I am constantly asked for party food ideas and potluck recipes. This time of year people are booked solid with graduations, family reunions, BBQs and patio parties, and it all kicks off this weekend with Memorial Day picnics.
- Quick and easy deli style broccoli salad with raisins, sunflower seeds and green onions.
- A modern twist on honey mustard salad dressing recipe with Greek yogurt and orange zest. Perfect over salads. May also be used as a sandwich spread, or a sweet & tangy dipping sauce.
- Very low in sodium, a good source of fiber and protein, and 2 Weight Watchers Points Plus per serving.
How to choose a winning party or potluck recipe:
I have a heart for feeding people. I like to be able to share my favorite foods with as many people as possible. I also like to show off the fun side of healthy eating.
To begin, I lean toward vegetarian recipes. When possible I consider if it can be made gluten-free. Finally I opt for ingredients that are full of fiber with a modest amount of protein. These later choices are part of my weight loss survival guide. I want to know there will be at least one dish that will fill my tummy if the healthy options are slim to non-existent.
Over the last few years, I have developed a few additional criteria for choosing party recipes:
- Get Excited: If you are looking forward to eating what you bring, it is easier to pass on the less healthy offerings.
- Wow Factor: Choose ingredients that add a pop of color or a burst of flavor with out adding calories.
- Make Ahead: Select a dish that will be great if made a day in advance so you aren’t scrambling at the last minute.
- Plays well with Others: Imagine your dish fitting easily with a variety of entrées (grilled meat, fish, casseroles, etc).
I give an honorable mention to “keep it simple.” Quick & easy are certainly a bonus but, when time allows, a party can be a great reason to make a little extra effort and step out of your usual routine.
In the case of this broccoli salad, however, we are going to achieve all of the above AND keep it delightfully simple!
The vibrant green broccoli jumps out from the usual sea of chips and bean dips. It has a unexpectedly enticing citrus scent. And, really, it is hard to go wrong with a creamy salad dressing. The dressing’s sweet citrus tang cuts through the usual bitter notes of fresh broccoli and cools any spicy barbecue sauce or salsa that may also be on the menu. The light cider vinegar acidity creates harmony when cuddled up to a scoop of sticky brown sugar baked beans.
Is this dish vegetarian? Yep! Is it gluten-free? Check! It is even free of nuts, if that is a concern. But, it is not what you leave out that makes this salad a star. This party ready salad is all about the goodies you have mixed in! Goodies that will probably result in whispers of, “who made this salad?” and nothing but an empty bowl to take home.
Creamy Broccoli Salad, you may be the perfect potluck food.
Recommended for this Recipe:
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- 8 cups chopped broccoli florets, yield from 1½ lbs
- ½ cup minced green onion, approximately 3-4 whole onions
- ½ cup raisins, lightly packed
- ¼ cup sunflower seed kernels, toasted without salt
- 1 cup creamy honey mustard dressing (see additional recipe)
- In large salad bowl, toss together the broccoli salad ingredients then pour over the prepared dressing and stir until the salad is fully coated with the dressing.
- The finished broccoli salad may be served immediately but, the flavors will be at their best when allowed to chill 4 hours up to overnight.
- ½ cup (4 oz) non-fat Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp coarse ground mustard
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp orange zest
- Whisk together ingredients. Chill until ready to serve.