Healthy Potluck Recipes

Have to bring a dish to a dinner party? Fear not! Here are healthy recipes, perfect for a potluck.

Pot luck dishes photo via shutterstock

Pot luck dishes photo via shutterstock

Potluck dinners can sometimes end up being a lot of the same thing. Instead of the tired potato salad or cream-filled baked pasta, try one of these healthier options below that will please any crowd.

Here are some tips for making the perfect potluck dish: First, make sure to ask how many people are coming. (Duh!) Next, if you make something that’s meant to be served warm, ask the host if there will be space for your dish in the oven. Also, be sure to bring your food in the serving dish. (There’s nothing more annoying than having a guest that needs to borrow a dish once they show up.) Make sure you keep the dips and extra sauce separate so the food won’t get mushy. And finally, have fun! Go vegetarian, ethnic, or spicy. You never know what the surprise favorite dish of the evening will be.

1. Balsamic Glazed Butternut Squash with Lentils and Kale
via Powered by Plantz

Here’s a protein-powered vegetarian dish that’s beautiful and delicious. Make this ahead of time and then gently warm before serving. Be sure to make extra, because the longer it sits, the better the flavor.

2. Lemon-Dill Orzo Pasta Salad with Cucumbers, Olives & Feta
via Strawberry Plum

This is a Greek spin on pasta salad. Orzo is rice shaped pasta that is great for feeding a group because a little bit goes a long way. If you are watching your carb intake, cut back on the amount of pasta and either add more veggies or shred some chicken to toss into the salad.

3. Carolina Coleslaw
via Bon Appetit

Coleslaw is not just a summer food. This version is light (no mayo) and tangy with an acidic punch. Cabbage is a good winter vegetable, so buy it fresh. Try adding in some red cabbage for color. The recipe calls for six tablespoons of sugar, but start with three and add more as needed.

4. Smoked Salmon Chowder
via Cookie

A big pot of soup can be a great addition to a pot luck meal. This version is a spin on the classic chowder and uses smoked salmon instead of clams. For a lighter recipe, use skim or 1 percent milk and omit the heavy cream (try non fat Greek yogurt instead).

5. Mexican Fiesta Casserole
via Epicurious

Here’s a healthy comfort food that’s a great addition to any party. For the salsa, you can chose your favorite from the store, or even whip up your own at home. If you like spicy Mexican food, try using one jar of hot salsa and one jar of medium or mild. You don’t want to blow your friend’s tastebuds away with extreme heat.

6. Grilled Beef, Jicama, and Apple Salad
via Epicurious

As is, this recipes only makes four servings, but it’s very easy to multiply. It’s best served at room temperature or even a little chilled, so make it ahead of time. To serve, have the jicama and apple salad in one bowl and the grilled meat on a platter so people can make their own plate.

7. Moroccan Carrot and Chickpea Salad
via 101 Cookbooks

This salad delivers bright colors and flavors. Make the recipe ahead of time and let the salad sit (without the nuts) for a few hours to let the flavors deepen and meld together.

8. Hummus en Fuego
via 101 Cookbooks

A spicy hummus with homemade pita chips is a great addition to any table, especially if the party is all about appetizers. The oil is made a day or two in advance, so try making enough to keep on hand for future use. The oil would be good on fish or chicken, too.

9. Butternut Squash Baked Risotto
via Martha Stewart

Baking risotto makes the cook time a breeze compared to the regular standing and stirring. To cut the creaminess of the rice, and add some quality nutrients, add the hearty kale and butternut squash with a heavy hand. You’ll want to serve this piping hot, so make sure there’s oven space at the potluck.

10. No-Bake Nutella Peanut Butter Cookies 
via The Kitchn

No potluck is complete without something sweet, and these cookies couldn’t be simpler. You can make them a few days in advance and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator until it’s time to party. If you don’t have Frangelico on hand, it can be omitted, but it’s worth the run to the store.