Summa summa tiiiime! If you don’t have at least one picnic/ beach bbq/ al fresco dining situation during the summer, are you even living? Outdoor dining is one of my favorite parts about the sunshine season. It is care-free, relaxing, and adventurous all at once. I can’t think of anything better than enjoying some delicious food and enjoying nature at the same time.
Besides good weather and good company, good food is the foundation of a successful picnic. When it comes to standard picnic fare, what comes to mind? Probably hamburgers, hotdogs, and some variation of a pasta or potato salad. But straight up, picnic food can leave you feeling a bit heavy and sluggish, which is not ideal when you are at the beach or pool rocking a bathing suit. Ya feel?
The items on this Bikini Picnic menu are designed to keep you feeling light, bloat-free, and totally satisfied, too. Eating the right kinds of foods can make a huge difference in how you feel, both on the inside and on the outside. Enjoy your food and feel confident? It’s a win-win! Let’s kick it off with everyone’s favorite summer melon…
Watermelon is super versatile! Sweet or savory, watermelon can handle a slew of herbs, spices, and dressings. I love this simple but flavorful watermelon salad. Since watermelon has such a high water content (duh), it makes a great hydrator and de-bloater. All the other ingredients add a boost of flavor, so feel free to adjust to your own preferences. I like it spicy (kicks the metabolism up a little notch), but it’s just as delicious mild.
1 whole watermelon, cut into bite-sized cubes
1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
pinch of large flaked salt
Toss all ingredients gently in a large bowl. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Can be made a day in advance for the flavors to really meld.
A nutritious rainbow veggie salad if there ever was one! The fiber content keeps you feeling full, but not stuffed. Healthy fats from the avocado help satisfy, too. Not to mention, the plethora of vitamins and nutrients in this salad-vitamin A, C, E, K, folate, phytochemicals- are anti- aging, anti-inflammatory, and skin-loving. (Very essential when you are braving a bikini and a fresh face.)
Since the kale is massaged and allowed to marinate, it breaks down and becomes easier to digest. (So if kale normally bothers your stomach, *ahem-gas and bloating*, you may find that you can eat it this way with no issues). This salad gets better the longer it marinates, so make it a day (or two) ahead.
4 cups of kale, stems removed, chopped
1 cup purple cabbage, shredded
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
pinch of salt
1 cup red bell pepper, diced
1 cup carrots, cut into matchsticks
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 large avocado, cubed
Combine kale, cabbage, olive oil, vinegar, and salt in a large bowl. Use your hands to massage the dressing into the kale and cabbage. After a few minutes, you will feel how the kale and cabbage “relax” a bit and start breaking down. At this point, add all other ingredients, and gently toss. Enjoy right away, or allow to marinate in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
This one is a bit of a wildcard, but I have been craving sweet potato fries like mad lately, so I took matters into my own hands and baked some up! They look so cute packed into individual mason jars. Plus, every picnic deserves to have some fun food- proof that you can still enjoy your fave foods, nourish your body, and feel good.
Adding truffle makes the fries feel a bit more fancy, and it just tastes amazing. These are not your average fry- they are baked and not… fried, so you don’t feel like a greasy blob after. Sweet potatoes boast the added bonus of skin-boosting vitamin A, so in one way or another, the fries are keeping you looking gorgeous. 😉
I know every corner of the internet has a fry recipe, and this one is not much different, but it yields a nice, crisp fry with a few easy tricks (thin slices, no overcrowding the pan, and using arrowroot starch for crisping). Nothing complicated, because you don’t have time to be stuck in the kitchen when it’s perfect beach weather outside.
One sweet potato per person (easy starting guideline for how many potatoes to cut up)
1 teaspoon arrowroot starch per potato (could also use cornstarch, making sure it’s organic).
One tablespoon olive oil per potato
1/2 teaspoon truffle oil per potato
1/8 teaspoon truffle salt per potato
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice the potatoes lengthwise into about 1/4 inch thick slices. The key to a crisp fry is a thin cut. On a baking sheet large enough to keep the fries from being overcrowded, toss sweet potatoes and arrowroot starch to coat. Drizzle with olive oil and truffle oil, ensuring there is enough room for the fries to have enough space. Bake for 15 minutes, toss, then bake for 15 more minutes. Finish with a sprinkle of truffle salt. Dig in!
What are your go-to dishes for summer outdoor dining and picnicking? I find that I always gravitate towards light, refreshing food in the summer, like poke, gazpacho, and salad bowls! The occasional pizza slice and rosé might work it’s way in there, too. #balance.
I’m off to enjoy some sparkling grapefruit water and chopped kale salad on my patio! (al fresco dining obsessed). Have a fab weekend!