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5 Easy Potluck Side Dish Recipes!

It's the end of summer: The days are getting shorter, the weathers cooling down, and the Labor Day picnics are quickly approaching... along with our own "Widow(er) Picnic Potluck Meetup", taking place on August 29th (RSVP here)!

Even more, tomorrow is "National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day"-- so to celebrate all of the upcoming events & holidays, we thought this would be the perfect time to share some easy picnic potluck recipes!

It's tough to find something that is easy/economical to make & pleases the crowd (especially the picky eaters!) so we thought we'd give some suggestions for recipes that are quick, delicious & cheap!

1. BLT Dip

When I think of a summertime picnic, I think of the classic Bacon, Lettuce & Tomato sandwich. Personally, I make "BBTA's" instead of "BLT's"-- made with crispy (nearly burned) bacon, fresh basil, tomatoes from my backyard and some creamy avocado-- topped off with a spicy aioli dressing instead of plain mayonnaise, for a nice "kick".

Even though they're a classic staple for the summer, BLT sandwiches aren't always the best for potlucks because people don't necessarily want a full sandwich when there are so many other dishes to try. For something more shareable (yet equally as tasty), try out this BLT dip (recipe found here)!

The main ingredients are cream cheese, sour cream, mayo, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes & spices, and it's recommended that the dip is served with crispy crostini for a sandwich-like experience.

2. Not-Your-Normal Fruit Salad

This fruit salad offers an unusual twist on the classic dish by combining summertime fruits and herbs like peaches, strawberries, blueberries, basil & a delicious balsamic dressing. The recipe can be found here. Do you want to know the best thing about this dish? Using maple syrup instead of honey gives it a unique flavor, offers lower sodium and higher calcium, & ensures that the dish is vegan so those with dietary restrictions can enjoy it, too!

If you don't like some of these fruits, consider using another combination of summer fruits and herbs, like mangos, papayas, blackberries and mint, for another tasty twist!

3. Asian Coleslaw

I don't think I've ever been to a potluck that didn't have coleslaw. It's a staple-- when you think of American BBQ side-dishes, you think of mac & cheese, cornbread, baked beans & coleslaw-- yet it's a very basic dish and in my experience, it usually goes untouched at potlucks because there are so many other unique dishes for guests to try.

This coleslaw is everything-but-ordinary-- it combines asian flare with the crunchy classic, resulting in something that is recognizable, but also exciting & new. You can also sub-out a vegetable ramen variety instead of the "chicken-flavored ramen", for the same flavor without the meat!

4. Avocado, Tomato, Cucumber & Corn Salad

This recipe only has 4 main ingredients-- diced avocado, cucumber, cherry tomatoes & corn kernels-- and is dressed with an easy mixture of EVOO, lemon juice & spices. It's wicked easy & only takes 5 minutes to prepare, but it's oh-so-delicious and offers many health benefits.

"Avocados offer nearly 20 vitamins and minerals in every serving, including potassium (which helps control blood pressure), lutein (which is good for your eyes), and folate (which is crucial for cell repair and during pregnancy)" (Source).

There are so many variants of the recipe, but you can find one version here.

5. Slow-cooker Vegetarian Baked Beans

These baked beans are great because you don't have to turn on your oven or stovetop in the middle of the summer, so you can keep your house cool in this hot weather. Even more-- everyone can enjoy them (even your vegetarian friends), since they don't have bacon!

To prepare the dish, you just throw all of the ingredients into the crockpot and let it cook for 7-8 hours while you relax. The full recipe can be found here. If you don't have the time, a canned version will do-- you can even add your own seasonings for your own twist.

6. Premade options

If you don't feel like preparing your own recipe, your local grocery store probably has pre-made options like:

  1. Hummus & pita chips (This is great if you have any friends who are vegan/vegetarian)

  2. Guacamole & tortilla chips (Again-- great for vegans/vegetarians)

  3. Potato chips & onion dips

  4. Potato Salad

  5. Macaroni Salad

  6. Rotisserie Chicken

  7. Fried Chicken

The possibilities are really endless! For more easy recipes, check out our other blogs:

Don't forget to RSVP to our upcoming "End of Summer Picnic Potluck Widow(er) Meetup" here & see you soon!

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