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Omar Tate, chef-owner of the pop-up dinner series Honeysuckle, calls this simple but high-impact dish “picnic tomatoes” because that’s where his mom always served them. She’d slice thick slabs of juicy heirlooms, slather them with mayo and Italian herbs, then line them up on her antique blue glass platter before leaving the house. In transit, the salt would pull out the tomato’s juices which would then mingle with the mayo. The result was a beautiful mess of juice and cream—kind of like a BLT without the bacon.
- 2 lb. heirloom tomatoes (about 3), sliced ¼" thick
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp. coarsely chopped basil
- 1 Tbsp. coarsely chopped oregano
- 1 Tbsp. coarsely chopped parsley
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Season tomatoes with sea salt and pepper. Spread each tomato slice with a thin and even layer of mayonnaise. Arrange dressed tomato slices in an overlapping layer on a large plate.
Toss basil, oregano, and parsley in a small bowl. Scatter herbs over tomatoes and drizzle with oil.
10 Picnic Lunch Recipes
Enjoy the great outdoors before the dog days of summer arrive. Here are 10 picnic lunch recipes to make ahead and bring on your adventure!
Pack up the kiddos or grab some friends and enjoy the great outdoors before the dog days of summer arrive. Here are 10 picnic lunch recipes to make ahead and bring on your adventure!
Photo by Nicole Quinn
Tomato, Basil & Artichoke Picnic Sandwich
Last week, I was in New York speaking at a Random House event with (one of my favorite bloggers ever), Jenny from Dinner a Love Story. We chatted about our shared love for the simple tomato sandwich and how you shouldn’t complicate things that are as beautiful as summer tomatoes. I forgot that I had this post in the queue – because I absolutely LOVE this slightly fancier tomato-with-other-things sandwich.
This reminds me of a juicy caprese sandwich except, well, there’s no cheese here. Instead, there’s a good slathering of this edamame spread that I’m still obsessed with. This time I made it with basil instead of cilantro which makes it taste completely different and oh-so summery.
The rest of the components are SO simple that the success of this sandwich depends on getting them right. First off, I recommend finding the best baguette you can get your hands on (we get ours from Elizabeth St. Cafe). Next, use in-season tomatoes and fresh basil. Since artichokes are out of season I used good quality jarred roasted artichokes which I’ve recently realized are far superior to canned artichokes.
Assemble this early in the day at least a few hours before your picnic (or even the night before) so that the sweet tomato-basil juices do that thing where they mingle together and partially soak into the middle of the bread. I like to assemble this using one large baguette, wrap it up, store it in the fridge, and then slice it into individual portions just before I’m ready to pack them up.
Vegan Picnic Recipes & Ideas
These vegan picnic recipes are simple to prepare and will make the perfect addition to your picnic whether everyone at your picnic is vegan or not.
In our house, we’re vegetarian and a lot of my extended family is vegetarian or vegan. My girls and I like to eat vegan much of the time, but still eat dairy products from time to time.
For me personally, I feel better when the majority of my meals are vegan. I feel healthier and it’s easier to maintain my weight.
Vegetarian substitutions for meat:
You’ll find these products in the freezer aisle or health food section of your local grocery store. You can also find these products at most health food stores like Whole Foods.
- ground beef or turkey > vegetarian burger crumbles
- chicken > Quorn Meatless Pieces
- chicken breast > Quorn Meatless Filets
- shredded chicken or pork > canned jackfruit
- beef, chicken, or pork > black beans, pinto beans, or chickpeas
- deli meats > Lightlife Deli Slices
- sausage > Gimme Lean Breakfast Sausage, Field Roast Apple Sage Sausage
- tuna > chickpeas
- bacon > Morning Star Farms Veggie Bacon
- pepperoni > Veggie Pepperoni
Our family loves picnics and in the warm weather months (and sometimes even when it’s chilly) you’ll find us at the park sharing a picnic together – often on a weekly basis.
