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Vegetarian Picnic Menu

Come Party With Me: Dolores Park Picnic — Menu

Dolores Park is San Francisco's see-and-be-seen picnic spot. On warm weekends, the park fills up with everyone from families to hipsters looking to soak up the sun. Since the weather here is unpredictable, rarely do I plan a picnic in advance. Every time my sister calls to invite me to D-Park, I simply grab whatever is in my fridge. However, with a warm week ahead of us, I promised her that I'd make the ultimate fresh, healthy picnic. The Mediterranean-inspired menu will consist of the regular store-bought suspects (salty cheeses, briny olives, cured meats, crispy crackers) supplemented with some homemade favorites.

I'll wrap eggplant caponata and mozzarella sandwich halves in parchment paper. Then, I'll pack two salads — three bean with honey-mustard vinaigrette and couscous with spiced zucchini — in reusable plastic containers. These vegetarian-friendly recipes are perfect for picnicking anywhere so why not add them to your repertoire? To do so read more.

Caponata Picnic Sandwiches

Caponata Picnic Sandwiches

Caponata Picnic Sandwiches

Ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Salt
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1(14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons raisins
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon drained capers
1 loaf ciabatta bread, cut crosswise into 6 equal pieces
2 garlic cloves, peeled
6 slices (1/3-inch-thick) drained fresh water-packed mozzarella

Directions

  1. Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the celery and saute until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the eggplant and saute until beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Season with salt. Add the red pepper and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes with their juices, raisins, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer over medium-low heat until the flavors blend and the mixture thickens, stirring often, about 20 minutes.
  4. Add the vinegar, sugar, and capers. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. Cut the bread pieces horizontally in half. Grill the bread cut-side down on a grill pan over medium-high heat until golden, about 2 minutes. Rub the whole garlic cloves over the toasted side of the bread.
  6. Add a slice of mozzarella to bread bottom, spoon the caponata on top, cover with the other bread half.
  7. Wrap the sandwiches separately in plastic wrap or parchment paper. Chill until ready to serve, or keep at room temperature up to 1 hour.

Serves 6.

Three-Bean Salad with Honey-Mustard Vinaigrette

Three-Bean Salad with Honey-Mustard Vinaigrette

Three-Bean Salad with Honey-Mustard Vinaigrette

Ingredients

Juice of 2 limes
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 pound haricots verts or green beans, trimmed and cut into thirds
1 cup canned kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 ounce mache or watercress, trimmed, rinsed, and spun dry
Freshly ground pepper

Directions

  1. Make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, tarragon, chives, honey, mustard, and salt until combined. Set aside.
  2. Prepare an ice bath; set aside.
  3. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add haricots verts or green beans; simmer until bright green but still crisp, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer haricots verts to ice bath, and let cool completely. Drain in a colander, and pat dry with paper towels.
  4. Place in a large serving bowl. Add kidney beans and cannellini, and drizzle with vinaigrette. Toss to coat. Gently toss in the mache or watercress; season with pepper. Serve.

Serves 4.

Couscous with Spiced Zucchini

Couscous with Spiced Zucchini

Couscous with Spiced Zucchini

Ingredients

1 cup reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plain couscous
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 lb zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Directions

  1. Bring broth with 1/4 teaspoon salt just to a boil in a small saucepan, then pour over couscous in a bowl and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside until ready to use.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté onion with 1/4 teaspoon salt, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 6 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and sauté, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add zucchini and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and sauté, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 5 minutes.
  4. Reduce heat to moderately low, then stir in coriander, chili powder, cumin, and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, 2 minutes. Gently stir zucchini mixture into couscous and cool to warm or room temperature. Just before serving, stir in mint and lemon juice.

Serves 4-6.

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