The last official “free” days of summer are just before Labor Day, when everyone starts thinking about school projects, autumn Halloween fun, the holidays, and cooler weather. We still have some warm summer days to enjoy the outdoors, so it would be nice to plan a Labor Day picnic.
What is a Labor Day Picnic?
- A Labor Day picnic is a time to gather one last time with family before going off on various adventures heading into 2011.
- A Labor Day picnic can be lots of fun and games in the park, beach, mountain resort, or even the backyard.
- A Labor Day picnic is also all about the food. Here is an excellent dish to make (or take) for a Labor Day picnic. It is meatless, easy to assemble, and the variety of colors and tastes makes it appealing to all ages:
Labor Day Picnic Salad
2 cups black-eyed peas, drained
2 cups cooked white rice
8 ounces thawed frozen corn kernels
2 cups chopped fresh Roma tomatoes
½ medium red onion, chopped
¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
¼ cup finely chopped Italian parsley
½ cup shredded carrot
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese (garnish)
½ cup lime juice
¼ cup lemon-flavored olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground oregano
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh celery leaves
Salt & pepper (to taste)
(Tabasco sauce, optional)
Whisk all the Labor Day picnic salad dressing ingredients thoroughly, adjust to taste, and set aside. (The dressing should have a strong fresh flavor to accent the mild rice and black-eyed peas; make adjustments as desired). Combine the rest of the salad ingredients in a large glass bowl. Drizzle with dressing and toss. Garnish top with parmesan cheese and cilantro sprigs. Salad will endure sitting out for several hours, which is ideal for a Labor Day picnic.
I’ve made this Labor Day picnic salad for many years, and always get compliments. Sometimes I serve it with tiny corn tortillas to make a great vegetarian taco. It can also be eaten with crackers or small leaves of romaine lettuce. I’ve used brown rice and black beans for a variation, so feel free to alter this recipe to fit your tastes and lifestyle.