Being a vegan can be a challenge, especially when you're in a social circle where so many people are not. Often you're invited to parties and special events, you're asked to bring something along, but you're not sure exactly what to bring. You love your food choices and you want to share so you want to make sure that everyone will find your selections worth trying. Here are 5 vegan recipes perfect for a potluck.

1.) Barley Salad With Almonds and Apricots

The first of the 5 vegan recipes perfect for a potluck is a Middle-Eastern salad. It provides a little sweetness and blends well with hummus or tabbouli. You can usually find the barley at most supermarkets so you shouldn't have to go to a specialty store to get anything.

  • Pearl barley – 1 cup (pot barley may be used as a substitute)
  • Olive oil – 1 teaspoon
  • Red onion – 1 (large) sliced and quartered
  • Dried apricots (moist) – 3/4 cup
  • Slivered almonds – 1/2 cup
  • Fresh parsley (minced) – 1 cup

You have the option of using soy yogurt or coconut for the dressing.

  • Agave nectar – 1 tablespoon
  • Juice from 1 or 1/2 lemon
  • Cinnamon – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Cumin – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Nutmeg – just a pinch

2.) Pasta Salad with Parsley Pesto and Squash

Pasta salads are always a favorite at potlucks. They're easy to make and go well with grilled veggies. Here's what you'll need.

  • 1 packed cup of parsley leaves
  • Several basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts or 1/2 cup walnut halves
  • lemon juice to taste
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 ounces penne pasta
  • 2 medium zucchinis, quartered lengthwise and sliced
  • 1 medium yellow squash
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 scallions, sliced
  • salt, pepper
  • dried hot pepper flakes
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a food processor with 1/4 cup water and puree. Cook the pasta until it's al dente. Add squash to the water, and simmer for 1 minute. Drain and rinse at least two times. Combine the squash and pasta mixture with the bell pepper, tomatoes, and scallions. Add the pesto and toss well. Season with the salt and pepper to taste.

3.) Cauliflower, Carrot, and Olive Salad

  • 1/2 medium head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
  • 1 large medium carrot, pealed and sliced diagonally
  • 1/2 cup pitted black olives
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley or cilantro
  • 2 scallions sliced
  • 1/4 cup vinaigrette
  • lemon juice to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sunflower seeds

Steam the cauliflower in a small amount of water for 3 minutes. Drain the cauliflower under cool water. Combine all the ingredients and serve.

4.) Fruit Salad

There are a wide variety of seasonal fruit salads that will work well for any type of potluck party. Simply choose your favorite fruits and top them off with your favorite vegan dressings and the guests will love it.

5.) Vegetable Salads and Dips

The last of the 5 vegan recipes perfect for a potluck is the simple veggie platter. If the party is all vegan then all the better, but if you're planning on serving your dish in mixed company you'll find that vegan dishes can be a great way to introduce your favorites to your friends and family.