Everyone has heard of “Bring your Child to Work Day.” For Meatless Monday advocates, April 7th could be called “Bring Your Veggies to Work Day.” Next Monday marks the start of National Public Health Week, an initiative of the American Public Health Association (APHA). This year, the APHA has recommended holding community-wide Meatless Monday events to encourage individuals to learn about the benefits of a plant-based diet and how delicious vegetarian cuisine can be. So why not use the occasion to get your local community or co-workers together for a Meatless Monday-themed potluck? It’s a great opportunity to come together and spread the word about the movement, and you’re likely to discover a few new favorite recipes in the process.
If you’ll be hosting your event in an office or community center with limited kitchen access, keep in mind the following tips for a safe and successful potluck everyone will enjoy:
1. Get organized: Pick a date, time and location. Email your participants and ask everyone to sign up for a main dish, salad, side dish, dessert or beverage so you’ll have a nice mix of offerings. Encourage some attendees to choose dishes that can be served cold to minimize the need for everyone to use the office microwave at once.
2. Keep in mind that prepared dishes shouldn’t be without refrigeration for more than four hours: Check with whomever is responsible for clearing out the office fridge regularly to make sure there will be enough space on the day of your event. If possible, post a sign stating that the fridge will be cleared on Friday afternoon to make room for Monday’s meal.
3. Have some large microwave-safe glass or ceramic dishes available: Attendees may want to transport their dishes in plastic or aluminum, but for those who do bring dishes that must be heated, glass and ceramic are considered safest for microwave use.
4. Remember that peanuts and tree nuts, milk, eggs, wheat and soy are the most common food allergens: Have post-its or tent cards available for attendees to use to label their dishes and list potential allergens. Encourage each contributor to include their name on the label so that those who enjoy the dish can ask for the recipe!
Looking for inspiration on just what to cook? Some of our favorite recipes are perfect for feeding a crowd:
–Packed with spring flavors, this lemon mint quinoa salad is easy to transport and can be served cold.
–A classy take on the casserole, this dish comes together quickly and is a popular way to feed a crowd.
–This version of a pasta salad uses flavorful pesto in place of mayonnaise and is excellent cold.
–This addictive creamy dip is dairy-free and makes for an interesting side. Serve with pita or small slices of bread.
–The current darling of vegetarian cuisine, this salad is sure to be a hit with all your participants.