We usually meet a bunch of our extended family who live in the area at the park and everyone will bring something to eat. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s fun and creates wonderful memories for our family.
We like to take hikes, swim in the lake, watch the kids on the playground and basically just enjoy the great outdoors.
Of course, we have our favorite picnic recipes, but I’m always looking for new ones to add to our repertoire. I hope you’ll find some new favorite picnic recipes today!
Smoky Maple Mustard Kebabs
Vegetable kebabs with tempeh are my new sweet-and-savory summer favorite. Grilled or roasted, these kebabs are fresh and delicious. With a hint of sweet maple syrup and zesty Dijon mustard, the marinade will complement any of your favorite vegetables. Kebabs have always been my go-to for grilling. Experimenting with different marinades and sauces makes this easy favorite different every time I make it!
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons liquid aminos or soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 package tempeh
1 red onion
1 red pepper
8 wooden skewers soaked in water for at least an hour
Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl or jar. Mix well.
Chop tempeh into half-inch cubes. Steam the tempeh cubes for at least 10 minutes.
Cut squash and zucchini lengthwise. Then cut into half-inch slices. Chop onion and red pepper in half-inch to one-inch pieces.
Place tempeh and vegetables in a glass dish. Cover with marinade. Marinate at least an hour up to overnight in the refrigerator. Rotate tempeh and vegetables while marinating to distribute the marinade evenly. Reserve marinade to brush on while grilling or roasting (optional).
Use skewers to create kebabs. Alternate vegetables and tempeh until skewer is full. Grill for 10 to 15 minutes, turning to cook evenly. Be careful not to overcook.
Optional: Roast in the oven at 450 F for 15 minutes instead of grilling.
No cookout is complete without a burger! Everyone will enjoy these tasty bean-based burgers that are packed with protein and loaded with fiber. Research shows that beans satisfy hunger more than meat.
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
13- to 15-ounce can low-sodium cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup barbecue sauce (preferably, low sodium)
4 whole-wheat burger buns*
Optional toppings: lettuce, spinach, tomato slices, pickles, hot peppers, sliced onions, avocado
Mash the beans with a fork or potato masher. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until well combined.
Cut in the mixture to form 4 even sections. Gather a section at a time and roll it into a ball and flatten the ball to form a patty. Repeat with each section to form 4 patties.
Spray skillet with nonstick spray and brown burgers over medium heat until lightly browned (about 5 minutes). Flip the burgers and lightly brown (about 5 minutes) the other side.
Serve on a bun with toppings.
*Note: You can also skip the bun and wrap the burgers in a romaine lettuce leaf.
Grilled Portobello Mushroom Hoagie
Mushrooms are a must in every diet. They have cancer-fighting properties. The most popular types include maitake, cremini, portobello, and white button. Any cook, especially a beginner, can be very creative with a variety of mushroom dishes. All types of mushrooms are full of fiber, help to decrease cholesterol, and contain vitamin D.
6 fresh portobello mushrooms
1 medium white or red onion
6 sundried tomatoes
2 tablespoons capers
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar (more if needed)
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tomato, sliced
Discard stem from mushrooms cap and wipe cap off with a clean paper towel. Slice mushrooms 1/4-inch thick and place in a quart-size Ziploc plastic bag. Pour the balsamic vinegar over the mushrooms and add garlic and onion powder along with the red pepper flakes until mushrooms are completely covered. Place bag in the refrigerator for 15-12 minutes.
Heat the grill and place the diced onions, sundried tomatoes, and capers in foil and place on the grill. Remove the mushrooms from refrigerator and place on the heated grill and cook for 10-12 minutes until they begin to darken and slightly shrink. Remove the foil with the onions, capers, and sundried tomatoes and put to the side.
Cut and place whole-wheat hoagie rolls on the grill open side down for 1 minute until lightly toasted. Remove rolls from grill and place lettuce, tomato, onions, capers, and sundried tomatoes in the roll. Place mushrooms on top to keep roll from becoming too soggy.
