/> Clean Convenient Cuisine: Have A Picnic!

Clean Convenient Cuisine

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Have A Picnic!

The weather is cooling off, and what better way to celebrate than having a picnic? Don't fret if you don't have a basket - as long as you have glass containers and a cooler, you are set. Come up with a theme. Feeling French? Italian? Mexican? For us, we decided on easy Mediterranean cuisine.

First, decide on dishes that will be portable and easy to eat. Obviously, sandwiches and fruit are obvious choices (and if this is the easiest thing, then by all means, do it). But, sometimes it's fun to get a little creative and fancy, even if it's in your own backyard.

For our picnic, we decided to make dishes that have a lot of the same ingredients, so our shopping trip can be simplified (see master grocery list at end). We are making the following:

Parsley Tabbouleh
Chopped Greek Salad With Chicken
Baked Falafel
Hummus and Pita

Parsley Tabbouleh

1 cup water
1/2 cup bulgar
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
2 cups finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
2 tomatoes, diced
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
4 scallions, thinly sliced

Combine water and bulgur in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, cover and let stand until the water is absorbed and the bulgur is tender (about 20 minutes or according to directions). After it is ready, transfer to a large bowl and let cool for 15 minutes.

Combine lemon juice, oil, garlic and pepper in a small bowl. Add parsley, mint, tomatoes, cucumber and  scallions to the bulgur. Add the dressing and toss. You can serve at room temperature or chill for an hour before serving.

Greek Salad With Chicken

1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbs. chopped fresh dill (or oregano)
1 tsp. garlic powder
6 cups chopped romaine
2 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken (or buy a rotisserie chicken and save some time)
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup olives (optional)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (or avocado if you don't want the cheese)

Whisk vinegar, oil, dill and garlic powder in a large bowl. Add lettuce, chicken, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, olives and feta. Toss to coat.

Baked Falafel

1 19 oz. can of chickpeas, drained and washed
1 small onion, finally chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tbs.. fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 1/2 tbs. wheat gluten
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. olive oil

Drizzle oil evenly in shallow baking dish. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While oven is preheating, mash chickpeas in food processor or with hands. Add onions and garlic and blend together. Add remaining ingredients. (It should be a nice, thick paste.) Shape into ping pong sized balls and place in preheated baking dish. Bake for 15-20 minutes, turning halfway through cooking.

Hummus and Pita
(If you want to save time, just purchase hummus at the store)

3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
1 tbs. lemon juice
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 tsp paprika
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tbs. fresh parsley, chopped

Combine everything in blender and process until smooth. If you need more liquid, add more yogurt. Chill.

You can layer your pita by stuffing some of the salad, hummus and falafel with a side of tabbouleh. Don't forget a blanket, plastic utensils, napkins, bottled water and some wine!!

Master Grocery List:

1 bottle extra-virgin olive oil
1 bottle red wine vinegar
3 cloves garlic
lemon juice
3 cups flat-leaf parsley
fresh dill
fresh mint
4 tomatoes, diced
1 red onion
2 cucumbers
4 scallions
avocado (optional)
feta cheese
garlic powder
wheat gluten
baking powder
2 19 oz. can of chickpeas, drained and washed
plain greek yogurt


  1. This looks amazing and I love the master grocery list!!! So helpful!

  2. I've never had baked falafel. Does it taste good? Is there a healthy sauce to dip it in? I can't think of what they normally use... that white stuff?

  3. You could do a healthy tzatziki sauce with cucumbers, garlic and greek yogurt. You can grate cucumber (after it's been seeded) and mix the pulp with yogurt, lemon juice, garlic and pepper. Refrigerate before serving.

  4. my mouth is watering! i am taking my family on a picnic tomorrow!

  5. Lovely recipes! I lived in the Middle East (Ramallah, Palestine) and loved the food, much of it very nutritious.

    So many people these days don't know how to cook anymore, and are so intimidated, so what you are doing with your site might just be what many people need. The master shopping list is a great idea, too.

    Good luck! (Found you at A-List Blogging Club.)

  6. Miss, Footloose, thanks so much for the warm words! I think you nailed it exactly when you said people are intimidated. I used to be one of them... I thought to be a good cook, you had to spend a lot of money, and use really heavy ingredients to accomplish that "rich" taste. Now, I know that couldn't be further from the truth. I learned to use healthy ingredients and just cook the dishes I like. Once you get comfortable, you can branch out from there. Thanks again!