Your Favorite Dishes for Summer Potlucks

Summer is here—and that means outdoor picnics and barbeques with humanist friends! We’ve compiled a list of special recipes—submitted by readers of Humanist Network News—that you can use for your next humanist potluck!

Want to add more to this list? Email with your name, city and state, the recipe, a photograph, and why you chose to share it (add a funny story or other details that you think people would love to hear). You can also submit your recipe in the comments section below.

Lemon Meringue Tart

Submitted by Buck Bannister, food blogger for Sugar Pies ( Buck is proud to be “one of the few men [running a food blog] but certainly one of the very, very few who do not attach their blog in some way to religious belief or tradition (Mormons and Evangelicals are very big in food blogging circles)!”


  • 4 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Whip the egg whites, cream of tartar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt with the whisk attachment of your mixer on high speed until frothy. With the mixer still running, slowly add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and beat until the meringue is thick and shiny, about 2 minutes.

Lemon Filling

  • 1/4-pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 extra-large eggs
  • 3 extra-large egg yolks (save the whites for the meringue)
  • 1/4 cup finely grated lemon zest (6 to 8 lemons)
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for 1 minute. On low speed, add the eggs and egg yolks one at a time, and then add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt. Don’t worry; it will look curdled. Pour the mixture into a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until thick, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Whisk briskly when it starts to thicken and cook over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Don’t allow it to boil! It will be 175° F on a thermometer. Pour into a bowl and cool to room temperature.

Assembling the tart:

Prepare your favorite flaky pie crust or use a refrigerated dough. Roll crust onto a tart pan with removable sides. Be careful not to stretch dough as it will spring back when baking and leave your tart misshapen. Press dough into sides of pan then run a rolling pin across the top to cut off the excess dough. Bake crust using directions for the recipe or refrigerated crust you are using be sure to prick bottom of crust with a fork so the steam escapes.

Once crust is baked to a golden brown, allow to cool to room temperature. Once cooled fill with lemon filling and spread evenly to sides. Place meringue in a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and pipe meringue onto the tart in whatever pattern you like. Make sure to completely cover the filling and pie crust edges with the meringue!

Bake in oven pre-heated to 425° F for about 8 minutes until meringue is browned on top. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Place it in the refrigerator before serving (if you like it chilled).



Malibu Rum Coconut Cake

Also submitted by Buck Bannister, food blogger for Sugar Pies (

  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp orange extract
  • 1/2 cup Malibu® Coconut Rum
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla, beating until blended. Add orange extract, beating until blended. Gradually add rum and sour cream, beating until blended. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add alternately with whipping cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat batter until blended after each addition. Pour batter into a greased and floured 10-inch Bundt pan.

Bake at 350° for 55 to 60 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool completely on wire rack. Ice with Coconut Rum Icing (recipe below).

Coconut Rum Icing

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 4 cups powdered sugar (sifted)
  • 1 tsp. Malibu® Rum
  • 1/4 cup flaked coconut

Melt together butter and milk over low heat in small sauce pan. When melted stir in rum and sugar. Whip with wire whisk until thick enough to pour over cake. If necessary add more sugar or hot water to adjust thickness of icing. Stir in flaked coconut.



Gummy Cubes

Submitted by Kim Hershberger of Goshen, Indiana. She writes, “This is a delightful, low-calorie, non-fat snack that’s pretty, cool, smooth, and not messy. Enjoy as much as you want, guilt free!” 

She adds, “It’s not just for humans, either. I dropped one on the floor while I was transferring them from the pan to a bowl, and it bounced over to my cat. You would’ve thought she sacrificed one of her nine lives and went straight to heaven! I didn’t start making Gummy Cubes as cat toys. That’s just a bonus.” 

You’ll need three .30 oz. boxes of Sugar Free Jell-O of contrasting colors (My favorites are grape, lemon and raspberry) and six envelopes of unflavored gelatin. 

Boil ¾ cup of water. While you’re waiting on that, pour two envelopes of unflavored gelatin into 1 cup of cold water. When the ¾ cup of water comes to a boil, remove from heat. 

After dissolving one flavor of Sugar Free Jell-O (say, grape) in the boiled water, pour in the unflavored gelatin that’s been soaking in the cold water. Stir to combine, about 30 seconds.

Pour mixture into 9 x 13 baking pan and place into refrigerator. Allow it to chill for at least an hour and a half.

Repeat directions with the other two flavors, pouring each of them on top of the already chilled layers.

When all layers have chilled and are firm to the touch with no moisture left on top, cut into ½ cubes. It makes a lot of cubes!



Texas Caviar

Submitted by Doris Green

1 large jar medium or hot picante sauce 2 16-ounce cans black-eyed peas, drained

1 16-ounce can white hominy, drained 1 cup diced green bell pepper

1 cup chopped white onion 1 cup chopped fresh tomato

1 cup chopped green onions (include green tops)

½ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped

¼ cup seeded and chopped jalapeno pepper 1 tablespoon sugar

1Tablespoon salt 2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper

1 tablespoons ground cumin

Combine all the ingredients in an extra-large bowl. Use as a dip with tortilla chips or crackers.

Humanist Network News would again like to thank everyone who submitted recipes! Want to see your recipe in an upcoming issue of HNN? Submit yours to or leave a comment below! And let us know if you tried one of the recipes above and how it turned out!