How to Can Tomatoes
Freshly canned tomato sauce is a taste of summer that will last all year.
As summer's heat wanes, farms and gardens bring in the yearly bounty of tomatoes. When tomatoes peak, their abundance can be overwhelming, so preserving them is an excellent way to enjoy their bright flavor throughout the year.
For best results, you'll want tomatoes with a high amount of meat, such as plum or San Marzano, and you'll want them just ripe. Discard any bruised or overripe fruit or extremely under-ripe fruit.
Processing tomatoes is moderately labor-intensive, but will go much easier with some forethought and planning. In order to get a good batch of crushed tomatoes or puree, you'll need to take the following steps, which we'll break down in a photo step-by-step and below:
- Core and score
- Blanch and shock
- Skin, seed and crush (or puree)
In addition, you'll need some equipment. For approximately 20-22 pounds of tomatoes, you'll need seven quart-size mason jars with rings and new, unused lids a ladle a wide-mouth funnel a pair of jar tongs and a couple cooling racks set over towels. You'll also want a pressure canner.
Unlike pickles and most fruit preserves, tomatoes are comparatively low in acidity, and so must be acidified in order to be canned using the standard water-bath method. Foods with a pH higher than 4.6 can harbor botulism bacteria spores tomatoes are generally right around 4.5, so you're playing with fire if you do not bring the acid level up. Moreover, if you add anything to your tomatoes, such as onions, garlic or basil, you are lowering the acidity further.
Water boils at 212ºF at sea level this is not sufficient to kill off the botulism spores. By raising the pressure in the cooking environment, you raise the temperature at which water boils. By raising the pressure to 11 pounds, you raise the boiling temperature to about 240ºF, which will kill off the spores.
So, if you intend to do much canning of low-acid foods such as tomatoes, stocks or meats, you may want to invest in a pressure canner. Modern pressure canners are easy and exceedingly safe to use, and you will be able to rest easy knowing that your canned goods are free of toxins.
Coring the tomato follow up by scoring the bottom.
Core and Score
Using a small paring knife, cut out the tough core of the tomato, then score the bottom.
Blanch and Shock
Set a large pot of water to boil keep a cooler full of ice water nearby. Submerge the tomatoes in boiling water for 20 to 30 seconds, until the skins wrinkle and split. Remove them to the ice water. Depending on how many tomatoes you are processing, you may need several changes of ice water, as the hot tomatoes will quickly melt the ice.
Skin, Seed and Crush
Set up a workstation with three positions: A large bowl or pot, another large bowl or pot with a sieve over it, and a pot large enough to capture the tomato pulp for cooking. Remove each tomato from the ice bath. Peel the skin away and cast that into the first bowl or pot. Over the sieve in the second bowl or pot, tear open the tomatoes and remove the seeds and liquid from the chambers. Move to the third pot and crush the tomato pulp with your hands in it. This is where it will be most apparent whether tomatoes are too under-ripe, as the skins will not want to come away, and the fruit will be too hard to open and crush.
Using a spatula, massage the seeds in the sieve to extract the water. The seeds will retain some gelatinous exterior. Discard the skins and seeds, reserving the tomato water. This can be used much in the same way as a stock, e.g., a base for soups or braises, and is very flavorful.
Alternatives: For a puree, place tomato pulp into a food mill over the third pot, and puree it into the pot. For tomato juice, place skinned tomatoes (with seeds) into a food mill over the third pot (no second pot necessary in this case) and puree.
Place the pots of your crushed tomatoes (or puree) and water on the stove. Bring to a low boil and reduce heat. Simmer the crushed tomatoes until they break down.
Meanwhile, have your pressure canner filled to the 3-quart line and over a high flame.
The right tool for the job: A lid caddy helps organize and sterilize lids and rings.
When the water in the canner is at least 180ºF but not quite boiling, submerge your jars, lids, rings, funnel, ladle and jar tongs (a lid caddy is a handy tool for this). If you are preparing a large number of jars, you can run them through the dishwasher (provided it sterilizes), then keep in a 220ºF oven until ready. Keep everything hot until just before you're ready to can.
