What should you take to a potluck held on the second weekend in January? It depends, of course, on what the hostess asks you to bring. I attended a Mother-Daughter lunch and we were asked to bring sides and desserts.
I’ve been to enough potlucks to know that unless you have a showstopping, award-winning dessert, don’t bring a dessert. There will be plenty of store-bought cheesecakes, mini cupcakes or muffins, and homemade brownies to feed a crowd three times the size that showed up. The only dessert that is entirely consumed is the blue ribbon cake/pie/cupcake/cookies that screams “eat me!”
Sides can be landmine to navigate as well. It’s safe to assume that someone will bring chips and dips, regardless of the main course. My friend was serving pulled pork and vegetarian lasagna. I knew some friends were bring green chile grits, chips and dip, and various desserts. My heart wanted to bring mac and cheese, but my head said no. It reminded me that one week earlier A LOT of people vowed to eat healthy and exercise more this year.
My sister is the queen of side dishes. I racked my brain for something she made that would be healthy and delicious. and remembered she makes a broccoli salad that is a shock to the senses. Or the tastbuds, at least.
It’s got grapes, broccoli, pasta, and red wine vinegar. And bacon! It’s the perfect balance of comfort food and health food. This is not a healthy side – it just looks like one. My goal was to come home with an empty bowl. Everyone had a little leftovers, even the ladies who brought fruits and veggies. I suppose that’s pretty typical of any potluck.
I changed the recipe slightly from my sister’s by substituting craisins for grapes. The craisins were leftover from holiday cooking. If you really want to be healthy, you can omit the pasta. You could probably even search the net for a healthier dressing.
Let me know if you have ideas for other healthy sides.
- 8 Ounces Farfelle Pasta
- 4-6 Slices Bacon
- 1 Broccoli Crown
- 2 Cups Grapes, Halved
- 1/3 Cup Red Onion, Diced
- 1/2 Cup Miracle Whip
- 1/2 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
- 1/3 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
- 1/2 Teaspoon Thyme
- 1 Tablespoon Sugar
- Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper
- 1/4 Cup Crushed Pecans
- Cut the broccoli head into peices.
- Cook pasta according to package directions. (Reused the broccoli water.)
- Cook bacon until crispy. Crumble and set aside.
- Mix together Miracle Whip, yogurt, vinegar, thyme, sugar, and salt & pepper.
- Rinse pasta until cool.
- Combine pasta, broccoli, and dressing.
- Top with bacon and pecans.