A perfectly healthy potluck

Social gatherings are synonymous with holiday weekends, and with any social function come tables full of indulgent, delicious desserts, dips and casseroles. If you’re trying to make smarter food choices, an arsenal of tried-and-true healthful recipes is just what you need to keep your star chef status, but still feel great after the last bite is devoured. We invited two Dieticians from Parkview Physicians Group – Cardiology to share some of their go-to favorites for crowd-pleasing summer fare (with less of the guilt).

Asian Broccoli Slaw
Dietitian/Coordinator Wellness and Marketing Sarah Mohrman, RDN, CD, MA

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1 (12-16 ounce) package broccoli slaw
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced into bite-size pieces
1 cup cooked and shelled edamame
2 medium scallions, finely sliced
1/2 cup chopped salted peanuts (or you can leave them whole)
1/2 cup loosely packed chopped fresh cilantro
8 tablespoon light Asian Sesame Ginger dressing

1. Combine all of the slaw ingredients in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss well. Let the slaw sit for at least 10 minutes, so the vegetables have a chance to soak up the dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.  Serve cold. 


Cucumber-Avocado Salsa
Dietitian/Coordinator Wellness and Marketing Sarah Mohrman, RDN, CD, MA

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1 medium English cucumber, seeded and diced (about 2 cups)
2 medium firm ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
½ red onion, diced
Juice of 2 limes (about ¼ cup)
Salt, to taste
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped (adjust to taste)

1. Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl and toss gently to combine.
Serve within an hour of preparing.


Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Sara Bennett, RDN, CD, CDM, CFPP

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1 cup uncooked quinoa
Salt, to taste
2 cups water
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1/4 cup (about 10) kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
2 cups English cucumber, peeled and diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 - 3/4 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup crumbled feta
Fresh pepper, to taste

1. Rinse quinoa for about 2 minutes. Fill a medium pot with water, add quinoa and salt to taste and bring to a boil. When the water boils, reduce heat to low and cover; simmer covered for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and keep covered an additional 5 minutes without lifting the lid; then fluff with a fork and set aside in a large mixing bowl to cool.
2. While the quinoa cools, dice all the vegetables. Add them to the cooled quinoa, and squeeze 1/2 lemon over it.  
3. Drizzle the olive oil over the quinoa, then add feta, salt and pepper to taste and toss well. Taste for salt and lemon juice and adjust as needed.

Blueberry Oatmeal Cookies
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Sara Bennett, RDN, CD, CDM, CFPP

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1 cup instant quick cook oats
¾ cup whole-wheat flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons margarine (melted)
1 egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup honey
¼ cup dried blueberries

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the margarine, egg and vanilla. Stir in honey until thoroughly incorporated. Add in the flour mixture, stirring just until incorporated. Fold in the blueberries. Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes. 
3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
4. Drop the cookie dough into 15 round scoops on the baking sheet.
5. Bake for 13-15 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for at least 15 minutes before turning them onto a baking rack.


Quinoa and Black Bean Salad
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Sara Bennett, RDN, CD, CDM, CFPP

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2 cups quinoa
3½ cups water
1 cup chopped cilantro
5 green onions, sliced
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 small red bell pepper, diced small
2 cup cooked black beans

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt

1. For the Salad, place quinoa and water in a medium pot. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Remove cooked quinoa from pot, place in a large bowl, let cool.
2. Combine olive oil, lime juice, cumin and salt in a small bowl. Whisk together and pour over cooled quinoa. Toss well with fork.
3. Add cilantro, green onions, jalapeno pepper, red bell pepper and black beans then toss again.


Chocolate Chip Cookies (gluten free/egg free)
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Sara Bennett, RDN, CD, CDM, CFPP

1 cup pitted dates
1 cup boiling water
½ olive oil
¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups brown rice flour
½ cup tapioca flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup (or more) chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place pitted dates in small bowl and cover with boiling water. Let this stand for 10-15 minutes, then place soaked dates and water into a blender and puree.
3. Scoop out date puree with a rubber spatula and place into a bowl. Add olive oil, sugar, and vanilla. Whisk together.
4. In a separate bowl, mix together the brown rice flour, tapioca flour, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix together with a fork or wooden spoon. Fold in chocolate chips.
5. Drop dough by the spoonful onto a greased cookie sheet. Gently flatten each cookie with the back of a spoon.
6. Bake for 10-13 minutes. (Baking time will depend on the size of the cookies.) Let cool completely.


Spinach and Artichoke Dip
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Sara Bennett, RDN, CD, CDM, CFPP

9 ounces frozen spinach
1 can artichoke hearts
8 ounces reduced fat cream cheese
3/4 cup part skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup skim milk
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
Baked tortilla chips, to serve

1. Combine ingredients in slow cooker.
2. Cook on high for 2 hours.
3. Stir ingredients occasionally to combine.
4. Serve with baked tortilla chips and enjoy.


Mediterranean Layered Hummus Dip
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Sara Bennett, RDN, CD, CDM, CFPP

8 ounces. hummus
1 tomato, diced
½ cup diced cucumber
½ cup nonfat Greek yogurt
⅛ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon paprika
2 canned artichoke hearts, chopped
2 roasted red peppers (4 halves), diced
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
Kalamata olives, chopped (optional), for garnish
Fresh vegetables, pita chips or crackers, to serve

1. In an 8-by-8-inch square serving dish, spread the hummus evenly on the bottom. Layer the tomatoes and cucumber over top.
2. Dollop the yogurt over the vegetables, then gently spread with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle the yogurt with salt and paprika.
3. On top of the yogurt, layer the artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers and feta cheese. Sprinkle the parsley over top and garnish with olives.
4. Serve with fresh vegetables, pita chips or crackers.

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