Remove as many jars, lids, etc., as you will can at once (a 23-quart canner can handle seven quart jars). Stuff a sprig of basil into each jar, if desired. Ladle the tomatoes through the wide-mouth funnel into each jar, leaving about 1/2" headroom at the top.
Insert a clean spatula, knife or chopstick, and "bubble" the contents, wiggling it around the perimeter to dislodge any air bubbles. Using a wet paper towel, wipe the rims of the jars clean, then set the lids on top. Apply the rings, screwing on until just finger-tight. Using the tongs, lower the jars into the canner and close the lid. Keep over high heat until steam flows freely through the vent at the top continue venting for 10 minutes, then apply the valve. Keep over high heat, monitoring the pressure. When the pressure hits 11 pounds, reduce the heat to low and set the timer for 15 minutes. Keep an eye on the pressure: It can go over 11 pounds, but it's best to keep the pressure as stable as possible. Moreover, if it dips below 11 pounds, it must be brought back up, and the 15 minutes started again.
When the 15 minutes are up, kill the heat and allow to cool naturally. When the pressure has fallen completely and the cover lock drops, open the canner and remove the cans with your tongs to the cooling racks. Once cool, several hours later, test the jars by removing the rings and lifting the jars by the lids. If the lids give, the seal did not set. These may be refrigerated and used right away, or the tomatoes can be reprocessed and canned using the above instructions.
Some separation may occur as the jars cool, especially for the tomato water this is normal. Puree may retain its emulsion better.
Sean Timberlake is a professional writer, amateur foodie, avid traveler and all-around bon vivant. He is the founder of Punk Domestics, a content and community site for DIY food enthusiasts, and has penned the blog Hedonia since 2006. He lives in San Francisco with his husband, DPaul Brown, and their hyperactive terrier, Reese.
Caprese pasta salad
Kick off your picnic spread with a colourful pasta salad. Combine sweet baby plum tomatoes, mini mozzarella balls and shredded basil for a simple, flavourful dish you can throw together in minutes. Check out our best pasta salad recipes for even more prep-ahead picnic saviours.
Avocado hummus, falafel and broad bean baguettes
Check out our quick and easy veggie-friendly baguettes. These simple sandwiches are packed with creamy hummus, vibrant broad beans and flavoursome falafel, a perfect portable picnic bite.
A super-simple savoury muffin recipe, made with grated courgette and cheddar – make a batch using just six ingredients in two simple steps. These are perfect picnic fodder, being easy to share and transport. Get stuck into our easy savoury muffin recipes for more mouthwatering veggie flavour combinations.
Cheese and onion quiche
Use spring onions and ready-made pastry to create this classic veggie tart. Serve up slabs of this rich cheddar-filled quiche and keep everyone happy. Once it’s cool, package up slices for essential picnic sustenance. Searching for pastry perfection? Take a look at our best quiche recipes.
Picnic dip jars
Not only are these snacks packed with flavour, they’re also a great alternative to the usual picnic food. Simple and quick to prepare, these will become an al fresco feasting staple.
Spiralized summer rolls
Spiralized veg takes the place of noodles in these super-healthy, Vietnamese-style vegan rolls. Pack for a posh picnic.
Jam jar salads
Deliciously healthy and packed with fresh ingredients, this salad can be made in advance and is ideal for picnics. Need ideas for dressing? Rapeseed oil is a good choice, as it is low in saturated fat and rich in omega 3.
Tex-Mex-style sweetcorn salad
Sweet, crunchy, creamy and zingy – this is great served with pittas. Pickled jalapeños bring a little heat, balanced out by crumbly feta and soured cream. Full of texture, colour and flavour, this salad has it all.
Why put up with boring sandwiches when you can have chunks of our stuffed focaccia? This classic Italian bread is full to bursting with tasty antipasti like roasted red peppers and artichoke hearts. Cut into squares so everyone can help themselves.
