Laura Berlinsky-Schine
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Move over, casseroles and mac n' cheese. Not that those dishes can't be delicious, of course, but sometimes your palette demands something cold — no matter what the season. Fortunately, these cold potluck ideas have you covered. Plus, they're all vegetarian, and some are vegan or have vegan alternatives. You'll find everything from hors d'oeuvres to healthy desserts, and many are extremely easy to prepare or cook. (You can whip of some of these dishes in as little as five minutes.)

Whether you're heading to a work retreat, hosting a birthday or family gathering, going to your book club, celebrating a holiday or picnicking in the park, these vegetarian crowd-pleasers should be on your to-make list — they'll win over even the most finicky of eaters.

25 Vegetarian cold potluck ideas

1. Potluck pasta salad

Source: Sweet Phi

Total prep and cook time: 1 hour 55 minutes

A classic potluck meal, this yummy pasta salad is packed with fresh veggies. Substitute your favorites, or head over to your local farmer's market and pick up whatever's in season.

Get the recipe.

2. Gluten-free veggie pizza

Source: The Real Food Dieticians

Total prep and cook time: 35 minutes

Far from authentic but absolutely delicious, this cold "pizza" has the added benefit of being gluten-free so everyone can enjoy it. It's easy to customize and make your own. Just swap in your favorite veggies and spices, and you've got a crowd-pleaser of a meal or appetizer.

Get the recipe.

3. Mediterranean quinoa

Source: tbsp.

Total prep and cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients like kalamata olives and feta cheese make this dish extra delicious. Plus, it's super healthy.

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4. The best guacamole

Source: Gimme Some Oven

Total prep and cook time: 10 minutes

Who doesn't love guacamole? This version of the classic crowd-pleaser is perfectly balanced and depends on the freshest ingredients, so make sure you stock up. Add in fruits like berries, apples and pomegranate seeds, cheeses, nuts and other ingredients to make it extra special. 

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5. Fresh mango salsa

Source: Cookie + Kate

Total prep and cook time: 15 minutes

Colorful and tangy, spicy and sweet, this delicious mango salsa can be served with tortilla chips, or you can eat it straight as a salad. It's super quick to prepare, too, and it's sure to be a hit at your next potluck.

Get the recipe.

6. Peanut slaw with soba noodles

Source: Cookie + Kate

Total prep and cook time: 25 minutes

Tossed in a mouthwatering sesame-ginger peanut-sesame sauce, peanut slaw is packed with veggies and full of flavor. The recipe is easy to alter depending on your preferences. It's also vegan if you use honey instead of maple syrup.

Get the recipe.

7. Stuffed cucumber bites

Source: Joe's Healthy Meals

Total prep and cook time: 30 minutes

Get fancy with this easy appetizer. Just look at them — won't the other guests be impressed? You can eat several without feeling guilty, too.

Get the recipe.

8. Tabbouleh

Source: Lil Vienna

Total prep and cook time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Tabbouleh is the perfect healthy meal or side dish — and it's sure to be a hit at your next potluck. You can make it ahead of time, since it needs two hours of refrigeration anyway (the actual prep time is minimal).

Get the recipe.

9. Caprese salad

Source: Skinny Taste

Total prep and cook time: 5 minutes

A true summer classic, Caprese salad demands fresh tomatoes. Summer months are ideal for finding them, but they'll also be in season well into September, too. Not only is this healthy and easy to make, but it's also a showstopper.

Get the recipe.

10. Pineapple & melon fruit salad with citrus mint dressing

Source: Certified Pastry Aficionado

Total prep and cook time: 2 hours 5 minutes

Refreshing, sweet and tangy, this fruit salad is the perfect dessert to end a satisfying potluck. Fruits like cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, pineapple, orange and grapefruit come together with some mint and hint of honey. 

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11. Chopped cauliflower broccoli salad with creamy avocado dressing

Source: Peas and Crayons

Total prep and cook time: 15 minutes

Up your salad game with this side dish or main event. It has all the flavor of a traditional pasta salad with fewer calories. Plus, the dressing keeps for four days in the refrigerator and retains its green color, provided you seal it tightly in a container. 

Get the recipe.

12. Rice paper rolls with mango and mint

Source: Vegan Heaven

Total prep and cook time: N/A

These are light, fresh, easy and fun to make and very healthy. Serve them with a sweet and spicy peanut butter dipping sauce (recipe is included in the instructions). P.S. Your friends will be super impressed, and you don't have to tell them how quick they were to make!

Get the recipe.

