5 Healthy Dish-to-Pass Ideas for Your Summer Cookout or Potluck
Summer is here, which means that you are probably going to be spending a little more time with family, friends, and coworkers at potlucks, cookouts, and other seasonal events. This is the time of year that we are able to cook and gather outside — so invitations will often include a note to arrive with a “dish to pass.”
As you prepare your contribution, you may find yourself considering the variety of dietary restrictions and personal preferences/needs related to food for your comrades. If you are struggling with ideas about what to bring — keep reading — because we are breaking down five healthy summer recipes for your convenience that are suitable (and versatile) for any cookout or potluck.
Healthy Family Style Bakes
One of the easiest recipes to prepare for a potluck or cookout is a family style bake. These dishes can usually be prepared in a single pot, which makes it easy for you and your busy schedule. Additionally, producing a meal for your next potluck shouldn’t make your kitchen a mess, so these one-pot-wonders are a convenient way to skip the heap that sometimes comes with cooking.
What you make doesn’t have to be filled with unhealthy ingredients, either. Oftentimes, people will regard casseroles or bakes as having an overwhelming number of calories or fatty foods. However, there are a number of recipes that exist that are not only low on the caloric scale but can be tweaked to accommodate a number of dietary restrictions.
When transporting your family style bake, simply put it in a baking dish that has a lid on it. A baking dish with a lid is the easiest method of getting your savory, baked dish from point A to point B — no fuss, no mess.
Here is some healthy family style bakes recipes that we tried, loved and recommend:
Dips are another great, potluck-friendly recipe option. Making dips “healthier” is also an easy option if you include just a few substitutions in your recipe (e.g., using a light mayonnaise or Greek yogurt for a recipe that calls for mayonnaise or sour cream).
You also have the option to pair these dips with low-calorie, low-carb veggies (as opposed to or in addition to bread or crackers). You can either create a veggie (or fruit) platter to go with your dip or buy one pre-made from the store. Celery, carrots, grape tomatoes, cauliflower, cucumbers, broccoli, snap peas or even bok choy are all vegetables to consider as you prepare your pairings. Don’t be afraid to stray from something traditional and include less common items in your vegetable tray.
For easy transportation of these dips to your potluck, consider preparing them in your slow cooker, a baking dish, or in a reusable food storage container (depending on the consistency of your dip).
Also, consider the number of dairy alternatives that exist on the market today. If you need to cater to a Vegan or non-dairy crowd, you can substitute just about anything. Here are some healthy (and tasty!) dip recipes to try:
- Spinach-and-Artichoke Dip
- Five-Cheese Pimento Cheese Dip
- Baked Three-Cheese Onion Dip with Chive and Pepperoncini
One of the most common, go-to recipes for a healthy dish to pass is a salad. But, just because it is common doesn’t mean it has to be ordinary. You can make them as simple as you’d like, but you can create some elaborate and delicious salads with just a few extra ingredients.
When transporting a salad, be sure to keep any soggy/wet ingredients away from more dry ingredients. You don’t want to serve soggy lettuce, so keep things like any salad dressing or watery veggies like tomatoes in a separate container. When you are ready to serve, you can combine all of your ingredients into one bowl.
Here are some fun salad recipes to try:
- Red, White & Blue Cheese Cobb Salad
- Mexican Street Corn Salad
- Grilled Peach Salad With Baby Arugula, Pistachios, And Lemony Yogurt Dressing
Burgers With A Twist
While traditional burgers can be greasy and slightly unhealthy, there are some ways to create a tasty and more health-friendly burger. Instead of going with a traditional beef burger, consider leaner meat like turkey or salmon, or maybe even a non-meat option like black beans or quinoa. You could even buy pre-made burger patties in advance and bring them in a cooler to the cookout for the host to throw on the grill!
Transporting burgers can be a little more difficult than your average dish, but not impossible. If you’ll have access to a grill, either at home or an event, form the patties at home and store them in an airtight container between pieces of parchment paper. If you don’t have access to a grill, cook them first, and then put them in a container like a baking dish for easy transport and warm them up when you arrive.
Here are some easy burger-with-a-twist recipes:
- Smoked Salmon Burger with Lemon Aioli
- Spicy Turkey Burger with Avocado Shallot Relish
- Simple Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers
Everyone loves to finish a meal with a wonderful dessert, but you don’t have to overindulge to be able to enjoy! There are plenty of healthy, restriction-friendly dessert recipes that exist, you just have to seek them out, or create your own.
When transporting desserts, you want to be careful because they usually include ingredients that melt relatively easy. Make sure you add a cover on top of your desserts and put them somewhere cool when you get to your potluck or cookout destination.
Here are some healthy desserts you can try: