A vegan diet has been attributed to a slew of health benefits, including lower rates of heart disease and cancer, healthier guts, milder menopause, and lower stress levels, according to a 2016 piece in Time magazine. By sharing your favorite vegan potluck recipes with family and friends, you can host a fun and healthy gathering that will leave everyone energized and inspired.
Sometimes the hardest part about adopting a plant-based lifestyle is the perceived need to abandon communal get-togethers that revolve around a social dining experience—even though many popular dishes are naturally meat- and dairy-free. Take matters into your own hands, and host a party this summer season with vegan potluck recipes that will please everyone (even the carnivores) in attendance.
Veggie Tray with Hummus
If you’re new to plant-based partying, keep it simple. Easy vegan recipes can be as effortless as assembling a fresh veggie platter, just like you would for any backyard barbecue. Choose your favorite veggies—I like baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, fresh broccoli, and snap peas—and serve with a delicious hummus. You can purchase any number of store-bought brands to keep things really easy, or you can opt to make your own homemade hummus variety. Either way, this tasty appetizer will have something for everyone!
One of my favorite vegan potluck dishes is a take on the classic six-layer dip. Start with a can of vegan refried beans (many popular brands are naturally vegan, so just be sure to read the label to confirm no animal byproducts are listed), top with corn chips, guacamole, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and green onions, and you have six layers of luscious flavors that will have your guests lining up for more. Serve with additional corn chips or tortillas, and enjoy at your family’s next cookout.
- 1 can refried beans
- 1 cup corn chips, crushed
- 1 cup guacamole
- 1 cup shredded lettuce
- 1 cup tomatoes, chopped
- ½ cup green onions, chopped
In the following order, place the beans, chips, guacamole, lettuce, tomatoes, and green onions into a large bowl. Chill in the fridge until you’re ready to serve it.
Pasta salad is another crowd-pleasing potluck dish that’s already vegan, so your guests will feel at ease with this tasty comfort food. Cooked rotini pasta makes a great base as its spiral shape helps hold a burst of flavor in each bite.
Your ingredients are:
- 1 lb. rotini pasta, cooked
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup cucumber, chopped
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- ½ cup green onions, chopped
- 1 bottle vegan Italian dressing
Cook the pasta per the directions on the box, then drain, and place into a large bowl. Add all of the other ingredients, and toss until the salad dressing is coating everything evenly. You can serve right away or make it ahead of time to chill in the refrigerator overnight.
Focaccia Bread with Fresh Arugula
This delicious focaccia bread dish has the appeal of pizza without all the excess fat, calories, and animal products. Add some arugula to the top for a peppery bite of freshness that’s all natural.
To begin, gather these ingredients:
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 1 cup fresh arugula
Coat a baking sheet with olive oil. Combine all of the remaining ingredients into a mixer, and mix until fully incorporated. Pour dough out onto the baking sheet, and use your hands to spread it out until it’s approximately ½-inch thick. Place in an oven preheated to 425 degrees Fahrenheit for fifteen minutes. Rotate the pan, and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Top with fresh arugula, and cut into bite-sized squares to serve.
One of the best ways to ease into a vegan lifestyle is by making the process fun and manageable. Hosting jovial get-togethers and serving delicious dishes that use familiar, crowd-pleasing ingredients—rather than items like tofu, tempeh, and seitan, that may make traditional diners uneasy—will help you on your journey to a healthy, happy, plant-based life.
What are some of your favorite easy vegan recipes? Let us know with a #GoodMatters tweet!
This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.