Why do we love going on a picnic so much? Being portable wherever we want to go makes it casual and fun. It might be the level of engagement that we give each other because there is no television and possible no phone depending on where you go! There are often special foods that we bring that we may not eat at home. Picnics can take on some casual elegance with worn baskets, worn vintage linens and quilts, old dishes, retro coolers and thermoses. All these set the stage for the event!

When fruits and vegetables become plentiful at the farmers’ markets that is the time to get creative with your outdoor menu and this one is “taking it on the road-ready”! Here is a flavorful combination that I hope that you enjoy, this is picnic post number two in a three part series. Be sure to check out my other menu and come back for my 3rd picnic menu coming up soon! Make life a picnic and have a good time!

Summer Picnic Menu

Tempeh or Beef Sloppy Joe Sliders

Summer Cabbage Kale Salad

Gingered Peaches with Toasted Coconut

Sparkling Lemonade and Mint

Add some spice to your next picnic with this summer menu!Sloppy Joe Sliders, Salad & Peaches

Tempeh or Beef Sloppy Joe Sliders

Makes 4 servings (2 sliders each)

Try Asheville’s local Smiling Hara tempeh or hempeh for a handcrafted treat! Or use a local grass fed beef like WNC’s Hickory Nut Gap!

8 ounces tempeh or hempeh (if using beef purchase 1 pound)

1/2 tablespoon of oil

11/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 clove, minced garlic

1/2 tablespoon Lusty Monk freshly ground mustard

1 tablespoon honey, sorghum or brown sugar

1/2 cup of barbecue sauce (I used Smoking J’s Fiery Foods’/Black Mocha Stout )

1/2 ketchup (I used an organic without high fructose corn syrup

1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce

Whole grain mini buns

In a medium iron skillet, brown tempeh or beef in oil with onions and cook until browned (I add 1/3 cup water with my tempeh and steam it for about 5 minutes after it starts to brown). Add minced garlic and the rest of the ingredients (except buns) and simmer about 5-10 minutes. Add a little water if necessary if sauce starts to stick to the pan. For the picnic, pack the filling in cooler until time to serve. Cut buns in half and add filling. Enjoy!


Cabbage Kale Slaw

The addition of dried cranberries, pecans and feta make this salad a picnic favorite!

Summer Cabbage Kale Salad

This summer salad makes the most of the late spring/early summer vegetables and packs well for picnics!

Makes 8 servings

2 cups of kale (sliced thin and massaged for a few minutes before adding to bowl)

1/2 cup finely chopped carrots

1 cup finely chopped cabbage

1 cup chopped broccoli

1/2 cup cranberries

1/4 cup chopped pecans

Dressing: 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 tablespoon honey and salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, mix kale, broccoli, cabbage and cranberries. Toss with salad. Add the pecans just before serving so that they stay crunchy!

Ginger Peach Dessert with Coconut

Dress up some peaches with ginger and coconut.

Gingered Peaches with Toasted Coconut

If you don’t have time to make this dessert, feel free to bring fresh local peaches and just slice when you get to your destination. However, if you have a little time to toss in some candied ginger and toasted coconut to some sliced peaches, your taste buds will thank you! Pack it all together and chill or put it together when you get there so the peaches are not brown. Remember a picnic is flexible and fun!

I used 1 tablespoon of toasted coconut and 1 teaspoon chopped candied ginger per peach.

Sparkling Lemonade and Mint

Sometimes when something reaches perfection, why change it? That is why I am sharing Vegetarian Time’s Lemonade Recipe. Basil is from the mint family so feel free to use either mint or basil or both. Experiment with different basil for some fine like purple or Thai basil. Cut the sugar back to 1/2 cup if you like it tart and don’t want so much sugar. Experiment with stevia, honey or even sorghum. Drink up it’s hot!

For more picnic ideas check out my blog post below for another fresh and tasty menu with healthy food recipes! Sign up for my blog so you don’t miss a post because I have another great menu using local foods available from your local farmers’ markets.

3 Summer Picnics to Make this Summer!

As a registered dietitian nutritionist in Asheville, I want to keep things fun, fresh and seasonal when it comes to planning healthy meal ideas! You can find out more about what I do here! Have a wonderful rest of the summer and come back to see what’s happening on my blog and the rest of the Vine Ripe Nutrition website! I hope you get out on a picnic!




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