Get Your Picnic On
Drivers Ed and spring sports can turn your car into a restaurant. Be ready!
Driver’s Ed is taking me down. This is my second round of Driver’s Ed, the five weeks of captivity that will eventually lead to liberty. This time it is in St Johnsbury—again nowhere near where I live—so it involves lots of scheduling and shuttling of hungry kids. It can also involve a boatload of cash if you’re not careful. Whether it’s Driver’s Ed or spring sports turning your car into a food truck, this is the time to get your picnic on.
One week in and I have already overworked my chicken rotation (oven fried chicken totally goes the distance). There is a tomato hater on board so the Panzanella of the Gods is out. I'm also not yet ready to surrender to the quick fix of pasta and meatballs, so I turned to this super easy salad.
This salad is a brilliant go-to for potlucks and picnics. It stars bulgur, which is sort of my new best friend. The beauty of bulgur is that it requires no cooking AND it’s cheap cheap cheap. Bulgur just needs to soak for a bit and it’s ready to use, making it a nice alternative to overnight oats…but that’s another meal and another conversation. We’re sticking with the picnic message here.
What else makes this salad so great? It’s quick and easy to prep and pack, requires zero to minimal stove time and few ingredients, can be eaten at any temp and does leftovers like a boss. The spinach holds its own on Day 2, so even if you are an avowed leftover salad hater, this might entice you to change your ways.
The recipe calls for cooked shrimp. I usually start with raw, defrosted shrimp, and cook them in a pan with some olive oil and/or butter, and a squeeze of lemon or a splash of vinegar. Do shrimp how you do shrimp. It’s all good.
Grab that bag of shrimp from the freezer, soak some bulgur and make this salad. Then you’ll have all the time in the world to worry about having another driver in the house.
Lemon Bulgur Salad with Shrimp
This came from Food and Wine, but, as you can see in my notes, it nimbly veers to many variations. If you forget to get radishes you can go with any crisp, thinly sliced vegetable. No pine nuts? Use what you’ve got (like pecans, as pictured above).
- 1 1/2 cups coarse bulgur
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons chopped dill
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound large cooked shrimp, shelled
- 3 cups baby spinach
- 4 radishes (or another crisp veggie), thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts (or nuts/seeds of choice)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
a bowl, cover the bulgur with warm tap water. Let stand until the
grains are tender, about 2 hours. Drain the bulgur well. (to speed up
the process use hot water)
- In a large bowl, whisk the lemon zest with the lemon juice and chopped dill. Whisk in the olive oil. Add the bulgur, shrimp, baby spinach, sliced radishes and pine nuts and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
The salad can be refrigerated for up to 1 day. Add the spinach, radishes and pine nuts just before serving. (It can also totally be eaten in the parking lot of a Driver’s Ed class, or wherever you can find free parking and wifi. )