A Spring Picnic & My Easy Peasy Go-To Menu by Lindsey | Dolly and Oatmeal

frank and i started dating in doldrums of winter.  we had plenty of dates in warm, cozy coffee shops in the east village, heated movie theaters, or long walks through central park bundled up in hats and scarves.  as soon as spring hit we would drive north of manhattan to where i grew up, where we would take walks along the hudson river, breath fresh air (while also having sneezing fits from all the pollen), and lay in the grass with sunshine on our faces.  getting out of the city and into a more natural world is something i crave this time of year.  so when we had a free weekend and the weather was nice we made our way up to one of our favorite spots. the area where we usually park was closed so we took a new adventure through an overgrown path, down a hill, and into the most beautiful pasture that led us to a gravel road. it was lined with the most beautiful mossy stone walls, tall grasses, and wispy wild flowers - slice.of.heaven.

not that i'm a pro picnic-er or anything, but i've learned some tips and tricks along the way to packing a super fun and totally functional picnic meal: 

first - i prefer parchment paper to plastic bags for sandwiches.  yes, parchment could certainly be better for the environment, but it also doubles as a plate/placemat which is an awesome thing when you're out in the wild (er, at a park).

second - snack packing is a must! especially for me.  no one (and i'm really just talking about myself here) should get hangry in a beautiful walk/hike situation.  i reach for snack, or light energy bars in the car, as we're walking, or in some cases as dessert.  i'm digging kashi's new plant-based GOLEAN bars, especially the salted dark chocolate with nuts! it's packed with plant-y protein, and there's no laundry list of ingredients you've never heard of or can't pronounce.  they're a new favorite, for sure!

third - when deciding what salad to bring, lose the greens.  salads that don't wilt are my go-to, usually a grain or bean salad, or a chopped israeli salad. 

fourth - fresh fruit preferably packed in some sort of jar to avoid any unwanted mushiness, along with a small cutting board and some sort of pocket knife for cutting, although that's not totally necessary, and totally depends on what fruit you're packing.   

fifth - i prefer using cloth napkins.  not because i'm too good for paper, but they act as really efficient padding when i'm packing the picnic bag.  they also don't blow away as easy as paper, and they're reusable (i wrapped my cutting board in one at the end of the picnic so i didn't get the inside of my bag all messy - 2 thumbs way up!).

and lastly - beverages.  we happened to pick up an insanely delicious raspberry and tomato (!!!) smoothie that was awesome, but we also had plenty of water to keep up hydrated as well.

picnic menu

avocado asparagus sandwiches (*recipe below)

mixed nuts

fresh strawberries (or whatever fresh fruit is at its peak)

grain or bean salad 

energy/snack bars (like these)

add ons

cloth napkins

water or beverage of choice

pocket knife

small cutting board

plates - disposable or enamel

fresh picked wild flowers, picked along the way (totally optional) 

* this post was created in partnership with kashi.  all opinions, as always, are my own. thank you for supporting dolly and oatmeals's sponsors!

sautéed asparagus and dijon avocado sandwich | gf  (vegan option)

sandwiches like these are my favorite - fresh, simple, and wholesome.  i love the sandwich as is, but i could see a splash of balsamic adding even more delicious flavor

  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise or veganaise
  • 2 tablespoons good dijon mustard
  • 1-2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • half a bunch of asparagus, ends trimmed
  • fine sea salt & fresh pepper
  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced thin
  • handful of baby greens
  • 4 slices toasted whole grain gluten free bread (or bread of choice)


  1. whisk together the mayo (or veganaise) and the dijon. set aside.
  2. heat a skillet over medium heat.  once the pan is hot add enough oil to lightly cover the bottom.  add the asparagus, a couple pinches of salt, and a few cracks of pepper.  cook asparagus, shaking the pan every few minutes, until tender and lightly browned.  remove from heat and let cool.
  3. top each slice of bread with the dijon mayo, then add some greens, avocado slices a few pinches of salt and pepper, and as many asparagus spears will fit (depending on what bread you use).
  4. wrap the sandwiches in parchment paper. 

A Spring Picnic & My Easy Peasy Go-To Menu | dolly and oatmeal

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roasted fingerling potato salad w/ romesco + herby black quinoa by Lindsey | Dolly and Oatmeal

some things that i'm into:

  1. my mom's saturday csa box from blue hill at stone barns
  2. FermUp
  3. this new-to-me store 
  4. each and every one of these images 
  5. Pure Green Magazine's #PGMinseason project is still underway, check out my homegirls claire and laura's inspiring and beautiful posts! 

speaking of said csa box, my mom is not so into peppers.  she has given me a total of probably 3 pounds of them in the past 2 weeks.  shy of just giving them away to pepper-hungry neighborhood folk, i've made a lot of romesco sauce, and i've got this harissa, and this muhammara on a serious to-make list.  i'm also wondering if bell peppers can be frozen for a later date...?  i'm assuming so, but i would love if anyone had any helpful tips here :)  

so, because of the monumental amounts of peppers in my possession, and because my husband went shopping at the farmers' market and bought double the amount of potatoes, we have this potato + romesco salad (of sorts) today!  most times throughout the year i'm a sweet potato girl, but these couple of yummy spud-filled months have my heart (and tummy), and therefore potato salad.  as i've mentioned in the past, this summer tater salad is delicious and has been on serious rotation; and as hard as it was not making it this time around, i knew romesco was necessary!  i used basically what i had on hand, which included hazelnuts in place of blanched almonds, and an herby quinoa toss for texture and a bit of protein.  definitely a respectable meal on its own, but also an awesome picnic-y side!

happy september, lovely people! xo

roasted fingerling potato salad w/ romesco + herby black quinoa (v + gf)

| serves 4 |

you can definitely substitute larger potatoes, just cut them into quarters or eighths and roast from there.  you can also sub the hazelnuts for blanched almonds, or maybe pine nuts? and the black quinoa can totally be replaced with whatever grain you have on hand.


