Summer Foods

Summer is a great season to become vegan, salads are everywhere and you can grab yourself something quick and ready to take down the park. We have all woken up, seen the sun, called in sick  and decided to hit the park or beach. If you’re reading this from an all round sunny paradise, you have no excuse, get plant based!

It’s summer and for people in the UK, that means grabbing every second of sun. A great way to get your  friends all together without costing loads and being overly complicated, is a barbecue or picnic. You can enjoy the sun and if you’re anything like me, stuff your face at the same time. 

Travelling through Africa, I realised that when a cool box isn’t to hand (it never was), that you have to think quickly, what will be okay once hot. You never want to waste time creating something nor money buying something, that will be instantaneiously destroyed by the heat. 

There could not be anything easier than a vegan picnic. You can pack your bag/basket full of veggie treats and vegan cheats and off you go. I have put together the 4 main components of a great picnic to have you and your friends/family out in the sun, without being declared bankrupt.

Crisps & snacks

For me, I always like to take something moreish like crisps, my absolute favourites for this summer are Tyrrell’s Salt and Peppercrisps, if you follow my Instagram you’ll know I also adore their sweet and salty popcorn!! Grab a sharing bag (or 3).  There are so many different crisps to choose from, I personally choose the big bags for days out, as it is a great way to stop yourself from overly over-indulging and I like the sharing approach.

I like to balance out my snacks and crisps with healthier options, the good things about being vegan is you can treat yourself, without having to worry too much. Packing your picnic with salad and fruits, means there is always more room for more…decadent vegan examples.

Clearspring make some gorgeous snack section plumpers, especially the Tamari Roasted Sicilian Almonds. I fell in love with them even more when I realised that 1 pack contais 80% of your RDA of Vitamin E, (great for healthy skin, hair and working wonders for your immune system) as well as that they are high in protein and fibre. If that wasn’t enough all Clearspring products are ethically sourced and organic with no artificial additives, MSG, colourings or unrefined sugars, making them healthy and tasty. Easy to pop in your bag for a quick snack, and great for taking to the beach or park. Their snack foods are great for getting your vitamins in and enjoying something a little different for lunch. Thumbs up from me!

Okay, I may have already covered the crisps section, but the snack section really is very different. You want to balance the flavoursome crips with tasty options, that will not only appease your taste buds, but will also fill you up. 

 I recently tried VBites meat alternatives and found them surprisingly good. I have always been really uninterested in meat alternatives and adamant that I would remain on a strict fruit and veg diet, however, it is nice to know that there is a quick solution out there. They also have mini sausages perfect to plonk in a pot and take down to the park. These could probably go in the moreish section if I am honest..

Slice some cucumber and carrots and pair with a tub of hummus or a vegan dip of your choice. Great cheap option, just make sure none of your picnic pals are double dippers!!

Grab a bunch of grapes and wash them, I prefer to pop them in smaller portion pots, as they are easier to store. If you have made a fruit salad, then a few extra pots of single fruit will silence the fussy.

Sandwich Section

I always make my own sandwiches for the park, I like to ensure that whatever I make travels well, you don’t have to have a conventional bread sandwich, you can stuff a pitta with veggies and salad, or  a wrap with hummus and a grate selection. 

Just make sure that whatever you are putting in your sandwiches won’t create a soggy mess by the time you get to where you’re going. I often make baguettes packed with salad and hummus, and chop into generous chunks for every hungry member of my pack.If you aren’t quite as mad about hummus as I am, then vegan cheese is a great sandwich saviour, especially with pickle. The great thing about baguettes or a more solid bread, is that you don’t have to worry about the sog-factor. This has happened on a few occasions to the park and I do not wish it on anyone else!

I like VBites meat alternative ham with plenty of mustard and some chopped and peeled cucumber slices. I also think avocado and mustard work amazingly together too.If you have managed to get your hands on Vbites products or any other vegan meat alternative, then, go big with the sandwiches, treat yourself to a vegan cheat.

When it comes to snacks, then there is one option that is always in my fridge – falafal. I love it! I make sandwiches with it, I top my salads with falafal, I eat them by themselves. They are so yummy and whether you’re making your own or buying shop bought, they are cheap and delicious however you want to eat them.

Salad

Salad is my favourite part of a picnic, it is fresh, healthy and delicious. Layer your salad with a good crisp base such as gem lettuce, throw in colour by adding beetroot, carrots, tomatoes and tonnes of avocado, always season with pepper. I prefer to make the salad fresh on the day, this way I know that it will remain as fresh as possible. However, whether you make it the night before or the same day, always put the dressing in a separate tub. This will ensure that nothing is unnecessarily droopy when it comes to devouring! 

The simplest salad dressing couldn’t be more delicious, use the juice of 1 lemon, salt and pepper and a crush garlic, mix all together and store in the fridge. I use this dressing a lot, and sprinkle chilli flakes on my salad for a bit of fire.

Nobody ever said you couldn’t have a fruit salad! Cut all of your favourites into bite size pieces, and allow yourself to create a colourful mountain of wonder. It is always nice to have a fresh fruit salad on a hot day. It is refreshing and tasty.

Drinks



The human body is made of up to 60% water, so it really is a no brainer that water must be a big part of your summer, especially if you are drinking alcohol. It may seem like such a simple thing, but if you allow your body to get dehydrated you will feel it big time. If you know the weather is going to be hot, then pop a few big bottles of water in the freezer the night before. The ice will melt slowly throughout the day.

If you want to add some taste to your water, then grab a 2L water bottle and fill it ¾ with water, then add 1 lemon slices lengthways in to 4, repeat with a lime, and add 10, slices of cucumber, about 2cm thick. Leave in the fridge overnight, or for as long as you have. If you want to freeze this water, I suggest you allow time for it to infuse first. 

There are endless amounts of fruit combinations you can add to your water for a bit of a change. Just make sure that you are drinking lots of water when it is hot. 

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