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4th of July Potluck

4th of July Potluck 

Herby Cauliflower Chick Pea Salad

This is a great little number to whip up ahead of time for a potluck side. The flavors tend to deepen and marinate into a blissful bite of yumminess when laid to rest in the fridge for a bit. It’s nice to bring something that not only can hold up without refrigeration, but is healthy and delicious too. 


  1. 1 medium cauliflower washed and cut up into mini florets
  2. 1 (15oz) can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  3. ½-1 cup fresh chopped herbs…your choice of, parsley, cilantro, mint, or dill. 
  4. ½ cup finely chopped red onion
  5. 2 cloves of garlic
  6. 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  7. the juice of one lemon
  8. ¼ cup of olive oil
  9. salt and pepper to taste
  10. ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  11. ¼ teaspoon cumin

Wash, and cut your cauliflower up into cute tiny little florets. Toss them in ½ teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of black pepper. Add the chickpeas, chopped herbs of your choice, and the diced red onions to the same bowl with the cauliflower and set aside. In a small bowl mix the remaining ingredients and a pinch of salt until creamy. Pour your dressing over your bowl of ingredients and toss it until everything is evenly coated. Tah-dah, you’re done. Easy peasy. This salad can be eaten right away, but there is nothing quite like the next day. All the flavors come together and make it even better on day two. It will keep in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to five days.

Kale and Red Cabbage Salad

Salads are always easy dishes to bring to potlucks. If everyone brings a different kind of salad, you could end up with a beautiful colorful plate of delicious flavors. There are pasta salads, quinoa salads, bean salads, green salads, and so, so many more. I personally love to bring green salads to potlucks, but those can be tricky, often becoming soggy and wilted by the time you get to it. That is why this kale and red cabbage salad is so perfect for potlucks. The Kale is able to withstand a beating and still look and taste fresh and crisp hours later. Cabbage adds color and a slightly sweet crunchy flavor that makes it even better. This salad comes together in minutes and is a great go to time saver. I often get asked about it…people find it hard to believe that such simple ingredients make such a tasty salad.


  1. 1 bunch of common curly, lacinato, or red Russian kale
  2. about 3 cups of red cabbage chopped up
  3. 4-5 large cloves of garlic crushed
  4. 1 large lemon
  5. ¼ cup olive oil
  6. Salt to taste, approx. ½ teaspoon
  7. ½ cup pumpkin seeds or pine nuts roasted
  8. ½ cup dried cranberries (optional)

First, wash the kale and remove the stems. Put all of the leafy parts of the kale into a large bowl. Squeeze the juice of one lemon on top of the kale. Pour in the olive oil, 4-5 cloves of crushed garlic, and sprinkle the salt into the bowl. Now, it’s time to get a little messy, but this is the best way to soften the kale, and help the flavors start to marinate. Wash your hands, and massage all of the ingredients together. Rip up the leaves and mash everything roughly to really help soften things up. When everything seems well combined, add your chopped red cabbage, and roasted seeds or nuts, and mix it all together, and give it a taste. Adjust the salt and perhaps add more lemon juice if needed. Simple, easy, super healthy, and travels well…I love this stuff!

Polenta Casserole

A contribution to our Potluck dishes by Claire Chapman

This hearty potluck addition is packed with nutrition. Melted cheese and marinara sauce lure people into eating loads of veggies. Photo by Claire Chapman

This hearty dish is a great complement to side salads and barbecue, but it is also filling enough to be a standalone meal. Creamy polenta is poured over a ratatouille-like vegetable base, then topped with marinara sauce and cheese. Once assembled, it is baked in the oven for about 30 minutes. 

Polenta is gluten-free and this dish is easily made vegan when the cheese is left off. It’s also fun to take this recipe south of the border and make the vegetable base more like fajita veggies, with salsa substituted for the marinara, and a cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese topping. In this case, the polenta can be prepared with cheese and green chiles mixed directly into it. Play around with it! This recipe lends itself to creativity and also lets you use whatever you might have on hand.

This dish uses summer veggies when they are at their peak: zucchini, eggplant, and tomatoes. Of course, fresh tomatoes can be substituted for the canned tomatoes, allowing this to reflect the bounty of a summer garden. Photo by Claire Chapman


olive oil to coat the pan

one onion diced

six cloves of garlic sliced

one 28 oz can of whole tomatoes diced (liquid reserved)

one bay leaf

one eggplant cubed

three zucchinis chopped

one tablespoon of fresh oregano (one teaspoon dried)

one tablespoon of fresh thyme (one teaspoon dried)

salt and pepper to taste

1 ½ cups of polenta (yellow corn grits)

marinara sauce to cover (about 1 ½ cups)

one cup of grated cheese (Mozzarella, or Italian cheese blend)

optional parmesan can be added

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Saute the onion in olive oil until a bit translucent. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add the diced tomatoes and bay leaf. As the sauce simmers, add eggplant and zucchini, herbs, salt and pepper. Add liquid from canned tomatoes as needed. When the veggies are cooked to your liking, transfer them to the bottom of a 9 x 12 baking dish.

Prepare 1 ½ cups of polenta (yellow corn grits) according to package directions, salt and season to your liking. Pour the cooked polenta over the vegetable base. Top with your favorite marinara sauce and cheese. Bake uncovered in the oven for about 30 minutes, until the cheese is slightly golden brown. 

Allow to cool for 10 minutes or so before serving and enjoy!

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1 Comment

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