So, I'm starting to go to picnics in the park with my husband and little girl. But, I keep getting in a picnic food rut. What are your favorite vegetarian picnic foods to eat in hot, steamy weather?
Picnics in the Park top Picks!
Cold bean salads! My favorite is this:
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained (kudos to those of you who cook your own; I don't)
1 red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/4 - 1/2 red onion, minced (how much depends on how much onion you like - it shouldn't dominate the flavors)
1 large or 2 small ripe mangos, peeled and chopped
1 small bunch cilantro, rinsed and chopped (stems removed)
juice of one lime
sprinkle of salt to taste
Chopped scallions are nice in place of the red onion, and diced avocado is a brilliant addition, but that's best added just before you eat as it doesn't age well. You can also add a little minced hot pepper if you prefer your salad to have a kick. And DH swears a tablespoon of olive oil is perfect finish, but I leave it out half the time and he doesn't notice so I would say you could go either way.
We eat this with whole wheat pitas and watermelon for dessert. I find cut watermelon hard to transport - it can be drippy, and requires that I lug a bigger cooler than I need for the bean salad and drinks alone. Usually I bring a small whole melon on its own in a totebag with a knife and cutting board, and then cut slices on the spot. (This is great if you are meeting friends at the park - watermelon is like a unversal kid pleaser and other mothers always think I'm a genius for doing this, LOL) And I will bring a plastic container or plastic produce bag for transporting the leftover watermelon home.
To be eaten with a fork:
- Cook some soba noodles (though it works with spaghetti or rotini or whatever too, if you don't have any) and stir-fry whatever vegatables you think would be good (including lost of bell pepper!) Toss with peanut sauce and eat cold.
- Sweet potato and quinoa salad. I add a cup or so of frozen corn when I add the sweet potato, use at least a whole can of beans instead of their paltry amount, and make sure to have extra lime juice to add to mine if needed because I like it really limey Very good hot or cold.
To be eaten in a pita (or maybe as a sandwich):
- Chickpea/mock tuna salad. The recipe I like best so far is this one from the Vegan Table cookbook http://www.pbs.org/pov/docs/foodinc/better_than_tuna_salad.pdf (since it is on the PBS wesbite, I am assuming they had permission to repost it). So yummy.
- Falafal with tahini yogurt sauce.
- Bean burgers broken up with mayo, catsup, lettuce, whatever else you want in the pita (I like eating cold homemade bean burgers anyway, but it might just be me. I do not like commercial soy/veggie burgers cold, even ones I absolutely love hot, but bean burgers just seem different).