Green goddess and red devil dips with homemade breadsticks and veg
Go the extra mile and make a batch of homemade breadsticks to enjoy with fresh veg and chunky dips. The creamy green goddess dip is made with ripe avocado and a touch of fresh mint, and the red devil uses a jar of roasted red peppers.
Burritos with black beans, sweetcorn and quinoa
We’ve got your picnic lunch all wrapped up. A colourful, veggie burrito, crammed with tomatoes, black beans, sweetcorn, lime, coriander, avocado and red chilli. Rolled and ready to go, these handy burritos are perfect for feeding a crowd.
Take some inspiration from a classic tapas spread and serve up tasty morsels of tortilla, cut into perfect squares. This recipe uses just four ingredients and is delicious served both hot and cold, so great for packing in your picnic hamper.
Elderflower and raspberry mocktail bottles
Don’t forget the drinks! No picnic would be complete without a cooling beverage filled with fruity flavours. This elderflower and raspberry mix screams summer. Pop the bottles in your cool bag and serve with a few whole raspberries.
Lemon and blueberry bars
Round off the perfect picnic with a little something sweet. These simple lemon and blueberry bars are crunchy on the outside, gooey on the inside. Cut into blocks and pack into a tin, ready to dish out to lucky friends and family.
There's a local high-end grocery store in my neighborhood that makes a tuna pasta salad everyone just goes nuts over. But it is so simple to create it at home. This is my version, and I have to say it is darned good. I especially like the fact that I don't have to pay $6.99 per pound for it!
For your next picnic, Guttersen suggests the following recipes from her Sonoma Diet Cookbook:
Confetti Summer Salad
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic members: Journal one serving as 1/4 cup starchy foods and legumes without fat + 1/2 cup vegetables without added fat.
Prep: 30 minutes chill: 4 to 24 hours.
4 medium ears fresh corn or 2 cups frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed
4 baby zucchini, thinly sliced, or 1⁄2 of a small zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (1⁄2 cup)
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 green onions, sliced
1 medium yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1⁄2 cup bottled clear Italian salad dressing (such as Newman’s Own brand)
1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
Fresh thyme (optional)
If using fresh corn, in a covered large saucepan cook ears of corn in a small amount of boiling water for 4 minutes. Drain rinse with cold water to cool. When cool enough to handle, cut corn from cobs (you should have about 2 cups corn kernels).
In a large bowl, combine fresh cooked corn or thawed corn, zucchini, tomatoes, green onions, bell peppers, salad dressing, and, if desired, cayenne pepper. Cover and chill for 4 to 24 hours, stirring occasionally. If desired, garnish with fresh thyme.
Yield: 8 side-dish servings
Per serving: 99 calories, 5 g total fat (1 g saturated fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 253 mg sodium, 14 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic members: Journal one serving as 1 cup vegetables without fat + 1 ounce low-fat cheese
The variety of textures, colors, and flavors in this recipe makes it the perfect prelude to virtually any entrée. These no-cook kabobs can also be served as satisfying snacks.
Prep: 30 minutes marinate: 1 to 24 hours.
11⁄2 to 2 cups assorted fresh vegetables (such as baby carrots, halved radishes, bell pepper squares, whole miniature bell peppers, or halved pattypan squash)
2 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, provolone cheese, or smoked Gouda cheese, cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces
2 ounces cooked smoked turkey sausage, cut into 3⁄4-inch-thick slices and quartered
2 tablespoons refrigerated basil pesto
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
12 whole fresh basil leaves
Place vegetables, cheese, and sausage in a self-sealing plastic bag set in a deep bowl.
For marinade, in a small bowl stir together pesto and vinegar pour over vegetable mixture. Seal bag turn to coat vegetable mixture. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 24 hours, turning bag occasionally.
On 12 4-inch-long wooden skewers, alternately thread vegetables, cheese, sausage, and basil leaves.
