Living in the Southern California Wine Country, lunch with friends at a small winery tends to happen often. With hiking or trail running as my workout of choice, my lunch is often a light picnic I pack with me and enjoy before heading down the other side of the mountain. Whether it’s a winery, a park, a mountaintop, or your own backyard, picnics are kind of magical. Most importantly, it’s a way to “get out” without having to worry about the toxic ingredients hidden in restaurant food.
Personally, I follow a mostly gluten- and dairy-free diet. However, I always pack a baguette to please my picnic buddy and invite them to bring along some good quality cheese. With that being said, here’s what I pack in my picnic basket.
Healthy Picnic Foods
• Hard-boiled eggs
• Seasonal fruit
• Marinated olives
• Pea Pesto (recipe below)
• Steamed Asparagus
• Sliced tomatoes
• A small jar of local olive oil
• Gluten-free crackers
• Cloth napkins
To be kind to Mother Earth, I pack my food in mason jars and wrap them in my cloth napkins before placing them in my basket. A cooler or a backpack with ice is also convenient, if you prefer. A few simple items are all you need for a satisfying and light lunch. I use the pea pesto for the hard-boiled eggs, while friends usually pair it with the baguette and cheese. The steamed asparagus and tomatoes usually get a drizzle of olive oil and fruit is saved for dessert. Of course, there are no rules when it comes to what types of food to bring. Smoked fish, broccoli salad, or veggie sandwiches are some of my other favorites.
Simple Pea Pesto Recipe
• 2 cups peas, shelled or thawed
• Juice and zest of 1 lemon
• 1 clove garlic
• 1/2 cup unsalted walnuts
• Pinch of sea salt
• 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1. Place all ingredients, excluding the olive oil, in a blender or a food processor and blend to combine.
2. When peas are broken down and the mixture is almost smooth, add the olive oil and blend just to combine.
3. Place in a jar or airtight container. This pesto will keep refrigerated for up to one week.
4. Serve on pasta, gnocchi, potatoes, eggs, bread, or as a dip for vegetables.
Photos by Malorie Davis
Malorie Davis is a classically trained chef, holistic nutrition counselor, wife, and mother. She created the True American Diet and has a passion for natural homemaking. Malorie offers up recipes and nutrition tips on her new blog Malorie Davis Nutrition, as well as online nutrition counseling services.