As April days approach, springtime weather coming with it, it’s also the perfect excuse for a picnic! We’ve sought out some of our favorite spring picnic recipes to bring you a fantastic Meatless Monday excuse to take lunch or dinner outdoors.
Whether you’re taking a half an hour or an hour at your lunch break to enjoy a meal on a park bench, or if you’d rather get the family together for an al fresco supper on the patio or in a park, these recipes are sure to make preparing a Meatless Monday picnic meal a snap.
An ideal picnic food is a cold salad, but this potato salad is different from any of those mayo-based ones you’ve tried before. This salad is made up of cooked potatoes, radishes, and quite a bit of greenery! Watercress and myronia, which is a Greek wild chervil, make up the green portion of this salad. It is meant to be topped with vinaigrette, which you’ll want to pack separately. I bought a small reusable container that fits into my other containers, so I can pack vinaigrettes separately but not fear that they’ll spill into the bag I’m carrying the picnic in — after all, if a bit gets out into the salad, it’s not the end of the world.
Image: Michael Phams
When preparing a picnic, you can use certain things to your advantage. Because a picnic has to be cooked ahead of time, dishes that improve with time and can be served either warm or cold are perfect: this soba noodle salad fits the bill. Warm, cooked soba noodles are tossed in a combination of sesame oil, coconut milk, maple syrup, peanut butter and soy sauce, seasoned with cilantro and curry paste. The resulting sauce is soaked into the warm noodles, so when you unpack it once you’ve arrived at your picnic locale, the noodles have flavor inside and out.
Saladu nebbe is a Senegalese black eyed pea salad that’s chock full of veggies and flavor. A black eyed pea base is perked up with green onions, bell pepper, lime juice and a kick of habanero. To that, you can add any veggies you like that are in season: cucumber, avocado, lettuce, tomato — even hard-boiled eggs if you want to add a touch more protein. The resulting salad is a new and interesting spin on a bean salad and perfect for your Meatless Monday springtime picnic.
Photos by Ally-Jane Grossan
If you’re picnicking with a crowd, a dip is a great option — this white bean hummus is one of our favorites. A combination of white beans, roasted garlic, oregano and smoked salt adds a truly intriguing flavor to this familiar dip. You can serve it with paprika and pine nuts over the top if you like, which turn the presentation into a work of art. Bring along some cut crudités of bell pepper, carrots, broccoli florets and cucumbers, and don’t forget the pita!
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Top image: Cooking etc.