Between the welcome warmth of the sun’s rays and a nearly universal desire to get outdoors, springtime is a beloved season for enjoying an al fresco meal. Add in fresh produce to heighten the flavors of family favorites and the table is set for a delicious picnic.
Whether your warm-weather adventures take you to a nearby park, a neighbor’s patio or simply your own backyard, satisfying those spring cravings often starts with plant-forward dishes. From tomatoes and onions to mushrooms, Brussels sprouts and other fruits and veggies, you can rely on Mother Nature to give picnic recipes a boost.
For example, these fresh ideas from Aramark’s Feed Your Potential program offer easy solutions to take your loved ones outdoors for a meal all can enjoy. As a popular springtime lunch, sandwiches provide the opportunity to customize servings according to each person’s preferences.
These Portobello Mozzarella Sandwiches are a plant-forward version loaded with grilled mushrooms, fresh mozzarella, pesto mayo, arugula, and a balsamic glaze on ciabatta rolls. For an added touch of freshness, a homemade tomato bruschetta topping combines tomatoes, red onions, basil and more to capitalize on a peak produce season.
No picnic is complete without a side that perfectly complements the main course. For a delicious solution that’s fast and easy to make, try a new twist on an al fresco classic: coleslaw. A healthy accompaniment to the sandwiches, this Apricot Brussels Sprouts Coleslaw is an ideal spring dish that calls for less than 10 ingredients and requires simple prep so you can make it fresh before heading out the door.
Portobello Mozzarella Sandwiches
Tomato Bruschetta Topping:
1/4 pound fresh plum tomatoes, cored and diced
2 tablespoons red onion, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pinch ground black pepper
1 pinch fresh garlic, peeled and finely minced
1 pound fresh portobello mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed, sliced thin
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 1/2 tablespoons prepared basil pesto
4 ciabatta rolls (4-by-4 inches), split in half
4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced small
4 ounces tomato bruschetta topping
2 ounces fresh baby arugula
1/4 cup balsamic glaze
To make tomato bruschetta topping: In bowl, combine tomatoes, onion, basil, olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic. Set aside.
To make sandwiches: Preheat grill pan or grill to medium heat.
Toss sliced mushrooms with olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Grill mushrooms until fork-tender, 3-4 minutes on each side. Let cool.
Mix mayonnaise with pesto until combined. Spread 2 tablespoons pesto mayonnaise on cut sides of each roll.
For each sandwich, layer 1/4 of grilled mushrooms, mozzarella slices, tomato bruschetta topping, arugula and balsamic glaze.
Top with other roll halves. Cut diagonally in half to serve.
Apricot Brussels Sprouts Coleslaw (pictured above)
Recipe courtesy of Aramark
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups trimmed and shredded Brussels sprouts
1 cup dried apricot, diced
1 cup red onion, trimmed and diced
Combine mustard, honey, sugar, salt and pepper. Mix well.
Add Brussels sprouts, apricot and onion; toss to coat.
Visit Aramark’s Feed Your Potential website, fyp365.com, to find more picnic-worthy recipe ideas.