June is just around the corner, which means one thing: it’s time to picnic, grill, and snack in the sun! At First Descents, we are all about food as a form of nourishment and of community connection. What’s better than gathering around the picnic table and fueling your bodies after a day spent adventuring? It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
But, we also know that it’s hard to get creative with summer sides and snacks. Potato salad rules the season, burgers and buns monopolize plates, and watermelon wedges are practically falling from the sky! We called upon professional FD chef Uncle Buck to share his culinary expertise on how to revamp our picnic baskets with delicious, nutricious, and simple recipes. Sound too good to be true? Just wait until you taste them!
Uncle Buck’s Chickpea Waldorf Salad
This is a fun take on a classic summer salad! It goes great on top of spring mix with some grilled pita bread. The best part? It’s fast, simple and packed full of protein.
lemon juice, tabasco, salt and pepper
In a large bowl, add all ingredients. Add the mayo, and using your freshly washed or gloved hands, mix it together and “mash” the chickpeas together by squeezing your hands. This will help bind it.
Shrimp Stuffed Avocados with a Quinoa Tabouleh Salad
This is a great picnic snack, perfect for tossing in a tupperware and heading to the park, beach, or trail! Pro-Tip: Uncle Buck makes bulk of the tabouleh salad for a healthy, filling go-to summer snack!
For the stuffed avocados:
Old-Bay seasoning (optional)
Create a “bowl” in the avocados by using a spoon and scooping out some of the middle of the avocado. Reserve all your avocado “scraps”, and blend it up with the mayo. Voila! Now you have Avo-Mayo.
Mix all ingredients together, and adjust your seasoning how you like, (old-bay is magic dust in this recipe, just sayin…). Finally, Stuff your avocado, add maybe a dot of Sriracha on top, and ENJOY!
For the Tabouleh salad:
Good question! We are all about knowing where our food comes from, and who is behind the recipes we love. We sat down with Uncle Buck to learn a little bit about his enthusiasm for cooking and First Descents.
FD: What is your history at FD?
Buck: Like all good stories, this started at a local bar. I sat down next to our now Chef Manager Mia (Veggetti) randomly, we started talking about the culinary schools we attended, chefs we knew and worked for and other culinary topics. Then she brought up First descents, and the work she does with them. Now, if you have ever met Veggetti, you will know how enthusiastic she is about FD. And that positive energy really struck me at a time when I was in a culinary funk.
After many emails, light begging and crossing fingers, I was offered a sous chef position. I worked my first 2 week program in CO in 2017 under the direction of Veggetti.
That experience of learning how powerful healthy, good food can be, and seeing first hand the positive affects it can have, really changed me to learn more about how to cook healthier.
My culinary passion was reignited, and now burns hotter than ever as I travel across the country cooking delicious and healthy food in my third season with FD.
FD: Why are you so passionate about cooking for FD participants?
Please note that First Descents does not conduct nutritional research studies, nor does FD encourage readers to ensue any dramatic dietary or nutritional shifts without first consulting a doctor or certified nutritionist.