Before I went vegan, antipasto was my jam.
Cheese, prosciutto, baguettes, crackers, dips, and spreads…. It was my favorite thing to do for dinner, picnics, and girls’ night.
If you’ve experienced it you probably know that there is something about having antipasto nights…friends, fun, chatty atmosphere, girl time, a little gossip, and relaxation. I love getting together with my girlfriends and catching up on life, boys, work, and family! Most of the time these get togethers revolve around wine and cheese!
Since going vegan, I had been craving one of these nights, but obviously the cheese and prosciutto wasn’t going to happen. I veganized it! Now you might be thinking that there are vegan cheeses and you can buy fake meat, so what’s the big deal. This is all well and true, but as a girl from Wisconsin I do not feel that there is a true substitute for cheese. I have not found one that I like, so I tend to skip the cheese all together.
So in preparation for my picnic, I went to TJ Maxx for some cute bowls and plates! Then I called up my friend Jordyn to come over and join me for the cutest vegan picnic ever! It was fabulous! Since then I have also had a couple other vegan antipasto nights with Alex and Gus.
7 Steps to a Vegan Antipasto/Picnic
Step 1: Dinnerware
This was my favorite part of preparing this cute picnic! I got a bunch of cute bowls, plates, and trays! I didn’t know how many I needed, so I just bought a ton in all different sizes! I suggest having one or two big bowls for bread or fruit. Then 5-12 small to medium bowls. This will all depend on the size of you picnic, so user discretion is advised! If you are only going to have one or two dips, then you will probably only need a few bowls. A tray or two is also nice because it gives you a level space for some bowls and drinks.
Step 2: Dips and Spreads
There are so many delicious dips and spreads out there that it is hard to choose! You will be able to find a bunch at Whole Foods and if you have other health food stores near you I would look there as well. Amazon is another great place to find everything that you need! At the end of the post you will find links to my favorite Amazon products. Even the regular grocery store will have some. Sometimes they are hidden around the store. Look near the cheese section, the bakery, the jam isle, near the olives and pickles, and the deli/meat section. You will find things like bruschetta, olive spread, unique jams, red pepper spread, hummus, balsamic, and pestos (very few pestos are vegan, so read the label). You can also make many of these, but I chose to buy most of them for sake of time.
Here is a link to my beet hummus recipe that I used for the picnic. I also mixed my own olive dip as well as sautéed mushrooms. It’s super simple! Just put some olive oil in a small bowl and add some rosemary, oregano, basil, pepper, and garlic powder. We have an Italian seasoning grinder that works perfectly. A dash of Himalayan or sea salt and you’re good to go! As for the mushrooms I just sautéed them with a little oil, salt, and pepper. Mushrooms hold a lot of water, so I usually cook them on high to get a lightly fried texture rather than boiled.
Step 3: Bread and Crackers
Choose 3 or 4 bread/cracker varieties to go with the dips. Baguettes and sourdough are my favorite and if you want to turn them into crostini, those are delicious too! To make crostini you slice the baguette and then spread olive oil on them with a pastry brush. Sprinkle them with a little salt and pepper and bake for 10-15 minutes.
Recently, I found a loaf of whole grain bread at the store that was relatively small and then I just warmed it in the oven for 10 minutes and it was perfect. I love dipping warm bread in oil!
I really like Mary’s crackers, they are full of whole grains and that’s usually the type of crackers I go for. I also like having a plain cracker, because that often brings out the full flavor of the dip. There are a variety of good cracker brands! Just pick whatever sounds good to you!
Step 4: Dipping Vegetables
This whole picnic really is about having a variety of choices! That’s what these veggies do as well as being healthy. Peppers, carrots, jicama, and cucumbers are the best one’s for dipping! You are welcome to add anything else that you like. Choosing things that are in season is always the best if you have that availability. Maybe some baked sweet potato sticks! Yummm 😋
Step 5: Fruit
Two or three varieties of fruit add a nice variety to your vegan picnic. Once again it is always best to get what is in season, but sometimes that is tough. Berries are my favorite: blueberries, blackberries, grapes, and raspberries. Cherries also are really good (include a bowl for the pits). Tropical fruits are also delicious- pineapple, honey dew, cantaloupe, watermelon, or papaya. Get what you like and choose from what your store has!
Step 6: Beverages
LaCroix water is an essential in this house (or van), but for a vegan antipasto/girls day I had to get some wine too! White wine or mimosas are perfect for a picnic, because they are both refreshing. My favorite is a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Another idea would be an alcoholic or non-alcoholic punch if you wanted to.
Here are a couple that ideas that I like:
Step 7: Picnic Setup
Choose a blanket or some scarves for your picnic. I used a woven blanket along with a sarong that I got in Mexico. I happen to have an excessive throw pillow collection, so I just grabbed those to add to some cozy pizazz to the picnic!