This simple White Bean Caprese Salad is one of my go-to recipes for hosting parties that don't take place at home. From picnics to Duffy boats, this easy recipe is great to make ahead and transport to where you need it!
With the food taken care of, I'm also sharing tips on how to host parties on the go. It takes a little planning but you'll be able to do it with ease.
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I live in an area where the parks are abundant but your house and yard are tiny. I often want to invite people over but worry that my house will be too cramped (plus I'll have to clean it...).
Now that the weather is warming up, we really need to start taking advantage of these gorgeous public spaces.
While you won't have your full party arsenal available to you in a park, it is still really easy to put together great-looking parties to go.
My trick for putting together a party that is outside of your home is to give myself a limit. I use this basket to let me know when I'm overdoing it and trying to take way too much stuff with me.
There's a fine line between being prepared and being crazy. I try to fit everything in this basket that I'll need to create a lovely atmosphere and feed my guests.
With my group of friends, wine is a must. Black Box Wines are perfect for parties to go! The box means that we won't end up with broken glass if anyone gets a little too crazy.
One box holds four 750 ml bottles of wine and costs about 40% less than comparable bottled wines! Alcohol is a really quick way to blow a party budget so this savings is fantastic!
And I'm not suggesting we'll drink a whole box on this one occasion. This wine stays fresh for up to six weeks. It's such a smart choice.
What to Serve
I wanted to make a light meal that would pair really well with the Black Box Wines Cabernet Sauvignon. I love a good caprese salad and decided to add white beans to give it a little more protein.
This entrée salad is so easy to make and everyone loves the fresh ingredients. They are hearty enough to stand up to travel so it's perfect for parties to go!
Serving the White Bean Caprese Salad in individual containers means taking less things to the park. They are already portioned so no serving has to be done later.
- Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
- White Beans (Great Northern or Cannelini Beans are great)
- Mozzarella Pearls
- Fresh Basil
- Sea Salt
- Olive Oil
- Balsamic Vinegar
You can also add in some shredded chicken if you want to make it a little more filling.
And a sprinkle of red pepper flakes gives it the perfect amount of heat!
You just mix everything except the lettuce in a large bowl and toss it with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
I layer some romaine salad mix in the bottom of the jar to help bulk up the Caprese a little bit. Then I add the white bean caprese salad to each jar.
Although there is torn fresh basil mixed in the salad, I like to place a whole leaf right on top so when my guests take the lid off, there's a bit of presentation. It's the little touches...or party OCD.
There are two things I do when I first arrive to set up my party. I put down a really fun tablecloth and then I open the wine!
I'm not a huge fan of traditional tablecloths. A lot of them come in really light colors and they seem to be expensive. I prefer to use tapestries. They are super colorful (which is awesome for hiding stains!) and are inexpensive.
The one I used on this table is about the size of a twin sheet and cost about $9 on amazon. They wash really well and I can reuse them over and over! They also work really well if there isn't a table available and you want to serve up your party, picnic style.
And of course, I want to have the wine ready in case my other guests start to arrive. With how simple this party is, I don't need to worry about getting there really early for set up.
But I do like to welcome my friends with a drink right away.
There are a few necessities that I always like to bring with me. These things will be kept out of site (because they are SO not cute) and you'll have them if you need them. I keep these tucked down at the bottom of the basket.
I always bring a trash bag because you never know what the trash can situation will be like. I also keep a few sizes of resealable bags in case I need to pack up some food to bring it home or, if something spills, I have a way to contain it and not ruin everything.
I bring some paper napkins, even though I use linen for the table, in case of spills or other catastrophes. I bring a container of wet wipes because the outdoors can be really dirty. Ew.
I also bring a few small rocks with me which can act as a weight for my tablecloth if it's breezy and a small container of sea salt.
Black Box Wines have won over 50 Gold medals for its quality. Some people give boxed wine a bad rap. I think they just haven't given it a fair chance. Black Box Wines sells world-class wines from world-class regions.
And it comes in a ton of varieties now! For this party I bought Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Grigio. But they also have Sauvignon Blanc (which I'm totally going to try once these boxes are finished) plus other popular varieties of whites and reds.
You might not think to bring fresh flowers to your party in the park. But they instantly make your table seem extra decadent. There are two ways you can use them on a table.
Use a plastic cup filled with one rock and some water to create super simple vases and cut or tear some of the flowers to fit the height. Or you can do like I did, and just wrap them in tissue paper and lay them on the table.
The colors pop and really make the table feel special.
To round out dinner, I like to serve whole fresh fruit (that I washed before leaving the house) and my favorite cheese with a baguette. I set it up on a board on the table and let people serve themselves as they want to.
Parties to go are so much fun! And they're even more fun with great wine and awesome company. Will you be entertaining away from home this summer? I encourage you to try it! It's a fun change of pace.
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White Bean Caprese
- 15 ounce white beans (Cannelini or Great Northern)
- 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes can leave whole or cut in half
- 1 cup mozzarella pearls or larger cut in to small bite-sized chunks
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 8 fresh basil leaves torn
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 bag romaine lettuce
- Rinse and drain beans.
- In a large bowl add beans, tomatoes, cheese, basil, olive oil, vinegar and salt.
- Mix well.
- Add a handful of romaine salad to the bottom of 4 Mason jars.
- Spoon the white bean caprese over the lettuce.
- Top with a small, whole basil leaf.
- Put the tops on the jars and refrigerate until needed.
I just love how this turned out! Fresh, easy, and chic all at the same time! #client
Sharon Garofalow says
Thank you! I can't wait to throw more of these get togethers all summer long!