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Picnic Baskets Yogi Bear Would Be Proud Of

August 3, 2012 by Andrea Godfreyson, Registered Dietitian

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I’m a total sucker for eating outside and summer screams for one-dish meals that can be easily carried down to the beach, park or even to a good old fashioned tailgate party.

I often like to use pasta as my canvas.

There are countless combinations of delicious flavours, textures and colours that can be used to continually reinvent meals. Pasta salad is kid-friendly, doesn’t need to be heated up and can be a meal in itself so you don’t need to think about side dishes. The fresh, simple taste of pasta infused with a bounty of vegetables and a bit of meat or seafood satisfies my hunger and feels light so I’m still motivated to toss around a disc or take up a game of bocce ball.

I spent some time with my fellow blog writers recently, salivating over pasta salad combinations, and we came up with six ideas that we all agreed would be great picnic options.

Try these flavour combinations or be creative and experiment with alternatives. I like to load up my pasta salads with veggies so they are less noodle and more veggie, but go ahead and play with the ingredient amounts.

For the dressings, start with a ratio of 3 parts oil, 1 part lemon juice or vinegar and then add more lemon juice or vinegar to taste. Feel free to add a clove of minced garlic to any of these for a bit of bite. Season each of the salads to cater to those you share food with.  For the noodles, shorter shapes or tubes work best, but use any pasta you like!

 

Use your noodle 5 Main Ingredients Dress it from your pantry/fridge
Penne (tubes with ridges)
  • Tomatoes
  • Red onion
  • Olives
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Sardines
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon juice

Orecchiette (shaped like little ears)
  • Roasted chicken
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Wilted spinach (steam or sauté before adding)
  • White sweet onion
  • Pesto sauce
  • Lemon juice
Cavatappi (corkscrew shaped macaroni)
  • Chickpeas
  • Cucumber
  • Tomatoes
  • Feta cheese
  • Fresh oregano
  • Olive oil
  • Red wine vinegar
 Farfalle (shaped like bow-ties)
  • Smoked salmon
  • Sundried tomato
  • Goat cheese
  • Asparagus
  • Capers
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon juice
Fusilli (triple edged spirals)

  • Canned clams
  • Zucchini
  • Bell peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Parsley
  • Olive oil
  • White wine vinegar
  • Lemon zest
  • Hot pepper flakes
Soft chow mein noodles, egg noodles or rice vermicelli
  • Cooked shredded beef/pork
  • Snow peas
  • Greenonions
  • Cashews
  • Cilantro
  • Peanut and sesame oil
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • Soy sauce (a splash is likely all you need)


 

Complete your picnic with some fresh cut-up fruit and a few semi-frozen filled re-useable water bottles (to drink and to keep things cool). Don’t forget to bring a blanket big enough for your planned guests and a few unplanned ones that you may pick up along the way.

What’s your signature pasta salad combination? We’d love to hear about your tried and true family recipes.


Related Posts:
Pass da pasta
Watch out for the gulls
The temperature is rising so get outdoors

Recommended Resources:
Picnicking, camping and hiking food safety tips

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