This is a potluck recipe request from an auntie that I love dearly.
Potluck is a funny thing because it’s essentially playing food roulette. What ends up on the table is just luck of the draw. On a fortunate day, your friends will pulled out the big guns so you can sample their signature dishes. Otherwise, you’re stuck eating stale fried chicken or worse, microwaved canned corn (true story) after you’ve spent hours slaving over your own thoughtful dish.
When creating a potluck dish, I stick by these few rules:
- easy preparation
- retains texture and flavour when reheated/ chilled/ left at room temperature
- colourful and relatively attractive
- flavour gets better over time
- cheap to make in large quantities
- not fussy to transport
- free of allergy-prone ingredients
This hearty roasted vegetable salad satisfies all of my criteria. On the morning of, I simply cut, roast, and dress up the vegetables. They retain their texture and becomes tastier as they marinate in the dressing. I serve this salad at room temperature and my guests always go back for seconds. The best part that I can substitute the vegetables with whatever is in seasonal.
My other go-to recipes include: curry, shepherd’s pie, homemade pita chips and mango salsa, quinoa salad, mini quiches, polenta.
The no-go list: pasta salads that become dry and grainy over time, jello desserts, take-out of any form, and weepy salads (especially Caesar with soggy croutons).
Discussion: What’s your favourite potluck recipe?
Roasted fennel and kabocha vegetable salad in balsamic mustard vinaigrette
Time-saving hint: place the vegetables that take longer to cook (i.e. kabocha, followed by fennel and onion) into the preheated oven first while you prepare the softer vegetables (i.e. zucchini and peppers, herbs).
- 1 small kabocha pumpkin, cleaned and cubed
- 1 large fennel bulb, sliced thinly
- 1 large red onion, sliced thinly
- 2 small zucchinis, in chunks
- 3 bell peppers, sliced thinly
- 1 bunch green onions, chopped
- 1 bunch Italian parsley, chopped finely
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup grainy Dijon mustard
- 2 Tbs honey
- 1 Tbs dried oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 °F (200 °C)
- Place vegetables on baking sheets according to length of cooking time. I combine the onion and fennel, and the zucchini and peppers because they take the same amount of time to roast. Coat the vegetables with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Roast the vegetables until tender and golden brown. Toss them part way through the roasting to achieve even doneness. Approximate cooking time – Kabocha: 20 minutes. Onion and fennel: 15 minutes. Zucchini and peppers: 10 minutes.
- Combine the vinaigrette ingredients by shaking in a jar or with a blender.
- Remove vegetables and toss with vinaigrette when still warm. Taste and adjust seasonings. Garnish with the chopped parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Serves a small crowd.