Need an excuse to hang out with friends in the fresh summer air, now that the Memorial Day and Fourth of July festivities have passed? Well, here you go: July is National Picnic Month! Grab the blanket, sunscreen and Fido. Leave the laptop. Whether you're venturing to Central Park or your own backyard, enjoy the sunshine and picnic-perfect dishes below.
These recipes are straight from Eat + Run nutrition experts, who were asked to share a dish that's healthy, easy to transport and can stay tasty and safe outside the refrigerator. Whichever recipe you choose, make sure to pair it with plenty of water to keep you hydrated and healthy enough to picnic another day.
The following recipes are perfect for your next picnic:
Mitzi Dulan's Strawberry Salad
1 pound mixed romaine
1 pint strawberries
4 ounces crumbled bleu cheese
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 pinch of ground black pepper
Cut the greens, slice the strawberries and toast the pecans; set aside in separate containers for each until arriving at the picnic. Mix dressing ingredients and store separately as well. When ready to serve, mix all ingredients together.
[Read more from Mitzi Dulan.]
Bonnie Taub-Dix's Guac-Humm-Mole
2 ripe avocados
1/2 cup hummus
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoons chopped onion (or one small white onion)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley or cilantro
Juice from one fresh lime
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
3 plum tomatoes, cut into cubes
Cayenne pepper (optional)
In the bowl of a food processor, add avocados, hummus, Greek yogurt, garlic, onion, parsley, lime juice, salt and pepper. Combine until creamy.
Add cubed tomatoes to food processor. Pulse two or three times until tomatoes are chopped, but don't over-pulse.
Garnish with a sprig of parsley. Serve with cut up veggies or whole grain tortilla chips.
Tip: Keep the avocado pit and add it to the mixture to keep it greener longer, or add an extra squeeze of lime juice.
[Read more from Bonnie Taub-Dix.]
Elisa Zied's Fruity Chicken Salad via Chef Paolo Casagranda
2 small red apples, cut into strips
1 1/2 cups canned corn kernels
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced fennel
1 pint red cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
1 1/2 avocados, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
7 cups of greens (such as arugula frisee, or radicchio), lightly chopped
5 medium organic chicken breasts, lightly pounded
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground pepper (optional)
Juice of 2 lemons
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
In a large bowl, mix apples, corn, raisins, celery, fennel, tomatoes, avocados and the greens.
Marinate the chicken breast in the balsamic vinegar, 1 1/2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil and salt and pepper for approximately 5 minutes.
Brush a large pan with extra virgin olive oil and set on medium to high heat. Grill the breasts on each side for 3 to 4 minutes and set aside. Once the chicken is cool to the touch, chop into half inch cubes. Add the chicken to the prepared salad ingredients.
In a separate bowl, mix together the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, remaining extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.
Add the dressing to the salad and toss gently.
Tip: In the summer, use fresh corn kernels for more sweetness and crunch.
Note: This recipe is from the book "Feed Your Family Right!" by Zied and Ruth Winter
[Read more from Elisa Zied.]
Tamara Duker Freuman's Watermelon-Cucumber Salad
1/2 watermelon, cubed
2 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced
1/4 cup mint leaves, chopped