Light and Easy Holiday Potluck Recipes With An Asian Twist by Chef Kathy Fang

Light and Easy Holiday Potluck Recipes With An Asian Twist by Chef Kathy Fang

In the spirit of the season, Kathy Fangchef and co-owner of Fang Restaurant (a Chinese-fusion eatery in downtown San Francisco) and our amazing collaborator for the Twrl multicultural holiday dinner party, generously shared with us her light and easy holiday recipes, festive enough for Thanksgiving or Christmas and perfect for potluck gatherings.

Drawing from her Asian American heritage and the daily hustle of being a working mom to two little ones, Kathy created this collection of light and easy holiday recipes with an authentic Asian twist. So, add a bit of diversity and excitement to classic holiday potluck offerings with these simple and fresh main dish and side dish recipes.

About Kathy Fang
An award-winning chef, cookbook author, and the star of Food Network's Chef Dynasty: House of Fang, Kathy is known for her modern approach to creating Chef Kathy Fangsimple, healthy Asian recipes for home cooks and inspiring others to embrace their heritage through food and entertaining. Dubbed a “culinary queen” by San Francisco Magazine, she grew up in the kitchen of her family’s iconic Chinatown restaurant, House of Nanking which has been a landmark dining destination for locals, travelers and celebrities, studied at the renowned Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School, and tasted her way around the world to create her sophisticated multicultural take on China’s rich cuisines. 

Light And Easy Holiday Potluck Recipe #1: 
Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut and Popcorn

Note from Kathy: This soup is a great holiday starter. It’s festive and adds a layer of richness you would normally expect at a holiday dinner without being too heavy. Serve a small bowl/cup before you start dinner. Or even better yet, chill the soup and serve in small shot glasses with popcorn garnish to lighten the dish up even more.

Bowl of Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut and Popcorn

Ingredients (Serves 4-6)

  • 1 whole butternut squash (large)
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • ¼ white onion minced
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • salt
  • white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • parsley for garnish
  • 2 tablespoon honey


Butternut Squash halves roasting in oven
  1. Slice butternut squash in half and roast in the oven at 425 F for 45 minutes or until the center gets soft, and you can scoop the flesh out.
  2. Once it’s nicely roasted, scoop flesh out. But be careful not to break the exterior. Save the shell, and use it as a vessel to hold your Coconut Scented Sweet Potato Rice (below).
  3. In a large pot, heat your chicken stock up, and add the minced onions.
  4. Then add your soft roasted butternut squash into the stock and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove and blend in the blender to create a smooth creamy soup.
  6. Now add your seasoning, coconut milk, and cream.
  7. If you like your soup sweeter, add more honey to it.
  8. Plate your soup by layering some parsley and popcorn in the center of the bowl.
  9. Ladle the soup into the bowls and serve!

Light And Easy Holiday Potluck Recipe #2: 
Coconut Scented Sweet Potato Jasmine Rice stuffed into Butternut Squash bowls

Coconut Scented Sweet Potato Jasmine Rice stuffed into Butternut Squash bowls

Ingredients (Serves 4-6)

  • 2 hollowed out butternut squash halves
  • 2 cups dry jasmine rice
  • 3.5 cups water
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 1 large sweet potato cut into small cubes
  • ½ cup coconut chips
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • pecans for garnish


  1. Toast your coconut and sweet potato in butter. This will help bring out a nice fragrance to your rice.
  2. Once you’ve cooked the sweet potato and coconut chips in the pan for 2 minutes or until fragrant, pour it into the rice/water mixture. Stir until fully incorporated.
    Ingredients in inner cooking pan of rice cooker
  3. Cook in a rice cooker or stove pot style (bring to a boil, simmer for 30-40 minutes and then remove lid and fluff).
  4. Serve the rice in the butternut squash shells and garnish with some more coconut chips and pecans. 

Light And Easy Holiday Potluck Recipe #3: 
Spinach Salad with cranberries, pecans and sesame dressing

Spinach Salad with cranberries, pecans and sesame dressing

Ingredients (Serves 4-6) 

  • 2 bags of baby spinach
  • ¾ cup cranberries
  • ½ cup pecans
  • 2 tablespoon sesame oil
Sesame Dressing:
  • ½ cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • 3 tablespoon hot water
  • 1/4 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • ½ cup toasted sesame seeds
  • 4 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoon yuzu


  1. Blend Sesame Dressing ingredients in a blender.
  2. Taste your blended dressing. You may want to add more honey if you like it sweeter or soy if you like it more salty.
  3. Toss dressing over your spinach, cranberries, and pecans!
Light And Easy Holiday Potluck Recipe #4: 
Pan-fried Miso Ginger Turkey
Pan-fried Miso Ginger Turkey


  • 2½ lbs of ground turkey (1 lb ground dark meat and 1.5 lbs ground white meat)
  • ½ white onion finely minced
  • 1 cup minced parsley or cilantro
  • 2 tablespoon miso ginger paste
  • 3 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ginger powder
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup panko or breadcrumbs


  1. Mix all the ingredients together and refrigerate. 
    All the ingredients mixed together
  2. Once the mixture is nice and cold, remove and form patties using an ice cream scooper for uniform size.
  3. Form the patties into 3 inches in diameter and no more than that. Lay out on wax paper on a sheet or plate. 
  4. Place all of them in the fridge.
  5. Heat your grill pan to high heat with a little olive oil.
  6. Now sear the patty and cook it all the way through while browning both sides.
  7. Serve after cooking for 4-5 minutes or until the center is not pink.
  8. Serve with some rosemary sprigs and parsley.
  9. You can also reheat any store-bought gravy and/or cranberry sauce and serve it over the patties.

These light and easy holiday potluck recipes are a celebration of cooking and wellness, grounded in Kathy’s desire to honor family, pass down traditions, and inspire others to embrace their own cultural heritage through food and entertaining. Above all, may they not only add diversity and excitement to our holiday potlucks but also remind us to embrace and share our cultural heritage. Cheers to a season filled with good food, good company, and the joy of sharing! 🌟🍽️

For more from Kathy Fang, please check out Stress-Free Holiday Party Planning With Five Easy Tips.

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