My Top 5 Quick-Picks for a Gluten Free, Dairy Free, (and Stress Free!) Labor Day Picnic

Often when I go to a potluck, I end up eating only the food I brought (usually hummus). While there are often other seemingly-healthy options, I’ve seen people put cheese directly mixed in to the salad they brought, or they sprinkle on the croutons. Rather than deal with the tedium of picking through all that, I’ll just grab a straw and guzzle down the hummus I brought (just kidding, but it feels like that sometimes).

If you’re stressing about what to bring to this weekend’s festivities, here are five easy, quick, healthy, and simple options with very few ingredients.  No tedium here!

1. Organic kale salad

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2 medium bunches of organic kale

3 tbsp olive oil

2 large cloves garlic

cracked black pepper and sea salt to taste

After hitting up your farmers market, wash two medium bunches of kale. I roll up the leaves into a spiral shape and then saw them into strips; you end up with a type of kale “spaghetti.” I mix all the ingredients into a glass bowl and put saran wrap tight over the top for transport to the picnic! Everyone asks the secret ingredient, and I think it’s just the garlic!

2. Organic kale chips


1 medium bunch of organic kale

2 tbsp olive oil

cracked sea salt to taste

Did I mention I love kale? My mom hates the taste, so she won’t be enjoying my suggestions here. I shorten my kale “spaghetti” strips and lay them out on top of aluminim foil on a baking sheet. Drizzle on the olive oil and sprinkle the salt. I’ve added chili powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, and garlic powder. I’ve even smothered them in Sriracha. It’s up to you, and you can’t go wrong! Bake at 350 for 15 minutes to your desired crispiness! Keep an eye on them, as all ovens are different!

3. Sweet potato fries with guacamole dip and dairy-free pesto


2 large sweet potatoes (washed and scrubbed thoroughly!)

2 tbsp olive oil

sea salt to taste

1 avocado

juice from 1/2 lime

few sprigs of fresh cilantro

1/2 tsp coconut oil (optional)

Chop sweet potatoes into french fry shape (or any shape your heart desires!) and mix them along with the olive oil and your desired seasonings in a bowl(I like chili powder!). Spread out on aluminum foil over baking sheet. While they are in the oven at 450 for 20-25 minutes, blend one avocado with the juice from half of a lime with some fresh cilantro. I’ve added in a bit of coconut oil at times to make the mixture more creamy. Serve in a little ramekin along with my gluten-free, dairy-free pesto!

4. Avocado mango salsa


2 large avocados

1/2 ripe juicy mango

handful of grape tomatoes

1 tbsp olive oil & 1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar (optional)

1/2 of a red onion

1/2 cup fresh cilantro

sea salt and black pepper to taste

generous dashes of your favorite hot sauce, or 1 tsp chili flakes!

This is such a colorful and healthy option! I like to leave everything chunky in this recipe, which makes it hearty. Traditional Mexican cuisine only calls for white onions, but I like to use red onion in this recipe to add to the rainbow of colors going on in the bowl. I found brown rice tortilla crisps at Whole Foods, but people tend to dig into this one sans chips— it’s great as a salad on its own. On occasion I’ve thrown in olive oil and even white balsamic vinegar to give it more of a salad feel.

5. Avocado chocolate mousse


People seem to forget about dessert at BBQs and picnics. This is a travesty, seeing as chocolate is one of the major food groups. This dessert only takes five minutes to make, and there is no gluten or dairy involved. You just dump all the ingredients into the blender in one step, and then it’s ready to eat. I’m not giving it all away though. You’ll have to buy Taline Gabriel’s Hippie Lane app in the app store. It’s the best 3 bucks I’ve ever spent. I’ve made six or seven of the recipes, and all have been amazing! Her app has totally changed my perspective on dessert, and she’s made desserts accessible for the health-conscious.


Let me know what you end up bringing to your Labor Day celebrations! Rest assured that there are delicious ways to maintain your healthy lifestyle, even during holidays!

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4 Comments on “My Top 5 Quick-Picks for a Gluten Free, Dairy Free, (and Stress Free!) Labor Day Picnic”

  1. Lisa September 4, 2015 at 18:53 #

    I expect you’ll make some of these dishes for me when I visit ☺

  2. Martha LaValette September 4, 2015 at 19:30 #

    Everything looks yummy here except for the kale salad. I do like kale chips! Go figure.

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