Recipes for a delightful Summer Picnic
By Swami Bhagavatananda
1. Mediterranean Vegetable Quiche
2. Rocket-Carrot Salad with lemon dressing
3. Olive-Rosemary Bread
4. Avocado-Tomato Spread
5. Peach-Almond Muffins
6. Mango Lassi
Truly, is there a more relaxing way to have a meal out than a casual picnic with friends or family, somewhere in nature? With all the delicious treats spread out on a blanket, there is no need to bother about table manners, because there is no table! No dress code, either! The delight of eating with one’s fingers and stretching out in the shade of a tree for a post-meal digestive nap while listening to a lullaby from the birds in the branches above has “summer vacation” written all over it, even if you just meet up for your picnic after work in a park. All our picnic recipes are vegan and gluten-free or offer vegan and gluten-free alternatives.
This Mediterranean-style quiche is chock-full of vitamins and makes a perfect summer meal, whether served hot or at room temperature. Cover it with Cling Film and leave it in the cake tin to take it to your picnic.
For the pastry:
200g whole-wheat flour or spelt flour (gluten free option: 100g buckwheat flour, 100g rice flour)
100g oil (olive or sunflower or rape-seed)
½ tsp salt
For the filling:
400g fennel bulbs, diced
400g swiss chard, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
150 g feta cheese
100ml milk (or a little more, depending on the texture of the ricotta)
(for vegans: 500g silken tofu and 2 tsp salt instead of Feta, Ricotta and milk)
½ tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp ground nutmeg
2 tbsp minced fresh sage or rosemary (or a mixture of both)
2 tsp lemon juice
½ bunch fresh basil leaves
1. To make the pastry: combine the flour, oil and salt with just enough cold water to form a crumbly pastry dough. Press the pastry into a lightly oiled tart case or round cake tin, pulling the dough up on the sides to form a 2cm high rim. Put it into the fridge for 20 minutes. Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6 and blindbake the pastry for 10 minutes.
2. For the filling: Heat the olive oil in a saucepan, add the chopped veggies, pepper and nutmeg, cover with a lid and cook on medium flame for 15 minutes until the veggies are tender. Remove from the stove and add the sage or rosemary.
3. Whisk the crumbled feta cheese, ricotta and milk into a thick sauce (vegans: whisk the silken tofu with salt until it turns sauce-like). Spread the veggies on the pastry, cover with the sauce and bake the quiche for about 25 minutes until golden brown. (200C/fan 180C/gas 6).
Drizzle with lemon juice, garnish with basil leaves and serve.
Rocket-Carrot Salad with Lemon Dressing
This salad stimulates our taste buds by balancing out the sweetness of the carrots with the purifying bitterness of the rocket. The lemon dressing gives it a tangy touch. To keep the salad fresh and crisp, store the dressing in a small container and pour it over the salad only 10 minutes before the start of the meal.
1 bunch rocket
8 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp salt
1 pinch ground black pepper
1. Peel and roughly grate the carrots. Wash, drain and chop the rocket and mix with the carrots.
2. To prepare the dressing, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and mix the dressing with the salad.
Bursting with flavour due to the fresh herbs and olives, this bread is a delicious snack just by itself. It also goes well with any kind of salad or savoury bread spread, which makes it a perfect picnic treat. You can prepare it the evening before, using a bread-maker or just your hands.
For 1 loaf
400g wholegrain flower: wheat or spelt or kamut
(gluten-free option: 200g buckwheat flour + 200 g rice flour)
4 tbsp olive oil
15 pitted olives, halved (black or green)
4 tbsp finely minced fresh rosemary
1 tsp salt
½ tsp bread yeast
3 tsp baking powder
2 tsp raw cane sugar (or 2 tablespoons of syrup like maple, rice,
agave or date syrup)
6 tbsp seeds (any kind, like pumpkin, sunflower, linseed or a mixture
of various seeds)
With a bread maker:
Fill all ingredients into the machine except the seeds and olives. Put the machine on setting “whole meal” and toss in 4 tablespoons of seeds and the olives after the first cycle. Sprinkle the top with the remaining seeds before the baking cycle starts.
Without a bread maker:
1. Knead all ingredients into an elastic dough (keep 2 tablespoons of seeds), adding the olives in the end. Cover with a moist cloth and keep it at a warm place for one hour to allow the flour to rise.
2. Knead the dough again, fill it into a square cake tin and let is rise for another 30 minutes.
3. Sprinkle with the remaining seeds and bake on 225°C for about 40 minutes. Let it cool down a little and remove it from the cake tin.
4. Let the bread cool down completely, slice it and serve it with the avocado-tomato spread.
Its creamy, velvety texture makes avocado the perfect base for a bread spread. Rich in vitamins and mono-unsaturated fats, it also promotes health. Make sure you are using ripe, but not over-ripe avocados. The pulp should be pale-green and easy to mash with a fork.
1 large, ripe Avocado
2 sundried tomatoes in oil (or 1 medium fresh tomato), very finely diced
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
½ tsp black pepper
4 tbsp fresh basil (torn)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1. Mash the avocado pulp with a fork, gently fold in the diced tomato, oil, salt, pepper, basil and lemon juice.
2. Garnish with a sliver of lemon and a few basil leaves.
A little basket of these muffins, filled with the fragrance of summer-fruits, makes your picnic complete.
Instead of peaches, try this recipe also with any other kind of juicy summer fruits: apricots, nectarines, blueberries or raspberries.
For 12 muffins
250g whole-wheat flour or spelt flour
(gluten free option: 125g rice flour, 125g buckwheat flour)
200g agave syrup or rice syrup (or raw cane sugar mixed with a little water)
100g almonds, skinned and sliced
4 ripe peaches, skinned and diced
100g sunflower oil or any other kind of mild vegetable oil
2 tbsp chia seeds (optional), soaked in 6 tbsp of water (mix well)
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp ground vanilla or 4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1. Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder and powdered vanilla.
2. Beat together the oil and the syrup.
3. Add the chia mixture and then add the flour mixture and stir well.
4. Add the fruits and almonds.
5. Spoon the batter into oiled muffin forms.
6. Bake in a preheated 175°C (350 F-degree) oven for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
This all-time favourite drink is a great picnic addition. According to ayurvedic principles, mango is the only fresh fruit that goes well with dairy products, so it isn’t recommended to replace it with any other kind of fruit.
2 small fresh mangos, soft and ripe
250g yoghurt (soy – or coconut yoghurt for vegans)
½ tsp cardamom powder
4 tsp rose water
8 saffron threads (optional), soaked in one teaspoon of warm water for
a few minutes
500ml cold water
6 tbsp agave syrup, rice syrup or light raw cane sugar
1. Peel and dice the mangos and put the mango cubes into a blender.
2. Add yoghurt, water, the syrup or cane sugar, rose water, cardamom and the saffron threads, including the soaking water.
3. Blend all ingredients into a creamy shake and fill the Lassi into a thermos to keep it cool for your picnic.