MEDITERRANEAN Picnic Salad (Serves 8)

Super simple summer entertaining is what it is all about. This dish, brimming with freshness, is the perfect complement or star of the table itself. Great as a side dish, for a BBQ, or easy to bring to a party! Can be prepared ahead of time or arrange just before serving.


Use all or parts of the ingredients listed below to size your salad. Choose what you like to make it your own! These are many of our favorite ingredients. Have fun!

  • 1 Cup halved or left whole cherry tomatoes, or Heirloom quartered or diced
  • 1 C Persian Cucumbers, cut into half moons (no need to peel Persian cucumbers)
  • ½ C each Kalamata & Green olives, pitted or not
  • ½ C Red onion halved and thinly sliced
  • ¼-1/3 C Feta cheese, crumbled ~ goat or sheep
  • 2 Tbl. Capers
  • 1/3 C Toasted pine nuts ~ we buy raw and toast in a dry pan & a nice pinch of sea salt…
  • 1 lb Blanched green beans (don’t forget to de-string them)
  • 6 Marinated Mozzarella balls left whole or halved, save marinade and use to drizzle!
  • 1 C Marinated Artichoke hearts~ left whole or halved
  • 1 bunch Fresh Basil leaves thinly sliced and shredded
  • 1 tsp fresh oregano leaves left whole or minced
  • 2-4 handfuls spring baby mixed lettuce and/or arugula to use as your base (optional)
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • Olive Oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar (thick syrupy one)
  • ½ Tsp Celtic Sea Salt
  • Pecorino Romano to taste


  • Place all ingredients in a wide large bowl or nice deep platter with a rim. Drizzle olive oil, sea salt, and balsamic over top just before serving.  Add fresh ground black pepper, and slivered Basil and fresh oregano leaves.

Salad Dressing: (Either drizzle the top of the salad with olive oil and balsamic, then sprinkle with sea salt.  OR make this light, easy, lemony vinaigrette and drizzle over the top.

Olive oil and lemony vinaigrette:

  • ¼ C olive oil and ¼ C Meyer Lemon juice
  • Wisk together. Add ½ tsp Celtic Sea Salt
  • Drizzle top of salad with balsamic vinegar

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About The Author

Andrew Mersmann's picture

Andrew is the author of Frommer's global guide to volunteer vacations, "500 Places Where You Can Make a Difference" (Gold Medal Winner from Society of American Travel Writers: Best Guide Book 2010). He spent more than a decade on the editorial team of PASSPORT Magazine. He has volunteered and led teams on service projects around the world, and is honored to be on the boards of directors for the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation ( and Mentor Artists Playwrights Project ( Mersmann has been a featured speaker, interview guest, or moderator on several travel talks, from the New York Times Travel Show, Smithsonian Associates, and the 92nd Street Y-TriBeCa to Oprah and Friends, Animal House, and The Focus Group on satellite radio as well as on NY1 television. Past participant at the Clinton Global Initiative and judge for Condé Nast World Changers Conference, he blogs about volunteering and service travel at As part of the evox television team, he is dedicated to audience engagement, so if you're not engaged, he needs to be thumped on the head (gently)...or at least told (nicely). Twitter: /ChangeByDoing

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