13. Apple cranberry feta pecan salad

Source: High Heels and Grills

Total prep and cook time: 5 minutes

All. The. Flavors. Perfect for fall, when apples are at their peak, but also delicious year-round, this salad never fails to delight with ingredients like cranberries and feta. It's also quick to make and looks amazing. Pair it with your favorite dressing.

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14. Pink pickled deviled eggs

Source: The Creative Bite

Total prep and cook time: 12 hours

The deep pink hue of these deviled eggs comes from pickling them in beet juice and vinegar. You may need to experiment with the pickling time — a longer period will give you a deeper color but a more vinegary taste.

Get the recipe.

15. Zucchini "pasta" salad with mozzarella and basil

Source: Cheap Recipe Blog

Total prep and cook time: 40 minutes

Swap out the pasta with spiralized zucchini for a healthy and delicious salad. You'll need a spiralizer, of course, but it's easy to find and use. If you want to make it as a vegan alternative, just omit the mozzarella. 

Get the recipe.

16. Creamy vegan onion garlic dip

Source: A Virtual Vegan

Total prep and cook time: 35 minutes

This creamy, flavorful dip is nut-free — it uses silken tofu instead of cashews. It's also loaded with flavor, thanks to the roasted garlic and caramelized onions. Serve it with your favorite dippers — tortilla chips or veggies like broccoli and carrots will do the trick!

Get the recipe.

17. Easy cowboy caviar

Source: Healthy Eats and Sweet Treats

Total prep and cook time: 5 minutes

You'll have this dip ready in no time at all. It has a nice kick thanks to the jalapenos and is a healthy crowd-pleaser. You can serve it with tortilla chips or pita, or you can just eat it as is.

Get the recipe.

18. Creamy delicatessen fruit salad

Source: Belly Full

Total prep and cook time: 15 minutes

This sweet fruit salad is a much healthier alternative to the cakes, cupcakes and cookies you typically might find at a potluck. Plus, it's quick and easy to make.

Get the recipe.

19. Lemon herb couscous salad

Source: Inspired Taste

Total prep and cook time: 20 minutes

Flavorful, colorful and healthy — it doesn't get better than this. The couscous salad works well as both a main dish or side dish. Use Israeli couscous for the tastiest results

Get the recipe.

20. Vegan mushroom and walnut pate

Source: It Doesn't Taste Like Chicken

Total prep and cook time: 30 minutes

The perfect snack to spread on bread or crackers, this mushroom and walnut pate is flavored with rosemary, garlic and parsley. It's a 100% vegan alternative to the fancy French spread, but even meat-eaters will enjoy it.

Get the recipe.

21. Easy pumpkin hummus

Source: Vegan Heaven

Total prep and cook time: 5 minutes (longer if you make your own pumpkin puree)

Now that Fall is here, why not try this pumpkin-flavored twist on a classic? Packed with protein, it also makes a bold presentation with its deep yellow-orange hue. Serve with chips, bread, crackers or veggies — and watch it disappear! (Who doesn't love a good hummus, after all?)

Get the recipe.

22. Farro salad with roasted eggplant, caramelized onion and pine nuts

Source: The Kitchn

Total prep and cook time: 45 minutes

If you're not familiar with farro, it's an ancient grain with a pleasant, chewy texture and a healthier alternative to pasta and rice, thanks to all the fiber it has. This flavorful dish has a satisfying kick thanks to a variety of hot peppers and is just a little sweet from the caramelized onions and balsamic vinegar. 

Get the recipe.

23. Fall harvest salad with maple tahini dressing

Source: Running on Real Food

Total prep and cook time: 45 minutes

Capitalize on seasonal Fall ingredients like brussel sprouts, squash, beets and apples to make this festive, flavorful salad with a rich and sweet yet tart dressing. The dish is also completely vegan.

Get the recipe.

24. Rainbow tortilla pinwheels

Source: A Side of Sweet

Total prep and cook time: 15 minutes

You can use a variety of vegetables in these, but the carrots, peppers and cabbage give them some nice visual appeal. They're a great vegetarian alternative to the deli-meat sandwiches you'll typically find at potlucks, and they're also tasty and healthy. You don't need to wait for a party, either: They make the perfect lunch, too.

Get the recipe.

25. Easy and healthy chocolate pudding

Source: PETA

Total prep and cook time: 5 minutes

Dessert time! And with four simple, healthy ingredients — avocados, unsweetened cocoa powder, agave nectar and vanilla extract — you can enjoy this treat guilt-free. And it's vegan. And super quick to make. Need I say more?

Get the recipe.

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