In our latest edition of Prep School, Chef Megan Mitchell shares her tips for planning a picnic with a hint of fancy—minus all the fuss. “Whether you’re going to the beach or the park, these are great things to pack—and they’re portable.” From salad on a stick to a three-layer dip that looks like an Italian flag, you’ll love these fun recipes for your next sun-soaked outing.
Greek Salad Skewers With Dill Dressing
This recipe ups the fancy factor without much effort. “You have the freshness of the veggies, the creaminess of the cheese, and the tangy, salty bite of the olive. It’s everything you find in a Greek salad, but on a cute little skewer,” Chef Megan says. The dressing (which can be made in advance) relies on a handful of dried herbs, and here’s a tip: To keep your dried herbs fresh, put the open date on the container. Most have a shelf life of about a year.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Active time: 30 minutes
For the dressing:
6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoons ground black pepper
½ teaspoons onion powder
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
For the skewers:
1 small head romaine
8 wooden skewers
1 (10.2-ounce) jar Divina Pitted Kalamata Olives
1 (15.5-ounce) jar Divina Pepperoncini Peppers, sliced into 1-inch rings
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 English cucumber, cut into ½-inch rounds, then quartered
2 (10-ounce) blocks Feta cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch squares
½ red onion, cut into 1-inch squares
Make the dressing:
Add all ingredients except extra virgin olive oil to a mason jar. Tighten the lid and shake until blended. Remove the lid and add oil; tighten lid and vigorously shake again. Refrigerate for up to 1 month.
Make the skewers:
To cut romaine, place 2 leaves on top of each other and slice out the center rib. Fold in half lengthwise, and cut into 1-inch squares. Stack 5 to 7 squares on top of each other, then pierce with a skewer. Alternate assorted vegetables onto the skewer, then repeat with remaining skewers. Arrange “salads” on a platter and drizzle with dressing before serving.
3-Layer Dip With Roasted Tomatoes
Chef Megan thinks seven layers is too many, so she’s changing things up. “This is a super simple, super easy appetizer or side dish, and people just go nuts for it.” There’s a layer of red tomatoes, white bean hummus, and a green olive spread so when you scoop into it, all three beautiful colors can easily be seen.
Yield: 3 to 4 servings
Active time: 20 minutes
Total time: 2 hours and 20 minutes
For the white bean hummus:
2 teaspoons reserved tomato oil
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans drained, rinsed, and patted dry
Zest of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
English cucumbers, sliced ¼-inch thick on a bias
Line a small bowl with plastic wrap, leaving a 2-inch overhang.
Make the tomato layer:
Remove roasted tomatoes with a fork and place them on a paper towel; pat dry. (Don’t forget to reserve their oil for the hummus.) Add tomatoes to a food processor and purée until smooth; scrape into a small bowl.
Make the white bean hummus:
Wipe out the food processor and add 2 teaspoons reserved tomato oil along with the beans, lemon zest, minced garlic, cumin, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using). Purée until thick and smooth; scrape into a small bowl.
Assemble the dip:
Add green olive spread to the bottom of the plastic-lined bowl and spread in an even layer. Next scoop the white bean dip on top, spreading in an even layer. Finally, pour the roasted tomato puree on top, spreading in an even layer. Cover the top with the overhanging plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour, or until firm.
To serve, place a large plate upside down on top of the bowl. Flip it over so the plate is now right side up. Gently pull up the bowl, then remove the plastic wrap, revealing your 3-layer dip. Serve with crackers and cucumbers.
Recipes by Chef Megan Mitchell