It’s that time of year in Vero Beach: The summer heat hasn’t quite set in, your friends are all still in town and there’s plenty of reason to get outside and enjoy a meal al fresco. Whether you’re enjoying time out on the water by boat, cruising to the beach on your bike or simply packing up a lunch to bring over to a friend’s house, we’ve got you covered. This month’s recipes are perfectly portable — ideal for a picnic. Each one can stand alone as a light lunch, or you can make all three for a complete feast on the go.
These dishes all lean toward the healthier side of picnic food, packed with nutrients without sacrificing flavor. If you are indeed transporting them, they’ll pack up easily and travel well. Feel free to assemble individual portions at home; for example, the broccoli salad would do well in small mason jars with lids, or assembled chicken salad sandwiches can be wrapped separately in parchment paper and secured with tape. These days, there are plenty of options if you’re being mindful to avoid single- use plastics, as most of us are.
No picnic plans? No problem. These recipes also earn bonus points for both their make-ahead and leftover potential, keeping well in your refrigerator for several days. The roasted beet hummus is the perfect spread to set out for cocktail hour and looks gorgeous surrounded by a bounty of colorful raw vegetables for dipping. The tarragon chicken salad might become your new weekday lunch staple; throw it over some greens to keep it light or toast up your favorite bread for a quick sandwich. The chopped broccoli salad is easy enough to throw together when you’re asked to bring something to a potluck party. Your fellow guests are sure to rave.
Roasted Beet Hummus
Beets lend a bright pink hue to classic hummus in this pretty and versatile dip. Serve it with mixed fresh-vegetable crudites and crackers. Any extra will keep well in the refrigerator for up to a week. It also tastes great as a spread on sandwiches.
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
- 2 small cooked beets
- 2 15-ounce cans garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup tahini
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds for serving
In a skillet, saute the onion with a splash of olive oil over medium heat until it starts to brown. Remove from heat and transfer the cooked onion to a blender. Add the rest of the olive oil, beets, garbanzo beans, garlic, lemon juice, tahini and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Blend until smooth, adding more salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with sesame seeds.