Summer sun, a picnic table, friends and food...that is what comes to mind when I think of potlucks. The other thing that comes to mind is the dreaded, “WHAT AM I GOING TO BRING!?!” Don’t panic – here is your guide to stress free, delicious potluck favorites, with a healthful twist.
Usually at an outdoor potluck, either the host will provide the mains – burgers, wings, shish kabobs - or if it is at a park you are looking at BYOB – bring your own BBQ items. So what is left? SALADS, SALADS, SALADS!
Old Fashioned Potato Salad
Put away the mayonnaise and the hard-boiled eggs! A potato salad recipe can be edited to omit these high-fat add-ons. If you are used to the zing that mayo can impart, try to boil your potatoes with about a tablespoon of pickle juice in the water. If you are wanting the creaminess of mayo you can use plain organic yogurt in its place. Be sure to add lots of fresh herbs like dill and basil for a flavor burst.
Sweet Potato Salad
Although still considered a potato salad, this one is bursting with anti-oxidants and vitamins. Sweet potatoes are highest in beta-carotene which gets converted into vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A promotes glowing summer skin while at the same time reducing the harsh effects of the sun. To make this potato salad, steam two large sweet potatoes for about 7 minutes until still firm but cooked through. Cut into cubes and toss with raisins, pecans and a vinaigrette made from maple syrup, apple cider vinegar and a little bit of olive oil.
Rice Noodle & Roasted Veggie Pasta Salad
This one is really simple – only three steps.
1. Cook 2 cups of rice fusilli according to the package instructions. When done cooking rinse thoroughly with cold water and set aside.
2. In a medium roasting pan toss together with 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and ¼ teaspoon of sea salt: 8 whole garlic cloves, 2 carrots (peeled and thinly sliced), 1 red pepper (coarsely chopped) and a zucchini (cut into ½-inch rounds). Roast in the oven at 350 degrees F, tossing every 15 minutes for 30-45 minutes or until soft.
3. Combine pasta, veggies, 2 more tablespoons of olive oil and the juice from ½ a lemon. Season with more sea salt and chili flakes. Garnish with some olives.
Rainbow Quinoa Salad
By now everyone has heard of this healthy ancient grain – but in reality it isn’t a grain at all – it is a seed. It is gluten-free, fat-free and has a nice nutty flavor. Did you also know that it is very high in protein? This little wonder is also great as a salad base too! Cooked quinoa is especially nice with grated fresh beet, fresh lemon and dill. For a more robust flavor add some crumbled goat or feta cheese and arugula.
Make it a greek salad by mixing in cucumber, tomatoes, peppers and feta. Drizzle on some olive oil, lemon juice and oregano.
Kale Caesar Salad
This is a yummy adaptation to the traditional Caesar salad, but can be served on a hot day without spoiling because it doesn’t have raw eggs or wilty lettuce. Instead it is packed full of heart-boosting kale topped with a snappy dressing. For the dressing you will need:
· ¼ cup tahini
· ¼ cup water
· 1 small garlic clove, chopped finely
· Juice of ½ a lemon
· 2 tbsp of parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast
· 1 tsp of mustard seeds
· Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
Combine the dressing in a food processor until smooth. Top torn kale leaves with dressing, red onion, tomato and sunflower seeds.
Fire Pit Corn
For the simplest solution to a last minute potluck invite, a sure hit is corn on the cob! Select corncobs with a fresh green husk. Soak the cobs in salted water for about an hour. Place on hot coals in the fire pit for 15-30 minutes, turning them occasionally to ensure thorough cooking. Allow to cool for a couple minutes, as they will be extremely hot and steamy. Have a nice log of grass fed butter to roll them around in and a sprinkling of sea salt to finish them off. Add a squeeze of lime for a refreshing twist.
With these quick recipes under your belt you are sure to wow your friends when you tell them how easy and healthy they are.
Cheryl Wahl, RHN, CPCC, Personal Trainer
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