Easy and Healthy Summer Picnic Ideas

The summer months are all about being outdoors, including picnics. Dietitian, Monica Salafia says you can still enjoy those summer picnics, but also eat healthy.

From gluten-free dishes to high-protein dishes, Monica has great ideas full of flavor and nutritional goodness.

Ancient Harvest Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad

Pasta salad with summer vegetables

Created by Fork and Beans for the 2015 Blogger Ambassador Program, this Summer Veggie Pasta Salad is a perfect addition to any summer event.

Preparation time: 10

Total time: 20


  • ½ box Ancient Harvest Protein Pasta
  • 1 small cucumber
  • ¼ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ red onion, minced
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. fresh basil (or 2 tsp dried)
  • 1 C. fresh oregano (or ½ tsp dried)
  • 1 C. fresh thyme (or ½ tsp dried)
  • pinch of sea salt to taste
  • 4 bell peppers (to use as cups)


  1. Drain the pasta.
  2. Place everything (except the peppers) in a large bowl and stir until well blended.
  3. Add more seasoning to taste.
  4. Cut off the tops of 4 peppers and clean the insides.
  5. Cut a piece of bell pepper on top to create a ring of approx. ½” thick. Cut in half.
  6. Using a piece of the pointed end of a toothpick, connect the “handle” of the pepper to the side of the “bucket” of the pepper.
  7. Fill the pasta salad into the buckets and serve.

Servings: 3


  • 1 box Pamela’s Honey Grahams
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • 4 tbsp brownie sugar
  • 1 16 oz. bag Pamela’s Chocolate Brownie Mix (454 grams)
  • ¼ cup ground almonds
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup oil
  • ¼ cup coffee (or water)
  • 1 bag of mini marshmallows, 10 oz.


  1. Preheat the oven to 350° with a rack in the middle. Line a 9 x 13-inch metal baking dish or quarter sheet pan with parchment paper and spray well.
  2. CRUST

Crush the grahams in a plastic bag or food processor. Mix melted butter and sugar. Run the processor or mix well. Press into the bottom of a baking dish. Lay a piece of parchment paper over the crust and press down with your fingertips for a smooth, firm crust pressed into the pan. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until puffy in spots or the butter seems to sizzle in the pan. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Once the crust has cooled, whisk together the brownie mixture and ground almonds in a large bowl. Add the egg, oil and coffee or water, and mix well again. Add 1 cup of mini marshmallows to the batter and mix. Pour the batter over the baked graham crust, filling all the corners and edges (it doesn’t need to be smooth). Pour all but about 1 cup of marshmallows over batter evenly and press firmly into batter. Spoon remaining marshmallows over mixture to fill in any voids. Press firmly again.

  • Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until marshmallows are golden and puffy in spots. Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting.
  • Take the brownies out of the pan using parchment paper. Peel off the parchment. Spray a long, straight knife with nonstick brownie-cutting spray. Repeat if it starts to stick.

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