Summer is here which means lots of time outdoors in the sunshine and eating great food with friends and family. One of my favourite things to do is to go on picnics. Discovering new outdoor spots, parks, and trails where I can find a quiet out of the way spot and enjoy a long leisurely lunch. When was the last time you actually sat down by yourself, with a friend, or with your family and had a 1-2 hour meal? A time when you could enjoy the food without rushing off to the next appointment, back to work, or dropping your children off at school. Picnics are great as they allow you to re-connect not just with one another but with nature.
I’m not a big fan of eating out for a couple of reasons. Most importantly, I find it very difficult to find a restaurant that caters to our food needs of a whole and plant based lifestyle. Even purchasing pre-made foods such as salads from the grocery store are loaded in sugar and oil so I create my own meals to take with me. Yes, it does take some time to prepare the food but when you take the time to sit down and appreciate where the food comes from, it makes it that more delicious. Today I wanted to share with you some of my favourite foods so you can enjoy them on your next picnic. Most of the recipes are my own creations while some are not, but it’s important to know that they are all made from whole foods. No chemicals, no preservatives, no oil, no refined sugar, and no animal products. Simple foods created into tasty sensations. There’s lots of food so enjoy!
Never been on a picnic before? You don’t need a picnic basket if that’s what your wondering, a cooler bag is fine, but you will need lots of containers to store your food. Wherever you go, leave with what you brought with you.
- I don’t like to waste, so taking plastic baggies is not an option for me so instead I pack some air tight containers to store my food in.
- Instead of paper serviettes which are not always recycled everywhere, I bring with me cloth napkins (nothing fancy) and I can wash them when I get home.
- I use a picnic basket that has a blanket (you need a place to sit), re-usable plates, cutlery, and glasses. NO PLASTIC!
- A sharp knife for cutting bread or sandwiches.
- Scrap food I never throw out as it doesn’t get composted in most areas so I keep all the scrap foods such as banana peels or apple cores and place them into a container and take home with me to compost.
- Re-usable water containers
- Lots of ice.
These are some of my favourites. I like a lot of variety of food when I go on a picnic so I can always snack on some of the foods when I’m in the car. It’s better to take too much than not enough. Leftovers are always a good thing.
Broccoli & Cashew Cheese Quinoa Burrito (recipe from Oh She Glows)
This is my favourite sandwich filling. Angela Liddon who is the creator of the ‘Oh She Glows’ cookbook is masterful at creating vegan recipes and I highly recommend getting her cookbook if you get the chance. I like to add extra veggies to the wrap such as sliced mushrooms or even some cauliflower. I also like to make this recipe up 1-days before and keep in the fridge.
Cashew Cheese Sauce:
-3/4 cup raw cashews
-1 clove garlic
-1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
-1/4 cup nutritional yeast
-1 ½ tsp Dijon mustard
-1 tsp white wine vinegar or lemon juice
-1/4 tsp onion powder
-1/2 tsp sea salt
-1 cup uncooked quinoa (I’ve also tried couscous)
-1 clove garlic
-1 ½ cups sweet onion
-3/4 cup sliced celery
-2 cups broccoli florets and/or cauliflower
-3-4 tbsp of chopped sundried tomatoes
-salt & pepper to season
-tortillas or swiss collard leaves (these are a great alternative to using bread & are highly nutritious)
- Make the cashew cheese sauce by placing the cashews in a bowl and add water to completely cover. Soak the cashews for at least 3-4 hours or longer if you have time. If you are pressed for times, you can cook them in the microwave on high for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse the cashews.
- In a food processor blender, combine the soaked cashews, garlic, almond milk, nutritional yeast, mustard, vinegar, onion powder, and salt until smooth. It should be thick.
- Make the burrito by cooking the quinoa or couscous.
- In a large pan, add the garlic and onion and saute for about 5 minutes. You can water or vegetable broth to saute. Season with salt and pepper.
- Stir in the celery, broccoli or cauliflower, and sun-dried tomatoes, to taste. Saute over medium-high heat until the broccoli is tender, 10-15 minutes.
- Add the cooked quinoa and cheese sauce and stir to combine with the vegetables. Cook until heated through about 10-15 minutes. Serve the mixture into the burrito or collard greens and serve.
Veggie Coleslaw with Avocado Mayo and Cashew Cream Sauce
Cashew Sour Cream
-1 cup raw cashews (pre-soaked)
-1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
-2 teaspoons lemon juice or white wine vinegar
-1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
-1/4 cup water
-1/2 avocado, skin and pit removed
-1-2 tablespoon lemon juice
-1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
-1 medium head of cabbage (I like to combine both green & purple for extra colour)
-1 cup carrots
-1 small onion
-2 apples, cored and quartered
-1 cup of dried raisins or cranberries
-1 cup cashew sour cream (use above recipe)
-1/2 cup avocado mayo (use above recipe)
-1 teaspoon dry mustard
-1/2 teaspoon sea salt
-1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
-2 teaspoons maple syrup or agave
Cashew Sour Cream:
- Soak cashews in hot water for 2-4 hours or a cook for 2 minutes on high in the microwave, rinse and then drain.
