The English poet Thomas Nashe first coined the word “potluck” in the 1500s to reference food shared with an unexpected guest (i.e. the luck of the pot). Today, we all enjoy potlucks during the holiday season. Not only is sharing a meal with friends and family a great way to try new flavors, but spending time with friends and our community is a proven way to boost our immunity and our health. If you’re heading to a potluck or party this December, try one of the following delicious (and immune-boosting!) shareable meals.
SHAREABLE FOR SMALL CELEBRATIONS: Spinach and Mushroom Crustless Quiche
The humble quiche originated in Lorraine, France, but today the dish is enjoyed worldwide as a hot or cold meal served at any time of the day. Its versatility makes it ideal for shareable meals for up to five or six people, whether you’re meeting for brunch in your living room or for a mid-afternoon snack in the park.
This authentic, down-to-earth quiche recipe is rich in protein and fiber. Mushrooms impart a subtle, meaty flavor to this vegetarian-friendly tart, and also unique antioxidants (such as selenium) that studies suggest may guard against health problems like cancer and heart disease. Spinach adds vital, essential minerals and vitamins (e.g. iron), and garlic offers immune cell-protecting antioxidants.
1 8-ounce package of crimini or button mushrooms
1 clove garlic, minced
1 10-ounce package of frozen spinach, thawed
4 large eggs
1 cup milk (or non-dairy milk alternative)
2 oz. feta cheese (or plant-based feta alternative)
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated (or nutritional yeast for a vegan alternative)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella (or plant-based mozzarella alternative)
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
While the oven is heating up, press the spinach with some paper towels to get rid of the excess water, and wash and slice the mushrooms.
Saute the mushrooms, garlic and salt and pepper in a skillet until fragrant (approximately five minutes).
Grease a 9-inch oven-safe pie dish. Add the spinach, then the sauteed mushrooms. Top with the feta cheese.
In a bowl, whisk the Parmesan, milk and eggs and pour into the pie dish.
Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella on top and place in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes or until the quiche is golden brown and firm to the touch.
SHAREABLE FOR MEDIUM-SIZED PARTIES: Loaded Veggie Nachos
When it comes to entertaining, you simply can’t go wrong with nachos. As shareable meals go, nachos lend themselves perfectly to everything from a casual tailgate party to a more formal appetizers-and-wine gathering. And because you have full freedom in terms of the types of chips you use, and the toppings you add, you can customize it to your liking (or the dietary or taste preferences of your guests).
The iteration below is heavy on antioxidant-rich veggies and herbs, such as radishes. Never had a radish in your nachos before? It adds surprising crunch and spice, and it contains a fascinating plant-based compound called isothiocyanates that helps your body to flush out cancer-causing toxins and may even kill cancer cells.
Other standout ingredients include red bell peppers (a source of vitamin A), beans (high in fiber, protein and immune-supporting minerals like magnesium), guacamole (rich in healthy fats that are good for reducing inflammation) and cilantro (a powerful detox herb). Make sure you use whole grain tortilla chips, which ensures you get the full spectrum of B vitamins and other healthy nutrients.
Think of this recipe as a jumping-off point, and let your imagination go wild.
1 medium-sized bag of whole grain tortilla chips
1 15-ounce can of pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup each of shredded cheddar cheese and shredded Monterey Jack cheese (or your favorite plant-based cheese alternative)
1 red bell pepper, washed and diced
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (or your favorite plant-based cheese alternative)
1/2 cup of pickled jalapeños
1 cup guacamole (store bought or homemade)
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 radishes, sliced into thin slivers
1 tbsp cilantro, chopped
Your favorite mild or spicy salsa
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Line a baking pan with parchment paper and pour a layer of chips onto it. Scatter an even amount of beans, cheese, bell pepper, crumbled feta and spicy peppers. Add another layer of chips and repeat until all the ingredients are used up.
Bake in your oven for 10 minutes or until the edges of the chips are golden brown and toasty, and the cheese is melted and bubbling.
Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool for a couple of minutes before topping with guacamole, green onion, radishes and cilantro. Serve with your favorite salsa.
SHAREABLE FOR BIG GATHERINGS: One-Pot Slow Cooker Chili
This slow cooker recipe feeds a crowd (literally), and is also one of the easiest shareable meals to prepare. Because the chili is prepped in a slow cooker, most of the heavy lifting in the cooking process is completely hands-off, and the resulting chili is robust in flavor with surprising layers of subtle changes in every spoonful.
One thing you’ll immediately notice is the use of dark cocoa powder. An unconventional ingredient, the cocoa brings this chili to life and also adds extremely potent plant-based polyphenols that may help with everything from inflammation to improved cardiovascular health. All the other ingredients also impart immune-boosting, health-enhancing benefits, from fiber that enhances your gut health, to tomatoes that are rich in antioxidants like lycopene.
This recipe serves 10 to 12 people and can easily be doubled (or even tripled, depending on the capacity of your slow cooker!).
1 Tbsp olive oil (or your favorite plant oil)
2 lbs lean ground beef (or a plant-based ground beef alternative)
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 14.5-ounce cans of diced tomatoes
3 8-ounce cans of tomato sauce
1/2 cup veggie, chicken or beef broth
2 tbsp chili powder (less or more depending on your spice tolerance)
2 1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp smoked paprika
3 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp ground coriander
Salt and pepper to taste
2 15-ounce cans of dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can of light red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Saute the onion in a frying pan with oil for a couple of minutes, then add the garlic and saute for another few seconds until fragrant. Add to your slow cooker.
In the same skillet, saute the beef or plant-based ground “beef” until browned and cooked through. Add to your slow cooker.
Pour the remaining ingredients (except for the canned beans) into the slow cooker, stir to mix thoroughly, then cook with the lid on for five to six hours on your slow cooker’s lower heat setting.
When it is done, remove the cooker and add the canned beans. Once warmed through, enjoy!