What could be more fun than a gorgeous picnic on a glorious day? Yet, all too often the typical, heavy picnic fare of hamburgers, hotdogs, white flour buns, mayo-laden salads and sugary sweets can leave you feeling stuffed, bloated and generally zapped of energy.
So, what’s the fix? A vegan picnic! With a few simple steps, you can plan a delicious meal with a variety of healthy, plant-based foods that will leave you feeling refreshed and well nourished. Simply follow these four steps:
Decide on fresh and simple recipes so you don’t have to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.
Plan to serve fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains and legumes, or easy-to-pack sandwiches and a healthy, sweet treat.
Fruits & Veggies
A summer picnic isn’t a picnic without fresh fruit! Bring along berries, sliced stone fruit, melons or a fruit salad tossed with a little lemon or lime juice to reduce browning from oxidation. Ideas for dishes with fruit include:
Red, White and Blue Fruit Salad with strawberries, blueberries and mint
Melon Ambrosia, a wonderful vegan spin on the classic version typically made with cream or sour cream and marshmallows
Minty Melon Salad seasoned with lime and chili powder
Add a platter of baby carrots, cucumbers and bell peppers or a leafy green salad with light vinaigrette. Both Strawberry Balsamic Dressing and No-Oil Balsamic Dressing are wonderful on salads or used as a dip for fresh-cut or lightly steamed veggies.
Legumes provide quality plant protein and fiber:
Cherry Lentil Salad blends sweet cherries with lentils, green onions and basil.
Black Bean Salad with Avocado Lime Dressing delivers a burst of tangy lime.
Pinto Bean Salad is another delicious vegan salad made with tomatoes, cucumbers and red peppers.
Mediterranean Crunch Salad features garbanzo beans, kale and fresh herbs.
Whole grains, including pasta and corn, are good on their own, or blended with legumes. Easy ideas include:
Curried Couscous Salad with Tofu and Vegetables is a hearty and healthful salad which combines whole wheat couscous with carrots, peas, tofu, cilantro and coconut.
Bring a favorite vegan potato salad or make our Vegan Potato Salad with Arugula and Celery.
Sweet Corn and Black Bean Salad is dressed with rice vinegar, lime juice and extra virgin olive oil.
Healthier cookies and cakes are easy to pack and can offer nutritious ingredients. How about Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, Thumbprint Cookies and No-Bake Thumbprint Cookies, Maple Oat Cookies or Carrot Oat Cake?
Time-saving shortcuts: Canned lentils and beans, quick-cooking couscous and frozen, thawed corn, brown rice and quinoa are perfect for portable salads. Find recipe inspiration online.
Have you planned a vegan picnic? What do you like to bring along? Let me know.