By: Kirsten Buck, RHN
Spring has sprung and you know what that means … PICNIC season is here! There’s something so wonderful about being able to sit and eat outside in the sunshine. Whether you’re going to a community picnic or just gathering with a few close friends, it’s always nice to have options that are healthy, tasty and easy to prepare!
Seasonal spring produce is starting to pop up at farmers markets, making it the perfect time to utilize all of the freshest ingredients and I couldn’t be more excited. This time of the year you’ll find a variety of leafy greens, asparagus, herbs, radishes, sweet potatoes, rhubarb, spring onions and mushrooms!
One of my go-to’s for a brunch picnic is my Grain-Free Asparagus & Bacon Quiche! The filling consists of fresh, sautéed asparagus, sweet onion and bacon. I think it’s the perfect flavour combination. Traditional quiche can be time-consuming to prepare because of the crust. But, the crust in my grain-free quiche is simply made with layered, thinly-sliced sweet potato! Not only does this save on time, but it adds a subtle sweetness to compliment the saltiness of the bacon. This dish can easily be made the night before serving. It keeps well covered in the fridge and reheats wonderfully for breakfast. It also makes a nice, light dinner paired with lots of leafy greens. It’s even great served cold!
If you’re looking for a grain-free lunch idea, try my Waldorf Chicken Salad Collard Wraps! Collard greens are in season and using them as a wrap makes it easy to get those extra greens in! These wraps are perfect for packing up and taking on-the-go. The creamy, slightly tangy dressing, mixed with savoury roasted chicken breast and sweet grapes, makes for the perfect sweet and savoury combination. Adding walnuts, celery and crisp apple gives the salad a satisfying crunch as well! I was lucky to find very tender collard greens. If yours are more on the tough side, simply blanche them in boiling water for one minute and then dip them into an ice bath! Lightly blanching will help make the collard greens more tender, and also makes them easier to wrap!
Grain-Free Asparagus & Bacon Quiche
- 1 tbsp ghee
- 1 small sweet potato, thinly sliced on a mandolin
- 4 slices bacon
- 1/2 small onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 lb asparagus, chopped
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 6 large eggs
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
- black pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
- Heat ghee in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add thinly sliced sweet potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently until slightly softened but still undercooked – about ten minutes. Overlap sweet potato slices around the base and up the sides of a 9” baking dish. Set aside.
- In the same skillet, over medium heat, add bacon and cook until crispy. Remove cooked bacon and drain excess fat if necessary, leaving a small amount in the pan for the onion to cook in.
- Add onion and cook until softened and translucent – about five minutes. Add garlic and asparagus and cook for an additional two minutes. Add onion and asparagus mixture on top of the overlapped sweet potato slices.
- In a large bowl, whisk together coconut milk, eggs, dried thyme, nutritional yeast, and a pinch of black pepper. Once combined, pour egg mixture into the pan and top with crumbled bacon.
- Bake until edges have puffed up slightly and top is just set with no liquid egg remaining, about 30-40 minutes. Let cool before slicing.
Waldorf Chicken Salad Collard Green Wraps
Makes: 4 wraps
- 8 collard green leaves
- 1 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp plain unsweetened coconut yogurt
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or chopped
- 2 sticks celery, chopped fine
- 1/2 cup red seedless grapes, halved
- 1 apple, chopped
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
- Trim the stems off of the collard greens so it’s flush with the leaf.
- Blanch collard green leaves (optional). Bring a large shallow pan with water to a slow boil. Add one leaf for 30-60 seconds then place the leaf in the ice bath for ten seconds. Repeat for every leaf. Set each aside on paper towel.
- In a large bowl, mix mayonnaise, coconut yogurt, fresh lemon juice and Dijon mustard. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- To the bowl, add cooked chicken, celery, grapes, apple and walnuts. Stir until everything is coated and combined.
- Stack two leaves on top of each other, fill with 3/4 cup of chicken salad mixture. Fold the bottom up over the filling, fold the sides in, and then roll tightly from the bottom up. Cut each wrap in half if desired. Wrap in brown paper and secure with ties if you’re taking them on the go.