Yay for sunshine, yay for summer and yay for the great outdoors! June and July are peak picnic time of year for us, the diary is littered with sports days, festivals, outdoor theatre showings and general outdoorsy stuff. Let’s try and forget that the recent ‘heatwave’ has sadly ended and we seem to have entered a premature damp and drizzly Autumn. But to be honest, if you are British bad weather is far from unusual and we do all the same summery outdoorsy stuff, we just wear wellies and raincoats instead of shorts and flip-flops!
I do struggle with finding interesting, portable and friendly picnic foods that please the whole family. It’s not just the varied dietary requirements, but also a good dose of general fussiness. I seem to be on a constant mission to find family friendly packable lunches.
I’m a massive salad fan, I just love the freshness, colours and textures you find in salads. In fact I could eat salad almost every day. Now, I might love salads but my children are less keen. They have some favourites, but faced with a bowl of dressed lettuce or some unusual vegetables they do spectacularly badly! Not a helpful situation when planning multiple picnics. This Mediterranean bean salad though is hard to dislike. The beans, once marinaded are such a great carrier of flavour, and the Mediterranean embellishments are like jewels of flavour, although you may want to serve the olives on the side if you have some fussy palates around 😉
Mediterranean Bean Salad
(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)
2 tins of beans, I used Cannellini beans
2 tbsp sherry or wine vinegar
1tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
a good grind of black pepper
4 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, finely chopped
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 onion, sliced
handful of pitted black olives [optional]
small bunch of basil
- Drain the beans (reserving the water or ‘aquafaba’ to make meringues) and rinse
- Whisk together the vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Pour over the beans and leave to marinate for half an hour.
- Meanwhile, place the onions in a colander and pour over a kettle of water. Place in a bowl and pour over a mixture of 1 tbsp vinegar, 1 tbsp water and a pink of sugar. Set aside to quickly pickle. If you use red onion you’ll get pretty pink onions after pickling.
- Add all the other ingredients to the marinated beans. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.