Yield: 12 skewers (6 servings)
Per serving: 84 calories, 6 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 13 mg cholesterol, 188 mg sodium, 3 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 5 g protein.
White Bean and Artichoke Dip
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic members: Journal one serving as 1 serving bread
Artichokes are naturally fat free and are a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and folate. Enjoy their delicate flavor and nutritional benefits in this smooth, creamy dip.
Prep: 30 minutes bake: 10 minutes per batch (pita chips) chill: 2 to 24 hours.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
12 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 19-ounce can cannellini beans (white kidney beans), rinsed and drained
1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 recipe Whole-Wheat Pita Chips or 8 cups assorted vegetable dippers (such as carrot sticks, celery sticks, and/or red bell pepper strips)
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add thinly sliced garlic cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until garlic is tender and golden brown (reduce heat to medium-low if garlic is browning too quickly). Stir in onion and thyme. Cook and stir about 5 minutes more or until onion is tender.
In a food processor combine cooked onion mixture, cannellini beans, artichoke hearts, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper. Cover and process until smooth. Cover and chill for 2 to 24 hours.
Serve with Whole-Wheat Pita Chips or vegetable dippers.
Whole-Wheat Pita Chips: Preheat oven to 350°F. Split 4 large whole-wheat pita bread rounds in half horizontally. Cut each half into six wedges. Arrange pita wedges in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until wedges are browned and crisp. (Bake the wedges in batches.) Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. Makes 48 chips.
Per serving (2 tablespoons dip and 3 pita wedges): 91 cal., 2 g total fat (0 g sat. fat), 0 mg chol., 220 mg sodium, 16 g carbo., 4 g fiber, 4 g pro.
Mozzarella with Herbs
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic members: Journal one serving as 1 ounce regular cheese
Hailing from Italy, mild-flavor mozzarella is perfectly complemented by this assortment of herbs and spices.
Prep: 15 minutes. Stand: 30 minutes. Chill: 2 to 4 hours.
8 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, cut into bite-size pieces (2 cups)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
In a medium bowl, combine mozzarella cheese, olive oil, basil, oregano, and parsley. Cover and chill for 2 to 4 hours.
Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. Season to taste with kosher salt and pepper.
Per serving: 103 cal., 8 g total fat (3 g sat. fat), 18 mg chol., 206 mg sodium, 1 g carbo., 0 g fiber, 7 g pro.
Here are a couple of variations for this dish:
Tomato-Mozzarella Salad: Prepare as directed, except add 4 cups roma tomato wedges and 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar. Serve on a bed of 6 cups fresh spinach.
Per serving: 169 cal., 11 g fat (5 g sat. fat), 24 mg chol., 304 mg sodium, 8 g carbo., 2 g fiber, 11 g pro.
Spicy Monterey Jack Cheese with Herbs: Prepare as directed, except substitute reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese for the mozzarella cheese and add 1⁄2 teaspoon crushed red pepper.
Per serving: 111 cal., 9 g fat (4 g sat. fat), 20 mg chol., 271 mg sodium, 1 g carbo., 0 g fiber, 7 g pro.
Recipes reprinted from The Sonoma Diet Cookbook (Meredith Books), 2006, by Connie Guttersen. Republished with permission from the author.
SOURCES: Kerry Neville, MS, RD, American Dietetic Association spokesperson. Connie Guttersen, RD, PhD, culinary professional author, The Sonoma Diet and The Sonoma Diet Cookbook. Ellie Krieger, MS, RD, host of Food Network’s Healthy Appetite.
Easy Recipes for a Weekend Picnic
The weather near me is supposed to be beautiful this weekend which means spending as much time outside as possible and that includes my meals. So, I plan to have a picnic. What I put in my basket changes from picnic to picnic but there is one thing that is the same. It’s filled with easy-to-make recipes.
Tabbouleh Salad is a Middle Eastern dish made of parsley, bulgur, cucumber, and other fresh ingredients and spices. Marianne Gleason (Cincinnati, OH) posted a recipe for it that’s full of flavor.
