Weeknight Shorts: Fall Picnics

Before you pack your picnic basket and blanket away, take advantage of the season to enjoy picnics. I know spring and summer are often associated with picnics, but fall is a perfect time for them as well. And before you reach for the sandwich bread, might I suggest something a little different:

Imagine taking bite after delicious bite of tender noodles drenched in a spicy peanut sauce and swirled with a wide variety of crunchy vegetables and seeds. Now, the version pictured here features sliced baby carrots, chopped cucumbers, edamame (also known as soybeans), and diced red pepper, but I highly recommend you assemble your own version according to your tastes and what you have on hand. Everything from baby bok choy to fresh sweet corn can find its way into this simple dish. And, when it does, you can set something like this out on your picnic blanket and dig in:

Fresh fruit and a crisp hard cider are my go-to accompaniments for a picnic spread like this, but again, pick what you love. Maybe some wasabi pea snack mix and a bit of lemonade are more your speed? Or spring rolls and cucumber-mint water? Or maybe it's just time to grab a soft drink and your favorite chips. Just make it grand and enjoy the beautiful surroundings fall has to offer right about now!

Picnic Noodles

  • 1/4 c. creamy peanut butter
  • 1 T. soy sauce
  • 1-2 T. sriracha sauce
  • 1 T. fish sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 8 oz. spaghetti - cooked, drained & rinsed
  • 1-2 c. chopped vegetables *
  • 1 T. black sesame seeds
  • 1-2 T. roasted sunflower seeds

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, soy sauce, sriracha sauce, fish sauce, and minced garlic. Set aside.

Prepare the noodles and vegetables. Once both are prepared, toss them, along with the sesame seeds and sunflower seeds, in the bowl with the whisked sauce, making sure to fully coat both the noodles and the vegetables.

* Choose vegetables according to your tastes and what's available. Options include, but are not limited to: sliced carrots, chopped cucumber, shucked edamame, diced pepper, minced onion, slivered green beans, chopped cauliflower, broccoli flowerets, shredded cabbage, etc.

  • Yields: 2-3 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes