Nutrition & Recipes

The Health-Conscious Cookbook: Picnic Recipes

The Health-Conscious Cookbook: Picnic Recipes
Longer, warmer days means more time outside. Take your next meal with you to the beach, park, or playground for a picnic the whole family will love. Here are four non-traditional picnic recipes that are full of color and flavor. So ditch the silverware and grab a blanket and some sunscreen, instead. These recipes only require fingers to lick and sunshine to enjoy.

Pesto Hummus

Mash, blend, spread, and dip … hummus is a versatile treat and perfect for picnic foods. Here is a healthy, homemade version that’s irresistible.


  • 1 can garbanzo beans

  • 2-3 cloves of garlic-minced

  • 2 tablespoons of lemon Juice

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)

  • Salt to taste

  • ½ cup pesto sauce (jarred or homemade- see below)

Homemade Pesto Sauce:

  • 1 handful of basil

  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts (sauté over stove top w/olive oil until golden brown)

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • Salt to taste


Boil Garbanzo Beans for 30 minutes. Drain (leave a little water) When beans are soft, mix in all ingredients in the pot. Scoop into blender. Blend until pureed.

Enjoy Pesto with carrot sticks, celery sticks, tortilla chips, pita bread, crackers....

Coconut Curry Wraps

Thank you, Psalm Pollock, for the recipe


  • 2 large tortillas (whole wheat, spelt, or gluten free)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or ghee
  • 1 cup fresh veggies, chopped to roughly the same size (zucchini, carrots, cauliflower stem, kohlrabi, winter squash)
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1-2 tablespoons grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoons ground coriander (crushed in a mortar and pestle, or powder if needed)
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • Optional: Pinch Hing or Asafoetida
  • 2 handfuls fresh garden greens
  • Small handful sprouts
  • Real salt to taste
  • Optional decadence: Green ginger sauce (Recipe follows)

Heat oil in a medium skillet. Add veggies and toss for 3-5 minutes. Add coconut, salt, and spices. Toss until veggies are cooked through. DO NOT cover to expedite. Spoon into a tortilla, top with greens, sprouts and green ginger sauce. Pack in parchment and foil for a day in the park.

Green Ginger Sauce

In a Vitamix or processor, combine:

  • Handful cilantro or spinach
  • ½ inch piece of ginger
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • A few toasted almonds
  • A squeeze of lemon
  • Salt to taste
  • Optional: Cayenne pepper for some kick
Blend and voila!


This is the real deal. You can eat it with a spoon it's so good. I recommend serving it with blue corn chips, pita, or carrots.


  • 4 Avocadoes, soft
  • ½ cup Cilantro
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • 1 whole large ripe tomato
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Salt or Garlic Salt to taste

Mash Avocados (if you want it chunky, don't mash entirely). Dice cilantro, onion, and tomato. Mix together, with lime and (garlic) salt ....chill and serve. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper, hot sauce, or jalapenos for a little extra kick.

Energy Balls

Thank you, Dallas Brown, for the recipe

Need some energy post-picnic for beach fun or an afternoon hike? Try these energy balls, packed with power and flavor.


  • 1 cup oatmeal (you can use rolled oats & chop briefly in a coffee grinder)
  • 1/2 cup almond butter (or other nut butter)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed (ground in coffee grinder)
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup raw cacao (or mini chocolate chips)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. (Note: When you prepare the batter don't be alarmed if it comes out dry because it will moisten once it sets in the refrigerator. Mix the ingredients thoroughly and let it chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Once the mix is chilled, roll into balls and enjoy!

There are many variations on the recipe including adding maca powder, substituting different types of nut butters (i.e., peanut, almond, cashew) or adding different spices like cinnamon to create something warming, or ginger to make something more spicy. Depending on what type of nut butter you use, you can also add a dash of sea salt to help bring out the taste. I also like to freeze them as it turns into a cooling summer treat and they maintain the shape better when chilled.