This time of year, we tend to go to potluck after p0tluck. It’s a great way to get the triclub or your triathlete’s training partners together at the end of the season and catch up with old friends and meet the new members. There’s also no rule that you can’t mix it up and include non tri-related guests. I’m sure you’ll find a few topics to discuss.

Most recently, we hosted one for my running group, so I wanted to keep it light and healthy and just served salads. At most of the ones we attend, the main course is provided and the guests bring a salad and/or dessert. If you’re tired of iceberg lettuce and a box of store bought cookies, we have some alternatives. It’s time to be the talk of the potluck crowd with these new easy salads and quick desserts.

Here are my three go-to sides and desserts (coming soon) for any potluck. My goal is always to provide something fun and interesting for others and something that my family knows if they take a little of each, a meal is made…

POTLUCK ANYONE?  SIDE DISHES

ROLLED SALADS

One of my favorite sides to make for potlucks are these rolled salads, because they are easy to pick up and they can be filled in seconds. Plus, all of these items are usually on hand in my house, so it takes just a few minutes to put together. If you don’t want to use the nori sheets, you could always use butter leaf lettuce for lettuce wraps instead.

photo 1-4

Rolled salads

INGREDIENTS:

  • Nori sheets – for 12 rolls you will need 6 sheets.
  • Rice – cook as directed. I am a whole grain girl, but for this I do use an organic sushi rice and cook in my rice cooker while I prep everything else. For 12 rolls, you will need 1 1/2 cups of rice.
  • Soy sauce – I use this gluten free one so everyone can enjoy.
  • Veggies sliced in long thin strips. My favorites are cucumbers, carrots, avocado, sprouts or micro greens, romaine lettuce, pickled onions – basically everything!
  • Tofu, chicken, crushed cashews, shrimp, or whatever you want can be added for protein.

PREPARATION:

  • Start with your nori sheets and use scissors to cut in half, so that they are long and thin.
  • Place one end of a piece of nori in the palm of your hand and add 1 1/2 to 2 tbsp. of rice on top; press down until your palm is full.
  • Add veggies and proteins at an angle towards the top corner.
  • Dip your other fingers in water and starting with the bottom corner, with your other hand roll on the diagonal to make a cone. Make sure you take a wet finger and run it under the last part of the nori as you roll, so it will stick together.
  • Serve the bottle of soy sauce on the side for folks to pour onto hand roll if they want.

GRILLED SALAD

This one makes a party fun, because not only does it taste wonderful, but it is so pretty to look at.

Grilled fruits and vegetables just scream summer.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 heads of Romaine lettuce sliced in quarters lengthwise.
  • 2 pineapples peeled, cored, and sliced.
  • Lime juice
  • Cilantro, chopped for garnish.
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Spears for kabobs

PREPARATION:

  • Lightly brush Romaine sections and pineapple with olive oil.
  • Grill over a medium heat until both get grill marks on all sides.
  • Place Romaine quarters, open side up, on serving platter.
  • Cut pineapple in chunks and place on spears.
  • Place spears on top of Romaine sections.
  • Use a long toothpick to secure for transport or you can quarter each section of lettuce and pineapple and serve as a kabob.
  • Sprinkle a little more olive oil on top and then add the chopped cilantro, lime juice, and a little salt and pepper.

PASTA SALAD WITH GREENS

This is a quick, easy, and yummy recipe. It is served cold.

Pasta dish side dishes

Pasta Salad with Greens.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Cook whole wheat pasta as directed on the package. For potlucks, this always goes fast so I use 2 pounds of pasta and prefer whole wheat.
  • 2 pounds baby spinach, roughly chopped.
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped.
  • 1 bag of frozen peas or equivalent fresh peas, cooked.
  • Add artichokes, blanched asparagus, tomatoes, or other vegetables of your choosing.
  • For protein, mix in either poached salmon or a few cans of tuna (optional).
  • Dressing – if you want to go easy, use ranch dressing mix:
    • mix 2 packets with 1 1/2 cup milk, 1 cup mayonnaise, and 1/2 cup sour cream
  • For a homemade dressing, mix the following together:
    • 1 1/2 cup buttermilk, 1 cup mayonnaise, and 1 cup plain yogurt. In the food processor, chop the following together: 2 cloves garlic, 1/4 cup parsley, 2 tablespoons chives, 1 teaspoon celery seed, salt and pepper, and 1/4 cup lemon juice; add to the mayo mixture.

PREPARATION:

Now this part is hard – in a large bowl mix everything together!

Coming soon: 3 great desserts to serve or take with you to your next potluck. Enjoy!

– DANA