“We had some Middle Eastern friends growing up and this was one of my favorite recipes they shared,” says Marianne.
I let this wonderful salad rest a bit after preparing it and when I finally got to dig in, the bulgur had softened to perfection. If you’re not familiar with bulgur, it’s a grain that has a slightly nutty flavor. It is high in protein and fiber. Combined with the fresh mint and parsley this recipe is a lovely choice for a picnic.
What I love about Fran Miller’s (Parkersburg, WV) Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad is that the recipe is very flexible based on what you like.
“One of my go-to recipes for covered dish dinners or a quick, light meal at home,” reveals Fran.
This is fresh, crispy, and creamy. Imagine all the yumminess of chicken Caesar salad but with the added goodness of pasta, bacon, and tomatoes. So yummy!
“This sandwich holds up very well in a cooler and seems to get more flavorful after a couple of hours when the ingredients have melded together,” thinks Suzanne. “If you’re short on time, buy the grilled vegetables from the salad bar at your supermarket.”
The smoky flavor from the grilled veggies with the spicy candied bacon is superb. Cheese, turkey, and a creamy roasted red pepper aioli just make the sandwich perfect. I opted to use a loaf of Hawaiian sweet bread for the sandwich and it was a delicious choice.
For me, chicken salad is a must in my basket. Gordon Savell’s (Mobile, AL) Fruity Nutty Chicken Salad is always popular.
“Every time someone new tries it, I have a new fan,” reveals Gordon. “My sister and I made it at mom and dad’s 50th and it was a real hit.”
Apples, grapes, and nuts add fantastic texture and flavor. Cooking the chicken in a pressure cooker with the seasonings enhances the flavor of the chicken.
This is tasty on its own or serve on a flaky, buttery croissant. If you’re a fan of chicken salad, you’re going to enjoy this recipe.
Wash everything down with Aunt Fely’s Fruit Tea. Amanda Brecht shared her aunt’s recipe and it is fantastic.
“This is my Aunt Felyscia’s fabulous fruit tea recipe that has become one of my absolute favorites and a must-have whenever we go to visit in Tennessee,” explains Amanda. “This is a true Southern tea, and it’s truly delicious!”
Quick and easy, these simple ingredients combine into a refreshing delight of a drink. Now in the South, we do like our tea sweet and this is a sweet drink. If you don’t like things as sweet, cut back on the sugar a little.
If you’re looking for a weekend activity, pack a picnic and catch up with friends or your family. Want more recipes? Check out our Picnic Picks recipe collection. Happy Pinching!
- 8 small tomatoes, or 3 large ones
- 4 hard-boiled eggs, cooled and peeled
- 6 tablespoons allioli or mayonnaise
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
- 1 tablespoon white breadcrumbs, if using large tomatoes
Skin the tomatoes, first by cutting out the core with a sharp knife and making a '+' incision on the other end of the tomato. Then place in a pan of boiling water for 10 seconds, remove and plunge into a bowl of iced or very cold water (this latter step is to stop the tomatoes from cooking and going mushy).
Slice the tops off the tomatoes, and just enough of their bases to remove the rounded ends so that they will sit squarely on the plate. Keep the tops if using small tomatoes, but discard those large tomatoes. Remove the seeds and insides, either with a teaspoon or small, sharp knife.
Mash the eggs with the allioli -or the mayonnaise, if using- salt, pepper and parsley. Stuff the tomatoes, firmly pressing the filling down. With small tomatoes, replace the lids at a jaunty angle. If keeping to serve later, brush them with olive oil and black pepper ot prevent them from drying out. Cover with clingfilm and keep.
For large tomatoes, the filling must be firm enough to be sliced. If you make your own mayonnaise, thicken it by using more egg yolks. If you use shop-bought mayonnaise or allioli, add white breadcrumbs until the mixture reaches the consistency of mashed potatoes.
Season. Fill the tomatoes, pressing down firmly until level. Refrigerate for 1 hour, then slice with a sharp carving knife into rings. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.