Summer is upon us! Bring on barbecue season!
While we get a small reprieve from packing school lunches, summer brings many other obligations. Barbecue parties, birthday celebrations and potlucks are all fun, but coming up with unique, delicious, and crowd-pleasing dishes can be a challenge.
Thankfully, we’ve had lots of practice over the years and have perfected our potluck contributions. Sure, you could always go with the classic chips and dip or a cheese platter, but why not step it up a notch and bring a dish that will please even the pickiest family member.
So, how do you create an award-winning potluck dish? Here are our top tips.
Pack your food in a ready to use, disposable container
Before we became potluck pros, we would bring our food in Tupperware and have to rummage through the host’s cupboards for a serving dish, or in beautiful bowls that we ended up leaving behind. Now, we head to the dollar store, stock up on some easy to transport large bowls or platters, and problem solved!
Bring a dish that will travel well
Imagine plating up a beautiful and delicate five-tiered cake and then driving it to your potluck destination only to find the whole thing has tipped over and you are left with a soggy and very messy pile of cake. Not ideal. So be sure to bring a dish that can hold up to travel and would look good after a bumpy and long drive.
If packing a salad, save some dressing
While very few people enjoy a soggy salad, there are even fewer who would enjoy a very dry and tasteless pile of noodles. So we always reserve some extra dressing to toss on our potluck salads just before serving. It ensures your salad remains moist and just as flavourful as the day you made it.
And on that salad note, one of our absolute favourite dishes to bring to a summer potluck is this Perfect Potluck Pasta Salad. It meets all of our criteria – easy to travel, uber flavourful, and comes together in under 30 minutes, leaving you lots of time to enjoy the beautiful summer sun.
Perfect Potluck Pasta Salad Recipe
Makes about 10 cups of salad
2 cups orzo pasta
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes (halved or quartered)
1 English cucumber (seeded and chopped)
1 red, yellow, or orange pepper (seeded and chopped)
⅓ cup very thinly sliced red onions
200 g feta cheese (crumbled)
10 kalamata olives (sliced)
1 head romaine lettuce (washed and chopped)
⅓ cup white wine vinegar
⅔ cup canola oil
1 tbsp whole grain dijon mustard
1 tbsp honey
2 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
1. Cook orzo pasta in boiling salted water per package directions or until al dente (aprox. 7 minutes). Drain and rinse orzo with cold water.
2. Meanwhile, add all the ingredients for the dressing to a small bowl and whisk until combined.
3. Toss orzo, chopped vegetables, feta cheese, and ¾ of the dressing in a large bowl (once combined this can stay in your fridge overnight).
4. Reserve ¼ of the dressing and chopped romaine to toss with prepared orzo salad just before serving.