If you haven’t noticed yet, I am ‘pro-picnic’. I’m not sure if it’s because I love sandwiches and due to fond memories of childhood brown bag lunches, but I find it relaxing to head outdoors and plop down with delicious food.
Today’s picnic idea is one which I’ve played around with in the past. It features a vegetarian-friendly dried fruit and nut sandwich – chewy sweet dates, crunchy cashews and just a hint of citrus to brighten the flavors. I find the thick, chunky texture extremely satisfying and the flavor is downright delicious.
If you’re not a fan of dates, feel free to create your own mix – maybe apricots, pistachios and a drizzle of honey. You could also spice this up with a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg or cardamom.
1 cup pitted dates, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1/3 cup unsalted cashews, coarsely chopped
In a small bowl, combine dates, zest and orange juice. Stir to combine. Place half of the date mixture into a food processor or blender. Pulse until finely minced and the consistency of a thick paste.
Add the minced dates to the remaining coarsely chopped dates. Add cashews and stir until combined. Spread mixture on slices of whole grain bread.
Since the sandwiches are sweet, I decided to balance the flavor with a slightly acidic cucumber salad.
previously posted, the cucumber salad recipe
Finish off the picnic with the complete opposite of sweet … bitter. Select a good quality dark chocolate bar (this one is more than 70% cocoa), then dip pieces of it into a flavored sugar mix.
Dark Chocolate Dippers
1 dark chocolate bar (>70% cocoa)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
I like the simplicity of dipping a slightly bitter piece of chocolate into a bowl of orange scented sugar. You could also flavor the sugar with a vanilla bean pod.
To make the sugar stick, just give it a lick, then dip. If sharing with a larger crowd the dip-lick method might be unappealing, so consider providing individual baggies of sugar for each person.
Since this picnic features dried fruit, nuts, pickled cucumbers and chocolate, it packs easily and travels well. It’s perfect for a long road trip or long hike.
Where did I picnic?
I took my picnic to the top of a local ski hill (Grouse Mountain) which provided many ideal picnic locations and scenic views. Ski hills are often open during the summer for hiking, biking and other outdoor recreational activities. Access may be free or possibly a small fee, but it’s worth it — no snow, no long lift lines, and lots of amazing views.
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