Picnic Veggie Sandwich / by Chelsea Zwieg

I have very mixed feelings about eating outside. On the one hand, I love the idea of fresh air and a warm breeze with a summery meal. But I'm not too find of the more common reality of napkins flying everywhere, a bug in my sandwich and grass in my soda. Not to mention the part of a picnic nobody seems to recognize: sitting on the ground is actually the most uncomfortable thing. But the truth is, as soon as it gets warm out, I tend to forget all of these things and all I want to do is eat outside (I only change my tune after 2 hours of a tree root digging into my butt). I think the key to eating outside is having things that don't require a lot of dexterity. If I'm going to be swatting bugs away from my drink and chasing cups as they blow away, I can't really be holding a knife and fork and pouring dressing onto a salad at the same time. 

And this is why sandwiches are the king of all picnic food. They're portable, easy to eat and undeniably delicious. And if they happen to have strawberries, cucumbers and anything else you find at the farmer's market, well then it really just couldn't get any better. 

This veggie sandwich is the ideal lazy summer afternoon picnic lunch food. Spinach, cucumbers and strawberries piled high on a bagel smeared with herby basil cream cheese. We all know that strawberries and basil are ultimate summer BFFs and it really isn't a veggie sandwich without crunchy cucumbers and mounds and mounds of spinach, in my opinion. The best part is, this is the perfect base for anything you find at the farmers market. Anything. Sugar snap peas, carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, peaches, any herb, any lettuce. It's basically a really yummy salad but in portable, bagel form and all brought together with basil cream cheese. Don't skimp on the basil cream cheese. 

So whether you brave the bugs, the wind and the invasive tree roots or you decide to stick with the classic indoor table eating situation, you really can't go wrong with summer in a sandwich. 

Picnic Veggie Sandwiches

Makes 4 sandwiches

| Ingredients

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • 1 large cucumber, sliced
  • 2 cups strawberries, sliced
  • 4 cups spinach
  • 4 bagels or 8 slices of your favorite bread

| Instructions

  • In a small bowl, stir cream cheese and basil until combined. You can also do this in a food processor to save your arm some work.
  • Toast the bagels or bread slices. If you are going on an actual picnic, I would skip the toasting. But if you are staying inside, go for the toast!
  • Spread the basil cream cheese on the top half of each bagel. On the bottom half layer spinach, cucumbers and strawberries. Top with the cream cheese half. 
  • Eat outside! Or inside, just enjoy the fact that it's SUMMER!