The holiday season is practically synonymous with the traditional potluck. Nobody wants to be the third consecutive guest to arrive with yet another 7-layer dip, so what should you actually bring along? If you’re running low on time and creativity, don’t worry – these holiday potluck ideas are sure to win the party over.
The trick to mastering the potluck is to think outside the box – with so much food being served, as a general rule of thumb, lighter is better. With that being said, here are some amazing seasonal salads that are a breeze to prepare.
Orange and Pomegranate Salad w/ Buttermilk Dressing
Combining seasonal flavors like bright citrus and rich pomegranate, these fruits pair beautifully with a creamy buttermilk dressing. Although simple by nature, this salad is loaded with flavor.
Start by preparing the dressing. Here’s what you’ll need,
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar or white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 teaspoon shallot (minced)
1/2 teaspoon minced
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Grab a mixing bowl and start whisking the zest, juice, mustard, vinegar, buttermilk and olive oil together. As it starts to blend together, add in the shallots, rosemary and sea salt.
Finally, prepare the greens. Here’s what you’ll need,
1 large offering of spinach
1 large pomegranate
1/2 thinly sliced shallot
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
A dash of sea salt and fresh ground pepper
Delicately peel your oranges making sure to preserve the citrusy flesh. Chop these slices about ½”. Next, pour your fresh dressing over the spinach and gently use your hands to ensure the greens receive an even coat.
Finish off this holiday salad with strategically placed orange slices and drizzling the lush pomegranate seeds throughout the greens, leaving room for the shallots. Top it off with the fresh rosemary, sea salt and pepper and you’re set to go. Delicious!
Ginger Spiced Pecans
Perfect for the holiday season, ginger spice pecans make an easy offering for the holiday potluck – something your company will find every bit delicious as they do accessible. If you’re dish is really pressed for time, these sautéed pecan halves are a happy compromise.
Grab yourself a nonstick frying pan and these other ingredients,
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups pecan halves
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground ginger
Begin by melting butter within your nonstick pan over medium heat. As it melts, add in the pecan halves and allow them to cook, making sure to stir them. You’ll want these to brown, which, depending on your stove, shouldn’t take more than five minutes.
Using a mixing bowl, combine the sugar, ginger and salt. After a quick mix here, add these ingredients to the cooking pecans making sure you continue to stir. Avoid cooking this all together for too long as the sugar will eventually melt away from the pecans.
Finally, allow the baked pecans to sit out and cool on a cookie sheet setup with wax paper. This should allow the coat to properly adhere to the skin. Transfer your pecans in a bowl and you’re ready to go.
Butternut Squash Risotto
If you’ve been tasked to bring along something a bit heavier and you’re comfortable in the kitchen, there’s nothing quite like a great risotto. The butternut squash adds a terrific seasonal twist to a proven potluck favorite.
Here’s what this recipe calls for,
2 cups of butternut squash, cubed
2 tablespoons butter
½ onion, minced
1 cup Arborio rice
1/3 cup dry white wine
5 cups chicken stock
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Begin by placing your squash within a steamer over a saucepan. Add some water and cover the squash, bringing it to boil over medium-high heat. You’ll want to steam the squash till tender, generally around 10 – 15 minutes. Afterward, drain the water and mash the tenderized squash in a separate bowl.
Place your butter in the saucepan and melt it over the same heat. Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes, making sure to stir until the onion softens – you don’t want to burn it. When beginning to cook, add the rice. Cook this mixture until the rice starts to glisten and the onion edges start to brown, generally an additional 5 minutes.
Carefully pour your white wine in, constantly stirring the mixture until it has completely evaporated. Stir in your freshly mashed squash and add 1/3 of the chicken stock. Reduce the heat and cook until the rice absorbs the chicken stock, typically around 5 -7 minutes.
Add the remaining chicken stock and continue to stir. Repeat the previous process, allowing the rice to soak and add your remaining chicken stock. The risotto should appear creamy before you add the Parmesan cheese and other seasonings.
Happy holidays to you and your potluck company!
This article was written and prepared by Tyler Thursby, a self-proclaimed foodie and contributing author for Crooked Manners.