Tag Archives: sangria

Time for a Yummy Vegan Picnic!

It's summer and vegan picnic timeAttention all other seasons: summer kicks your booties!

With the weather warm, the flowers blooming, the sun sparkling and such an abundance of ripe fruits and tasty veggies available, it’s such a great time for a picnic. But when I add the word “vegan” to “picnic,” it creates terror in some of my carnivore friends. It’s pretty funny to watch. “But, but, but, what do you serve at a vegan picnic? Carrot sticks and raw broccoli?”  They look so horrified, so I usually respond with something like: “Of course not! We prefer cow patties sandwiched between pieces of tree bark. Duh!” Seriously, why are some people so flipped out about vegan food? It can be unbelievably delicious and a breeze to make, and bonus – it’s good for you, great for the environment, and even better for all the animals you’re saving.

To make things easier (and yummier) for your next picnic, here are my top 5 original creations of perfectly picnickable (that’s a word, right?) vegan dishes, and one spectacular summer beverage that will make your next outing out-of-this-world.

Pomegranate-Mango Guacamole

Mango-Pomegranate Guacamole and Chips

Hot damn, this guacamole will make your mouth so happy…even if you hate avocados (as my converting-carnivore husband and I do). Mmm, the lightly sweet mango and the unexpected tiny bright bits of pomegranate really make this guac amazing. Just pop it in a tupperware container and toss it in your picnic basket.

Thai Sweet Chili and Lime Edamame 

This has to be one of the easiest and yummiest thing you can whip up in 5 minutes. Can’t you just taste the lime, garlic and slightly piquant Thai sweet chili sauce? It’s lick-your-fingers good! This edamame dish is great at room-temp, so it’s perfect for summer outings.

Thai Spiced Peanuts and Smoky Spanish Cashews Smoky Spanish Spiced Cashews

No description needed, right? The title alone says it all – awesomeness awaits your taste buds! Throw these in a baggie and try your best not to eat them on the way to your picnic. (Note: do not try to eat just one. It is impossible).

Peanut-Sauce Glazed Noodles and Veggies

Let’s keep with the Thai theme, shall we? These Thai-style noodles with a truly delicious peanut sauce and sautéed veggies is an awesome cold dish, and it takes no time at all to make.

Grilled veggie sandwich with romesco sauce

Grilled Veggie Sandwiches with Romesco Sauce

If you haven’t had romesco sauce before, please, do yourself a favor and drop whatever you’re doing and make it right this very second! Your taste buds will thank you! It’s a super easy-to-make thick sauce that’s unreal as a sandwich spread, especially with roasted veggies. You won’t believe that it’s made from blanched almonds, roasted red peppers, sourdough bread, balsamic vinegar and couple spices – they blend together to make a sauce that’s even better than the sum of its parts. It is truly spectacular and will probably make you moan with joy a little bit.

And lastly, Summer Sangria

This is my most favorite and dangerous drink! Throw your favorite ripe, juicy summer fruits in there – peaches, strawberries, blueberries, melons – and savor the refreshing flavors of the season in this happy little sangria. But watch out – the light, fruity flavors are so good that you probably won’t taste the alcohol at all, so if you’re like me, you’ll likely drink one (or four) more glasses than you can actually handle. So you may be stumbling home from your picnic, but trust me, it’ll be worth it.

Happy picnicking!

Seriously spectacular sangria

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Spectacular Sangria

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that the rough translation of sangria is: “awesome dinner party.” Is it a coincidence that John and I seem to have the most fantastic dinners with friends whenever we serve this spectacular sangria? Or that the food tastes extra delicious when accompanied by a big glass of this luscious, subtly sweet, ruby-colored nectar of the gods? I think not. And if you’re wondering what this has to do with Operation Carnivore Conversion, well, let’s just say that when John has a glass or three of this divine elixir, he’s far more willing to try new vegan dishes that he might otherwise deem as “suspect foods” when he’s not so well lubricated.

Whenever I make this, it disappears in a flash and everyone begs me for my secret recipe, and now I’m finally sharing it. Make some tonight and bring on the smiles!

Cimeron’s Spectacular Sangria

Serves: 6

– 1 bottle dry red wine – I’ve found that Italian sangiovese works best
– 1 bottle dry white wine – my favorite for this recipe is sauvignon blanc from New Zealand
– The juice of one lemon, preferably a meyer lemon
– 1 cup sugar
– 1 lemon, thinly sliced into circles or half moons and seeded
– 1 seedless orange, sliced into half moons
– A large handful of sliced strawberries, pineapple or nectarines

In a large pitcher, pour in the wines, sugar and lemon juice. Stir well until all the sugar has dissolved. Toss in the sliced lemon and orange. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, but preferably overnight. An hour or so before serving, add the other sliced fruit (strawberries, pineapple or nectarines). When you’re ready to serve it, toss in some ice cubes. Enjoy!