Spring has sprung! These warmer days call for activities that take you outside, like spring picnics, with your blankets spread out in parks and lawns where you can soak up some sun. And when you’re eating a gluten-free diet, there are plenty of great menu options to fill up your basket while you do! To give you fresh inspiration in this season of fresh buds and beauty, here are some ideas to get you started:
Filling and nutritious, quinoa is a grain-like seed that makes a wonderful picnic item. Combine it with favorite vegetables and seasonings, and you’re good to go — but if you want some more specific direction, try these mouth-watering recipes:
- Quinoa with Mushrooms over Arugula / Camille Styles: Combining cooked quinoa with mushrooms sautéed in olive oil and garlic salt creates a winning combination that’s only improved by fresh add-ins like green onions and parsley.
- Southwestern Quinoa Salad / Kalyn’s Kitchen: One of gluten-free blogger Kalyn’s favorite ways to prepare quinoa, this Southwestern salad packs bell pepper, black beans, green onion and cilantro into a quinoa salad dressed with spicy, lime-infused flavor.
2. Potato Salad
You can’t beat an age-old picnic classic like potato salad, except when you take it up a notch with new twists. Plus, as a bonus, potato salad is designed to be naturally free of gluten, making it an easy choice! Here are a few cool, unique varieties on that theme:
- Karina’s Roasted Butternut Squash and New Potato Salad / Gluten-Free Goddess: Roasted new potatoes, roasted squash and seasonings like garlic, thyme, oil and vinegar make this simple potato salad a standout.
- Warm Honey Mustard Potato Salad with Green Beans / Farm Fresh Direct: For another mayo-free take on potato salad, try this version that combines sliced red or white potatoes with green beans, honey mustard, vinegar, oil and red onion.
3. Leafy Greens
Load up on nutrients while enjoying a flavorful, fresh salad packed with greens like spinach, kale, chard or arugula! When you standard salad won’t do, here are some new ideas to try:
- Chopped Kale Salad / What’s Cooking Good Looking: It’s a honey ginger dressing that sends this kale salad over the top, along with chickpeas, chopped green onions, chopped almonds, sesame seeds and the option of added avocado.
- Beet and Arugula Salad with Sunflower Seed Vinaigrette / Prevention Magazine: After roasting the beets, assembling this salad takes mere minutes — but the combination of sweet beets with fresh arugula and crumbled goat cheese is anything but ordinary.
4. Dips and Spreads
Chop up a bunch of veggies or pack your favorite gluten-free chips or pitas, and bring along one of these spreadable items — perfect finger foods:
- Guacamole: You hardly need a recipe for gluten-free guacamole, which, at its heart, is a combination of avocado and other fresh ingredients to create a creamy, spicy dip. But for fresh takes on the classic, try this smoked chile and mango version from Food & Wine or make the most of spring asparagus in asparagus guacamole from Epicurious.
- Hummus: Beyond the age-old classic of pureed chickpeas, tahini and flavorings, try making a hummus with a kick like almond apricot hummus or spinach and artichoke hummus.
Of course, the above ideas only scratch the surface of fun picnic options, especially since they don’t include dessert — and if you’re looking for a new gluten-free treat, try coconut tarts from Deliciously Organic or the raw berry cream pie from Food Loves Writing. You could also pack sandwiches made on your favorite gluten-free bread, fresh fruit, cheese, roast chicken — the list goes on!
What are your favorite spring picnic recipes? What gluten-free items will you be packing up for the park this month? Whatever it is, one thing’s for sure: This season makes it easy to enjoy.
About the author:
Steven Musumeche, owner of The Picnic World, is an avid outdoorsman and picnic guru from Lafayette, LA. In his spare time, he enjoys playing the piano, fishing, camping, and spending time with his wife, daughter and three pet beagles.