Summer Picnic Food Ideas
We’re finally seeing the signs of summer: long days, warm breezes, red sunsets and of course, fresh food. British Columbia, Canada, is bountiful with locally-grown, in season produce choices. Now is the time to experiment with colourful, creative menu ideas. The more colour, the more nutrients. So whether life is a picnic, a backyard barbecue, or lunch in the park, add some spark to old-time favourites.
- Toss potato and pasta salads with red, green or yellow peppers. Throw in some cherry tomatoes, zucchini or yellow squash for a rainbow of colour.
- Brighten up a chicken or turkey salad by adding big chunks of peaches or apricots; enjoy a burst of flavour in every bite.
- Greens go great with papaya or mango strips; top with an herb vinaigrette or fruit flavoured yogurt dressing.
- Tuck favourite sandwich fillings into Italian focaccia bread; layer with strips of cheese and tomato slices, sprinkle with fresh herbs and drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
Don’t forget the fluids. Children especially are prone to fluid loss when playing in the sun. While ice water is your best bet, the following ideas may beat the heat and add some fun.
- In a blender, puree chunks of peaches, pears or nectarines, along with a tablespoon of lemon juice. Pour into ice cube containers and freeze until firm. Serve as ice cubes in chilled water or as a popsicle treat.
- Spice up regular lemonade by adding cranberry or raspberry juice. Dilute sweet drinks well with water as sweet drinks may increase thirst.
- Mix up a fruit spritzer by adding soda water to 100% fruit juices. Try freezing it until just slushy and eat with a spoon.
This light, elegant dish provides a welcome change to the usual picnic fare. Best of all, it can be made a day ahead.
3 tbsp. balsamic or red wine vinegar
2 tsp. olive oil
1/4 cup fresh, chopped basil
1 small eggplant, sliced into thin rounds
1 zucchini, sliced thinly
1 yellow squash, sliced thinly
1 red pepper, sliced thinly
1 small red onion, sliced thinly
1/4 cup 2% plain yogurt
2 tbsp. low fat mayonnaise
1 tbsp. fresh, chopped basil
1 tsp. lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 450 F. Blend vinegar, oil and basil. Add vegetables, tossing to coat.
- Place vegetables in roasting pan and cook, stirring occasionally until tender, about 30 minutes.
- Whisk together ingredients for yogurt spread.
- Spread yogurt mixture on pita halves, crusty rolls or focaccia bread. Top with veggie mixture and serve
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