Portable Picnic - Show #411

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Chickpea and Quinoa Salad in Sweet Pepper Boats

Makes 8 servings 


1 cup quinoa, rinsed thoroughly and drained

2 cups filtered or spring water

1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed

½ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

¾ cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced and sliced

1 teaspoon lemon zest

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon chili powder, plus more as needed

¼ teaspoon sea salt, plus more as needed

¼  teaspoon turmeric

4 large sweet red, yellow, or orange peppers

Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish (optional)

Put the quinoa and water in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 to 17 minutes, until all of the liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork.

Transfer to a medium bowl. Let cool (see note). Put the cooled quinoa, chickpeas, parsley, tomatoes, and olives in a large bowl. Put the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, chili powder, salt, and turmeric in a small bowl and whisk briskly until smooth. Pour the dressing over the quinoa mixture and stir gently to incorporate.

Taste and add more chili powder, salt, and/or olive oil if needed. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to let the flavors blend.

Right before serving, split the peppers in half lengthwise and seed them. Scoop the quinoa mixture into the pepper halves. Garnish with parsley, if using.

CHEF'S NOTE: The quinoa may be cooked up to 24 hours in advance and stored in the refrigerator.


Marinated Asparagus Salad

Makes 4 servings 


1 bunch asparagus, cleaned and trimmed

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 tablespoon reduced-sodium tamari

1 clove garlic, minced

To make the dressing, put the lemon juice, tamari, and garlic into a small bowl and briskly whisk until smooth and emulsified.

Steam the asparagus until crisp tender. Put the hot asparagus into a large bowl and add the dressing. Toss gently to coat the asparagus with the dressing. Cover and chill for 3 to 24 hours. Serve chilled, on a pretty platter or arranged over a bed of baby greens.


Chocolate Date-Nut Lollipops

Makes 8 to 10 lollipops



½ cup vegan dark chocolate

chips (grain-sweetened variety works well)

6 Medjool dates, pitted

¼ cup whole pecans

⅛ teaspoon vanilla extract


2 tablespoons pecans, walnuts, or hazelnuts, ground (optional)

2 tablespoons dark, nondairy cocoa powder (optional)

Put the vegan chocolate chips in a double boiler over medium-low heat. When the chocolate has melted, remove from the heat. Meanwhile, put the dates, pecans, and vanilla extract in a highperformance blending appliance and process to the consistency of soft dough. Transfer the date mixture to a medium bowl, pour in the melted chocolate, and stir until well-combined. Put the date mixture in the freezer for 7 to 15 minutes or until the chocolate has set enough to roll into small balls.

Line a small baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper. Spoon out a heaping tablespoon of the chocolate mixture, and quickly roll it into a ball. Roll it in one of the optional toppings until completely coated. Continue in this way, forming all of the remaining chocolate mixture into balls and coating them in one of the optional coatings.

Insert the end of a lollipop stick into each chocolate ball and place all lollipops upright in 2 separate mugs or shallow glasses, making sure they do not touch each other. Chill for 1 to 2 hours before serving. For a festive presentation, wrap each lollipop in cellophane and tie with a pretty ribbon. Stored in an airtight container, leftover lollipops will keep for up to 3 days.


Ginger Iced Tea

Makes 4 servings


1 quart filtered or spring water

2 to 4 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced

1 to 3 tablespoons maple syrup (to taste)

Bring the water to a boil over high heat in a tea kettle. Place the minced ginger and maple syrup at bottom of tea pot. Pour the boiling water over the ginger and maple syrup, cover and let it steep for 30 minutes to one hour. Pour the tea through a fine meshed strainer. Chill the tea for 1 to 2 hours. To serve, pour into tall iced tea glasses, add plenty of ice and sip!