  • 1 pound fingerling potatoes, scrubbed and dried
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • large grain sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup black quinoa, rinsed
  • big pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped (plus more for garnishing)
  • 1/4 cup romesco sauce

romesco sauce

  • 2 small-medium bell peppers, roasted, skins removed and seeded
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons toasted hazelnuts, skins removed (plus more chopped hazelnuts for garnishing)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • coarse sea salt
  • pinch of cayenne pepper (or freshly ground pepper to taste)


romesco sauce

  • in a food processor, combine roasted red peppers, garlic, hazelnuts, olive oil, vinegar, a couple pinches of salt, and a pinch of cayenne.  blend ingredients stopping every few seconds to scrape down sides and checking for seasoning until creamy.  place in an air tight container in the refrigerator until ready to use

roasted potatoes

  • preheat oven to 375° and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper
  • in a large mixing bowl, combine potatoes, olive oil, garlic, salt + pepper; spread evenly onto baking sheet.  place in the center of your oven for 40-45 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes for even roasting. remove from oven and set aside

herby quinoa

  • while potatoes are roasting, make the quinoa.  combine quinoa with 1/2 cup water and a big pinch of salt;  cook for about 15-17 minutes. once water has absorbed, remove from heat and set aside.  in a serving bowl, mix the quinoa and the chopped parsley.  add the potatoes and the romesco sauce; check for seasoning and garnish with more chopped parsley and chopped hazelnuts

serve + enjoy!

beet tacos w/ beet green salsa verde + spicy pickled onions (v + gf) by Lindsey | Dolly and Oatmeal

now that it's july, my brain can officially register that it's summer.  and since it's summer that means vacation and perhaps some relaxation.  we're leaving the pup behind (sad face) with my parents and heading to LA; we've got a (non) list of things to hit up including a trip out to the desert for a hike through joshua tree, an early morning surf lesson, popping in to some of the million restaurants i have bookmarked, spending time with two people we love more than what's probably conceived to be normal, and meeting our four-legged niece + nephew: charlie, and her brother henry.  to say that i'm excited is an understatement.  i would love any other suggestions you all may have!

speaking of cali, they have the BEST tacos! i am wholly looking forward to consuming them all for breakfast, lunch + dinner...on repeat.  so, today it's a bit of a taco celebration in honor of the upcoming 4th of july. what's better than a super fresh, vibrant taco on a day of celebration - i say, not much!  

i was totally inspired by an awesome mexican restaurant near us in park slope that we eat at often.  usually i order various menu items here and there to make the kind of meal i like to eat.  most times, i get a citrusy avo + beet salad, a side of mini corn tortillas, some of their insanely spicy (and delicious) hot sauce, and make my own little meal of spicy beet tacos - so yum!  so, these tacos are definitely a riff on what i'm ordering when i'm mex-ing it up.  but my beet greens were so lovely, and my cilantro growing outside was so fragrant, that i wanted to make a salsa verde to go along with it all.  add some super spicy, crunchy, quick-pickled onions and you're set!  happy fourth, y'all! xo

roasted beet tacos w/ beet green salsa verde + spicy, quick-pickled onions (v + gf)

| makes about 8 tacos |


beet filling

  • corn tortillas
  • 1 lb. beets, washed and trimmed (reserve beet greens for salsa verde)
  • 2 ripe avocados, pitted and cut into thin slices
  • zest + juice from 1 lime
  • cilantro for garnish
  • fine grain sea salt + fresh ground pepper
  • olive oil for roasting

beet green salsa verde

  • 3/4 cup beet greens, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 jalapeño pepper, seeded or not
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 4-5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • large grain sea salt

spicy pickled onions

  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, cut into quarters (i chose to keep the seeds in for more heat, but if you like less heat, remove the seeds)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • big pinch of large grain sea salt


to roast the beets

  • preheat oven to 400° and place beets in a large piece of foil.  drizzle oil evenly over beets, and sprinkle with salt + pepper; wrap the foil tightly and place in a baking dish, bake for roughly 1 hour - until beets can be easily pierced with a fork or sharp knife.  remove beets from oven and allow to cool.  once cool, slip skins off and discard; rinse beets and pat dry
  • slice beets into small chunks and place in a mixing bowl.  add lime juice, zest and salt + pepper, taste and adjust seasoning.  set beet mixture aside

salsa verde

  • place all the salsa verde ingredients in a food processor and pulse, scraping down the sides until roughly chopped.  taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly.  set aside

spicy, quick-pickled onions

  • place onions, pepper, vinegar, water and salt in a medium saucepan; stir, and bring contents to a boil.  turn off heat and allow to cool.  when cool, discard the pepper pieces, and transfer onions and some of the juice to a lidded jar.  refrigerate until ready to use

assemble tacos

  • heat tortillas over a low flame on a gas stove, grill, or in an oven.  stuff the tacos with sliced avo, beets, spicy pickled onions, and salsa verde.  garnish with extra cilantro and serve warm