The best picnics are easy to prepare, taste delicious and leave you with plenty of energy to enjoy the great outdoors.
Salads, dips and banana bread are all great options which can be made the day before.
Here are some ideas from The Nutritional Chef, all of which are Vegetarian, Vegan and Gluten Free.
Lentil Salad with Feta or Vegan Cheese
Serves 2 Takes: 20 minutes
140g puy lentils, 1 avocado, 2 tbsp chopped parsley, 1 tomato, 1 red pepper, 100g feta cheese or vegan cheese, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp lemon juice
1. Combine the lentils with double the volume of water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes until they are soft. Drain and rinse in cold water.
2. Dice the tomato and pepper. Cut the cheese and the avocado into cubes.
3. In a bowl mix everything together; add the lentils, parsley, oil and lemon. Season to taste.
Carrot and Ginger Dip
Serves 6 Takes: 25 minutes
300g carrots peeled and cut in to 4cm slices, 2 tbsp olive oil, 3 cm peeled and grated ginger, 2 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp paprika, 3 tbsp pumpkin seeds, 2 tbsp lemon juice
1. Preheat the oven to 180C
2. Lay the carrots on a baking tray and coat with olive oil and the cumin.
3. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes or until slightly browned and cooked.
4. Blend together with all the other ingredients. Add a little water or more olive oil if too thick.
Swedish Seeded Hard bread
Serves 10 Takes 55 minutes
100g gluten free oats, 100g sesame seeds, 50g ground linseed, 100g sunflower seeds, 50g pumpkin seeds, 100g gluten free flour (buckwheat, almond etc), 21/2 tsp cumin seeds, 1/2 tsp salt, 50g olive oil, 200ml water, Pinch of sea salt
1. Preheat the oven to 150C
2. In a large bowl mix together all the dry ingredients. Add the oil and water and stir until everything is well mixed together.
3. Take a large flat baking tray and 2 sheets of baking paper, cut the paper to the size of the tray. Lay one sheet on the tray and lightly grease with oil. Pour in the hard bread mix. Lay the other sheet of paper on the top and press the mix down so that it spreads out to 5mm thick (the thinner the better). Remove the top layer of paper and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, remove and cut gently into approx 8cm squares then return to the oven for another 25 minutes. Leave to cool then separate the squares and keep in an airtight container.
Banana Bread (Egg Free)
Makes 10 slices Takes 1 hour 15 minutes
You will need a lined 2lb loaf tin
120ml oil(sunflower or coconut), 200g gluten free self-raising flour or buckwheat flour, 3 bananas(the riper the better), 100g coconut sugar or Xylitol, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 1 ½ tsp baking powder, 6 dates chopped, 70g chopped walnuts
1. Preheat the oven to 160C (150C fan)
2. Mash the bananas
3. Beat together butter and sugar. Add 1 tbsp flour and beat until well mixed.
4. Add the rest of the flour and cinnamon.
5. Fold in the bananas, dates and nuts.
6. Bake in the oven for about 1 hour. Check with a knife which should come out clean when inserted into the loaf. Remove from the tin and allow to cool on a wire rack.