If you’re like me, potlucks stress you out. This sounds ridiculous, right? But trying to find the right plate to bring to a potluck, gathering or party makes me so anxious that I usually just don’t bring anything. Don’t worry, I’m not that person who doesn’t bring anything and then eats everything . I make it a point to not eat anything there, filling up on something before I leave the house. And I make sure people know I’m not eating the five different types of hummus without having brought my own spin on the classic dish.
But you get what I’m saying, right, that it’s so hard to know what to bring to a potluck. I’m jealous of the people who have these famous family recipes that no one else has ever heard of and are a massive hit, people licking the bowl and asking for the secret recipe. No longer are the days of over-planning the potluck, like when you had to sign up for what to bring to class parties in elementary school. Those were the days.
There comes a time though when a person’s love of food and eating trumps their party stress and they learn the wonders of Pinterest and the good ol’ fashion cookbook. I learned, thanks to the internet and reading, that there are, in fact, recipes that are still making surprise appearances at potlucks, picnics and office parties. Behold, my friend, the keys to the potluck table.
Every yogi loves deep fried, freezer section spring rolls, right?! Try the fresh spin on these bad boys and make up a batch of fresh spring rolls. The beauty of fresh rolls is that you can add whatever you want to them – tofu, chicken, mango, basil, noodles, cucumber...I could go on but I think you get it. These rolls can be time consuming to make, but it’s a super meditative practice (unless you’re really hungry, then you end up eating all your filling before you get 10 rolls made). Check out this variation from Thug Kitchen , or these shrimp rolls with a peanut sauce.
Here’s one way to kick things up a notch and look extra fancy in front of your friends. Flatbreads are pretty easy to make, whether you make the dough at home or buy some at the store. And they offer a lot of variety. I don’t mean that you have to make six different types of flatbreads so your people have tons to choose from, but you, as the chef, have options. (This is perfect for when you’re running low on groceries and are feeling creative). Top things off with thinly sliced potatoes, roasted broccoli, fresh herbs, pesto, marinara, cheese...go to town, baby! Just maybe avoid mixing things that wouldn’t taste so great together. Obviously.
So long are the days of cold, overcooked pasta doused in mayonnaise and chopped up pickles. Asian noodle salads are a way to please the crowd without veering too off road from a fan favourite. Pick up some soba noodles or vermicelli to be your base. Next, add some julienned or chopped up carrots, cucumber, pepper, or other veggie. It’s fun to toss in some edamame beans for protein and colour. Whip up some dressing, like this sweet ginger one, and you’re all set. Maybe toss some nuts or cilantro on top for presentation and a bonus for your friends. Hot tip: wait until you get to the party to put the dressing on to keep the veggies from going soggy.
Black Bean Dip
People love to dip. They love to dip their hips, their chips and… carrots? Rather than bringing yet another bowl of hummus or guac, try a black bean dip. It’s just different enough that you’ll have people hmmmm -ing and yummmm -ing as they shovel it into their mouths with chips. Depending on the crowd – or your personal preferences – kick the heat up with some chipotle hot sauce, red pepper flakes, or your favourite hot sauce. Add cilantro, or don’t if you’re one of the people (like me) who just doesn’t get it. Great flavours to try out are cumin, chile, paprika, cayenne, and always a little salt and pepper to taste.
There you have it: Four brand new ideas (that you hopefully haven’t already thought of) for your next potluck. Now you can attend your party sweat-stain free, with food in-hand and an empty belly! Happy potlucking!