With Fourth of July picnics right around the corner, here are a two of my favorites to bring to any kind of potluck or picnic – Southwestern Chopped Salad with Cilantro Dressing and Easy Hummus Without Tahini. The hummus is great to have in your repertoire, because it’s easy to keep the ingredients on hand.  Serve with veggies, crackers or pita chips.  I originally got this recipe from Hint of Joe, but that site seems to be down. So the picture is just a representation. For the salad, I like to put the romaine in a bowl and then put the ingredients in sections on top for the most colorful presentation, like the second picture.  I make the dressing without any of the recommendations. It is very easy to add a protein to this salad as well,  like grilled chicken or shrimp.  This salad is from www.thegardengrazer.com.  It was part of a list of 12 great salads on this link. Picnic responsibly folks!!


Large head of romaine
15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 large orange bell pepper
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 cups corn (I used frozen, thawed)
5 green onions
Optional: avocado

{For the dressing} click to read more about notes and variations to the dressing
1 cup loosely packed cilantro, stems removed and roughly chopped
1/2 avocado (or 1/2 cup plain vegan yogurt)
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice (about 1/2 lime), more to taste
1-2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil (for oil-free, sub a little water to thin)
1 1/2 tsp. white wine vinegar
1/8 tsp. salt
Recommended: agave/honey, cumin

Make the dressing: puree all ingredients in a food processor/blender until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
Finely chop romaine, bell pepper, tomatoes, and green onions.
Place all ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine.
Toss with desired dressing.

Based on 6 servings: 264 calories p – 8g, c – 34g, f  – 13g


Easy Hummus Without TahiniImage result for hummus with paprika

2 (15 oz) cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed
2 clove garlic
3 T olive oil
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 t cumin
¼ c water
1 t salt
¼ t paprika

1. Add chickpeas, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, water, and slat to a food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy (if needed, add more water one tablespoon at a time and continue blending until it reaches your desired consistency).
2. Transfer to a bowl. Sprinkle with paprika before serving.

Serving size: ¼ c 113 calories p – 4g, c – 13g, f – 5g