- Add cashews, vinegar, lemon, water, and salt to a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth.
- Set aside in refrigerator.
- Add avocado, lemon, and salt to a blender or food processor and mix until smooth.
- Set aside in the refrigerator.
- Shred cabbage and carrots in a food processor and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
- Add onion to food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Scrape onion into the mixing bowl.
- Dice up the carrots finely and add to the bowl.
- Add raisins or cranberries to the mixing bowl and stir to mix ingredients.
- Mix avocado mayo, mustard, salt, pepper, and maple syrup with cashew sour cream, and add to mixing bowl.
- Stir until all ingredients are well mixed.
- Serve immediately, or store in the fridge for up to 2-3 days.
Red Cabbage and Mango Slaw (recipe from Vicki Brett-Gach)
-4 cups red cabbage, shredded
-4 carrots, peeled and chopped or shredded
-2 mangos, diced
-3/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
-juice of 1 large lime, freshly squeezed
-splash or 2 of balsamic vinegar (to taste)
-sprinkle of kosher salt
- In a large bowl, mix together cabbage, carrots, mangos, and cilantro. Add lime juice, balsamic vinegar, and salt (if using), and toss completely. Add baked tempeh, if using. Taste for seasonings and adjust if needed.
- Allow slaw to chill completely, and mix again very well just before serving.
Roasted Balsamic Carrot Hummus
What’s a picnic without hummus? Served with some fresh veggies and/or vegan crackers (I use Mary’s crackers) can make this snack filling and delightfully delicious. There are so many ways to make hummus so I thought incorporating some sweet potatoes would spice it up a bit.
-1 cup baby carrots or regular carrots, sliced into 2-inch pieces
-1 tsp balsamic vinegar for roasting
– 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
-1 tbsp tahini
-1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
-1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
-Cold water as needed
-Pine nuts for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Toss carrots with the balsamic vinegar. Roast for 30-35 minutes, or until tender.
- Once carrots are done roasting, place all the hummus ingredients into a high-speed blender or food processor, except for the water. Blend until ingredients are combined. Slowly add in the cold water as you continue to blend until smooth.
- Serve with homemade crackers or vegetables
If you’re not a fan of hummus then the next best thing is roasted chickpeas. I find these absolutely addictive! If you use to be or still are a fan of salty, greasy processed snacks, I promise you that these tasty, crunchy snacks are not only delicious but filling. You can make up your own spice blend or use this sample one below.
-1 15 ounce can, chickpeas (I soak and cook my own)
-1 tsp garlic powder
-2 tsp chili powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-2 tbsp lime juice
- Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine all the ingredients together and place into a plastic bag and then add the chickpeas. Shake well until they are all completely coated.
- Spread the chickpeas evenly on the baking sheet.
- Bake for 45- 60 minutes and stirring every 20 minutes until the chickpeas are golden brown.
- You can serve warm (sometimes, I add a little extra lime juice for flavour) or use as a snack for your next picnic.
Chocolate Date Oat Balls – OMG, these are so delicious!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What’s a picnic without some dessert? I’ve been trying to mimic a recipe from these date rolls that I buy from the store but then I came up with this recipe and found out they are even tastier than the ones I buy from the store.
-1 cup of rolled oats
-1 1/4 cup of chopped dates (I use Medjool dates)
-1/4 cup cacao powder
-1-2 tbsps shredded coconut or finely chopped nuts (enough to cover each ball)
- Blend oats into almost a flour in a high speed blender or food processor
- Add chopped dates after chopping them in a high speed blender (I use my Vitamix)
- Add the raw cacao and blend, turn up to full speed using the tamper to help mix if you are using a Vitamix. The mix should look like a paste. If not, you might need to add more dates to the mixture.
- Take the mixture out of the blender or food processor and tear off pieces and roll into small balls. Once done, you can either roll them in coconut or the chopped nuts or both.
- Store in a container in the fridge.
You need something to dip into that hummus. I like to get away from the usual raw vegetables like peppers and carrots and try more vegetables that are in season. I like to use a medley of beets (red, orange, golden yellow) as well as some celery root.
Bread or Greens for Sandwiches
It’s very hard to find vegan or whole food bread or wraps. Make sure that you check the ingredients on the packaging to ensure you know what you are putting into your body. To be on the safe side, you can always use collard greens to put your sandwich spread in. They make great wraps and if you have any leftover coleslaw, you can always add it to a collard green and make an instant sandwich.
Sometimes I like to take a little wine with me when I go on a picnic but I also like to stay hydrated which is very important. Water may seem boring to many but there are many ways you can flavour it up. I like to add some lemon, lime, and orange slices together or put in a mixed berry blend along with a few sprigs of mint leaves. It adds so much flavour to the water and will quench your thirst
Eat Well – Move Well – Live Well