Picnics and summer go together like bread and butter. Summer was made for picnics…..or is it the other way around? Either way, we clearly have a passion for picnics and want to help you plan yours!
We recently dished out some basic guidelines and a checklist for the perfect picnic. We thought it would be a natural follow up to provide recipes for a some light and simple dishes ideal for al fresco dining.
Don’t forget to pack everything in lightweight, resealable containers and pack plenty of ice or ice packs for dishes that need to be kept cool.
1. Castelvetrano Spring Farro Salad
Prep Time: 10 min Total Time: 25 min Serves: 4-6
1 c. farro
1 c. shelled edamame
1 c. peas, (we used frozen)
1 c. broccolini, blanched and chopped
¼ c. green onions, thin sliced
½ c. Jeff’s Naturals™ Whole Castelvetrano Olives, cut off pit with paring knife or use a cherry pitter to easily remove the olive pit.
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 Tbsp. tarragon, fine chopped
2 Tbsp. parsley, fine chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Bring 6 cups of salted water to a boil. Add farro and cook uncovered for 10-15 minutes or until tender to bite. Farro has a natural bite and chewiness to it when it’s cooked through. Drain farro in a colander and set aside until slightly cooled.
In the meantime, in a large mixing bowl, add the edamame, peas, broccolini, green onions, olives, olive oil, lemon juice and zest.
Add farro to large mixing bowl and toss all ingredients together. Add the herbs, season with salt and pepper to taste and serve!
Chefs Note: Feel free to play with this recipe and use any vegetable or herb in season. Asparagus, green beans, thyme or basil would all be wonderful. It will taste the best when the produce is the freshest!
2. Deep Dish Party Pizzas
Prep Time: 15min Total Time: 40min Serves: 6
1 store bought pizza dough
¼ c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ c. Jeff’s Naturals Roasted Bell Pepper Strips, drained
½ c. Jeff’s Naturals Sliced Greek Kalamata Olives, drained
½ small onion, thinly sliced
½ c. sliced mushrooms
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 c. shredded mozzarella
1 c. Pizza Sauce
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Prep a muffin tin by lightly oiling the inside of every other cup. Divide pizza dough into 6 pieces. Lightly dust kitchen counter with flour and roll out each piece of dough to about 6 inch rounds. Line every other muffin cup with the dough and press into the molds around the sides and bottom.
Drizzle olive oil to coat a sauté pan on medium high heat. When hot, onion, mushrooms, and garlic; sauté about 7 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Drain vegetables of any excess liquid.
To prevent mini deep dish pizzas from being soggy on the bottom, first sprinkle mozzarella cheese, then add Roasted Bell Pepper Strips, Kalamata Olives and sautéed vegetables. Next, spoon some pizza sauce inside the cup and top with a few more pieces or shredded mozzarella, if you choose.
Use a pastry brush and lightly oil the edges of the pizza crust. Place into the oven and cook about 15 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Remove from cups when cool enough to handle.
3. Pasta Nicoise
Prep Time: 15 min Total Time: 1 hr 15 min Serves: 4
1/4 lb. fresh green beans, sliced diagonally into 1-inch pieces, lightly steamed
1/4 c. Jeff’s Naturals™ Pitted Greek Kalamata Olives
1/2 c. red onion, chopped
1/2 c. flat leaf parsley, minced
1 Tbsp. Jeff’s Naturals™ Imported Non-Pareil Capers
16 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. fresh oregano, minced
2- 6.5 oz. cans water-packed tuna, drained and flaked
1 lb. rotini (corkscrew pasta)
Combine green beans, olives, onion, parsley, capers and tomatoes in a large bowl. Combine garlic, olive oil, vinegar, mustard and oregano in a small jar and shake well. Pour dressing over vegetables and toss well. Let marinate in refrigerator for 1 hour.
Cook rotini according to package directions. Rinse and drain well. Toss warm pasta with tuna and marinated vegetables. Serve immediately.
4. Spinach and Feta Olive Turnovers
Prep Time: 35 min Total Time: 1 hour Serves: 6
1 store-bought frozen puff pastry package, (14 oz) thawed
10 oz. chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained to remove excess water
¾ c. ricotta
½ c. shredded mozzarella
½ c. crumbled feta
15 Jeff’s Naturals™ Feta Stuffed Olives, chopped
1 shallot, minced
3 Tbsp. parsley, fine chopped
2 tsp. crushed garlic
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
2-3 eggs, divided
Flour for dusting
Preheat oven to 400° F.
While the puff pastry thaws, in a large mixing bowl combine the chopped spinach, cheeses, olives, shallot, parsley, spices and seasoning. Add one beaten egg to mixture and stir to thoroughly combine. Cover and set aside until needed for assembly.
On a floured surface, gently roll out the puff pastry to about a 12×16 inch piece. With a cookie cutter and a ruler, cut puff pastry into 3-inch squares.
Place a tablespoon of the spinach mixture into the center of each square. Beat the remaining egg with a splash of water for an egg wash. With your finger, spread some egg wash along 2 sides of the pastry. Fold pastry over and seal with your fingers. Take a fork that has been dipped in flour and crimp the edges completely closed.
Place turnovers on a parchment lined or greased baking sheet. Use remaining egg wash and brush the turnovers with a pastry brush.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot and enjoy!
Chefs Note: Try Napa Valley Bistro™ pasta sauce for a dipping sauce.
5. Roasted Red Pepper, Goat Cheese and Baby Arugula Panini
Prep Time: 5 min Total Time: 10 min Serves: 4
8 slices Artisan fresh baked bread (thinly sliced)
1 jar Jeff’s Naturals™ Roasted Red Bell Peppers, drained and diced
Jeff’s Naturals™ Sliced Golden Greek Peperoncini
Jeff’s Naturals™ Sliced Kalamata Olives
1 bag baby arugula
3-4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
8 oz. fresh goat cheese
Generously spread one slice of bread with fresh goat cheese. Add roasted red pepper strips, peperoncini, kalamata olives and baby arugula leaves. Top with second piece of bread and press together.
Brush both sides of bread with olive oil. Use a panini press or skillet to crisp the sandwiches. Remove when golden brown and the cheese warms and softens.
6. Farro Salad with Blue Cheese Stuffed Olives
Prep Time: 5 min Total Time: 20 min Serves: 4-6
1 c. farro
1 shallot, minced
2 ½ Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 ½ Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
½. dried cranberries or cherries
½ c. Jeff’s Naturals™ Blue Cheese Stuffed Olives, sliced
1/3 c. slivered almonds, toasted
½ c. roasted garlic cloves (can purchase in most specialty food stores)
1 apple, diced and coated with lemon juice to prevent oxidization
½ c. smoked mozzarella, cut into small cubes
Salt and pepper to taste
Bring 6 cups of water to a boil and add farro. Let cook about 10 minutes until tender to bite. Drain farro in a colander and set aside.
While faro is cooking, add the minced shallot, balsamic, olive oil, parsley with some salt and pepper to taste, in a large mixing bowl. Add the cooked faro and mix to coat. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine.
Great served room temp or cold.