Summer's Best Potluck Dish: Three Bean Salad

Garlic Zucchini, Sweet Corn & Shrimp Salad in white bowl with seafoam green rim set against a dark wood table
Summertime Sides for the 4th (Or Any Al Fresco Potluck)

Sometimes, you just need a good side dish. And when you’re heading to a party during the summer months, things like potato salad, pasta salad, slaw and anything with heirloom tomatoes are always appropriate, and always welcome. But don’t just bring the same old traditional version you’ve made before- Zest it up with flavor! We’re including 4 new faves. After one bite they’ll be asking for the recipe.

Plus, what’s a party without dessert. I’ve also included my spin on everyone’s favorite old-school frosted brownies, which I’ve streamlined to a one bowl process, and also updated to have a touch more sophistication.

Here’s to summer!

Creamy Feta Potato Salad

I’ve never been a huge mayo fan, but I love a good potato salad and have come up with a mayo-free version that delivers big on flavor. Mashing feta cheese into plain Greek yogurt with a little garlic and lemon creates a creamy, and relatively healthy dressing for boiled potatoes that may just become your favorite new way to potato. Look for feta cheese that comes packaged in brine, instead of a container of pre-crumbled cheese, which will be too dry for this application.
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Caesar Slaw

The truth is, I use this egg-free Caesar dressing on all sorts of things, from romaine to potatoes to kale. But one of my favorite ways to use it is on shredded cabbage, which retains its hydrating crunch in every bite and is the perfect foil for the sharp flavors of the dressing. Instead of croutons, I like to top this with canned crispy onions. Scatter them on the salad just at the end so they don’t lose their crunch.
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Chilled Heirloom Tomatoes & Potstickers with Sesame Ginger Sauce

The idea to pair potstickers with fresh tomatoes in a salad comes from Hetty Lui McKinnon, who has authored several successful cookbooks on vegetarian and vegan cooking. Though here, I’ve taken it in a different direction with a ginger tahini vinaigrette, which I love for its bold and slightly sweet flavor. I figured out a way to make this ahead of time, which allows it to be a perfect potluck side dish. You can choose meat or veggie dumplings per your preference.
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Garlic Zucchini, Sweet Corn & Shrimp Salad

Using raw corn against the roasted garlicky zucchini brings out the sweetness in the kernels, and provides the most excellent texture to this simple salad. Three main ingredients and a quick dressing make short work for this dish. After it is assembled, the longer it sits, the more the vegetables will soften, which isn’t a bad thing, just different than if you served it immediately. Look for small, wild shrimp for this salad. I often find them in the freezer section, peeled and deveined for extra simplicity.
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And for dessert…

Old School Fudgy Frosted Brownies

In 1989, I was gifted the Hershey’s chocolate baking cookbook for my birthday. The page with the most stains on it is the fudgy frosted brownies. They always reminded me of a smaller Texas sheet cake, which is probably why they were my favorite recipe from the book. Moist, dense, and very chocolatey, they are easy to put together and an excellent dish to bring to a potluck. I’ve adapted the recipe slightly from the original Hershey's to make the brownies a little more dense and fudgy. I highly recommend not skipping the flaky salt on top. It works beautifully with the chocolate and offsets the sweetness.
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