Hello everyone, and happy July!
It seems that summer has finally arrived after a late bout of spring! For a while there, I was still craving soups with all of the rain we have had, but it has paid off with copious greenery now showcased with abundant sunshine. What to do to enjoy all of this beautiful greenery? A picnic, of course!
As Superfoods fans, it can sometimes be difficult when invited to a picnic, “will there be nourishing foods to eat?”. Whether you are creating your own picnic or arriving at the party with goodies to share, I have some great ideas that will impress and keep you healthy and satisfied.
I know people sometimes think salads get sad and soggy during picnic transport, even if the dressing is left to the side. Try the al fresco version of tableside service and bring your chopped or grilled veggies, oil, vinegar, and spices in mason jars or small containers and combine them just before you’re ready to eat. Also, consider your greens; I prefer mesculin and arugula that taste great if they’re a little warm, or I choose a heartier green if I know the dressing or accompaniments such as grilled portobellos, zucchini or eggplant. For this, think chard, collards, kale or a leafy romaine.
Another picnic favorite is pasta salad! Make your superfoods version with a quinoa pasta, which holds up well to dressings. Again, I prefer to dress these just before eating. It helps to make sure the pasta is al dente (not too soft, or it will be mushy when dressed) and cooled prior to making it into the salad. My mexaroni is great hot or cold — try it at your next picnic! You can add a drizzle of olive oil if you prefer.
Dr. Todd’s Mexaroni
- 1 lb. quinoa macaroni noodles
- 2 cups black beans
- 4 oz. olives without pits
- 4 medium sized tomatoes
- 1 green bell pepper
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp. chili powder
- ½ tsp. chipotle powder
- 3 ears corn
- 1 bunch cilantro (optional)
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
Optional: Jalapeno peppers or even habanero peppers—thinly slice these and sprinkle them right on top to dial up the heat.
These are also great soaked overnight in a bit of apple cider vinegar with a pinch of sea salt.
- Cook pasta as directed.
- While cooking the pasta, dice the olives, mince the garlic, cube the tomatoes, cut the corn from the cobs, slice the bell pepper into strips, and finely chop the cilantro. 3. Mix all these ingredients in with the cooked pasta when it is ready; for a muy caliente version, throw some of the hot peppers into the mix.
- If you prefer, chill the pasta before combining for a cold version of the salad. Equally delicioso!
See if you can come up with a Superfoods variation of your childhood picnic favorites! Your friends — and your body — will thank you!
Have a wonderful July and August!