First long weekend means picnic time

The Victoria Day long weekend in Canada is often the first weekend for camping, picnics and other outdoor pursuits

The May long weekend is often the first camping trip, or outdoor  picnic time for many families.

Of course, everyone has their favourite burgers, hot dogs, kebabs, steaks and marshmallows on the menu, but what about side dishes? Veggies and/or fruits with any variety of dips make great appies or snacks.

Bring lots of water and other refreshing drinks because you and the kids will be extra thirsty. Everyone has a recipe for potato salad, but Picnic Potato Salad is one that gives you potato salad and vegetable salad all in one. Give it a try.

Also an easy delicious way to mix your own lean hamburgers is to simply add 1 pouch Knorr Onion Soup Mix with 1-1/2 lbs. of hamburger — delicious!

Have fun this weekend, and don’t forget the sun block!

Grilled Portobellos

with Quinoa Salad

1/2 cup water

1/3 cup quinoa

1/8 tsp. salt

1/2 370-g jar roasted red peppers, drained and finely chopped

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

3 Tbsp. sesame oil

2 tsp. honey

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp. finely grated fresh ginger

1/4 tsp. salt

4 large portobello mushrooms, stemmed, gills scraped out

2 zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise

8 cups baby kale

Preheat barbecue to medium. Boil water in a medium saucepan. Rinse quinoa with water. Drain. Stir into boiling water along with 1/8 tsp. salt. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until tender, about 12 min. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 min. Fluff with a fork. Stir in peppers.

Whisk vinegar with sesame oil, honey, garlic, ginger and 1/4 tsp. salt in a large bowl until combined.

Brush half of vinaigrette over mushrooms and zucchini.

Oil grill. Barbecue mushrooms and zucchini until tender, 3 to 5 min per side.

Add baby kale and zucchini to remaining vinaigrette and toss until coated. Divide mixture among 4 plates. Top with mushrooms. Fill mushrooms with quinoa mixture.

Tip: twist and pull the stem off each mushroom, then scrape out the dark brown gills with a spoon.

Picnic Potato Salad

1 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

3 pounds boiling potatoes, cooked, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion

1/2 cup thinly sliced celery

1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped

3 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and quartered lengthwise, for garnish (optional)

Fresh chopped parsley for garnish (optional)

In a small bowl, make dressing by stirring together mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper.

In a large bowl, combine potatoes, 1/2 cup parsley, the red onion, celery and cucumber. Pour dressing over vegetables and toss gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Just before serving, toss gently and garnish with eggs and parsley, if desired.

Cathi Litzenberger is The Morning Star’s longtime food columnist, appearing every other Wednesday and one Sunday per month.