom. Definitely something I’m trying for lunch tomorrow!
These are fabulous we have been having them at least 2 x per week as appetizers and i make it with strawberries because my rhubarb is gone because i used all of it.
I love the idea of substituting strawberries in the dressing – glad you like these!
These look beautiful – what a work of art!! Would I be able to substitute agave or some other sweetener for the honey? Also, would it be the same amount of 4 tsp.? Thanks so very much, Sue!
I think you could use any type of sweetener you like, Ann, just be sure to give it the taste test as you go!
Thanks, Sue, I will!