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How to Picnic

Walking through Rittenhouse Square on Monday, I felt my heart skip a beat – I could smell picnic season in the air. One of my favorite things about Spring/Summer is a picnic. I’ve packed a variety of dishes for picnics over the years – gazpacho, quiche, pasta, salads, and of course sandwiches. But sandwiches can get boring – and even a little complex when you have a mixture of eaters to pack for – vegetarians, carnivores, picky kids, etc.  As such, I’m always  on the lookout for new, creative sandwich ideas. This month’s Whole Living Magazine was like an answer to my picnic prayers with 30 creative new sandwich ideas. Now if the weather would just cooperate again…

Looking for tips on how to pack the perfect picnic basket? Click here.

Here are some of my favorites from the issue:

Roasted Beet and Hummus

  • 1 medium beet, scrubbed and greens removed
  • 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp hummus
  • 2 slices whole-wheat bread, toasted
  • 2 Tbsp crumbled feta
  • 1/2 cup baby arugula

Roast beet: Heat oven to 425 degrees. Toss beet with oil in a baking dish and season with salt and pepper. Cover tightly with foil and roast until tender, 45 to 60 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel skin and slice. Spread hummus on bread. Top one slice toast with beet slices, feta, and arugula. Top with second slice.

Artichoke and White Bean

  • 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup baby spinach
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup mashed white beans
  • 2 slices whole-wheat bread, toasted
  • 3 to 4 store-bought marinated artichoke hearts, halved

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add spinach and stir until wilted, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Spread mashed beans on one of slice toast. Top with artichoke hearts and sauteed spinach. Top with second slice.

Grilled Chicken with Walnut Parsley Pesto

  • 1 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 Tbsp walnuts, toasted
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 slices whole-grain bread
  • 2 oz grilled chicken breast, sliced
  • 2 to 3 radicchio leaves
  • 1 Tbsp shaved Parmesan
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon

Make pesto: Process parsley, walnuts, Parmesan, garlic, and lemon juice in a food processor. With machine running, gradually add olive oil. Process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Spread 2 Tbsp pesto on bread. Top one slice of bread with grilled chicken, radicchio, Parmesan, and lemon zest. Top with the second slice.

Goat Cheese and Honey

  • 2 Tbsp goat cheese
  • 1 whole-wheat English muffin, split and toasted
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, halved and toasted
  • 3 to 4 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tsp honey

Spread goat cheese on toasted muffin halves. Top each with walnuts and basil and drizzle with honey.

Ricotta and Strawberry 

  • 2 Tbsp fresh ricotta
  • 1 seeded whole-grain roll, halved
  • 3 strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 2 tsp honey
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Spread ricotta on both sides of whole-grain roll. Top with strawberries. Drizzle with honey and season with pepper.

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