California Dreaming, Picnics and Wine Pairings.
As a CK Mondavi & Family Wines Ambassador, I’m happy to share my easy and healthy Roasted Chickpeas Mediterranean Salad with a rich and vibrant grilled lemon white wine vinaigrette. It’s perfect for Spring and Summer picnics (or in Florida – all year round!). All opinions are my own. As always, I only share with you products and experiences I love to inspire you to go #MakeSomedayHappen one delicious bite, sip and trip at a time.Jump to Recipe
“Summer Summer Summertime…time to sit back and unwind.”The Fresh Prince
Here’s An Easy Way To Relax This Summer:
With the Memorial holiday weekend in the books, Summer has un-officially begun. In the famous words of The Fresh Prince, aka Will Smith, it’s time to relax. And, I got the perfect plan to help you do just that.
- Pack an epic picnic. (Check out my 9 tips for an epic picnic.)
- Prepare this Roasted Chickpeas Mediterranean Salad with Grilled Lemon White Wine Vinaigrette. It’s healthy, full of flavor and can be easily packed in a mason jar for on the go meals. It’s also easy to modify to suit a plant-based diet (just skip the cheese) or gluten-free (skip the Orzo).
- Don’t forget to pack the wine. A crisp, refreshing CK Mondavi Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio goes beautifully with the bright dressing.
- Head to the beach, nearest park, or even your backyard. (in bad weather, spread your picnic blanket on the living room floor and pretend you’re in Cali.)
- Sit back and unwind!
Travel Inspiration: Napa, California
All my recipes are inspired by travel and this one is no different. Napa is the U.S. Mecca for wine lovers and although I’ve been a few times, returning is always on my mind. I still have to cross dining at Thomas Keller’s French Laundry Restaurant from my bucket list.
Picnics and wine in Napa sound like the perfect vacation.
This recipe includes crisp, fresh veggies, and a combo of salad greens and pasta. The bright flavors of grilled lemons and Mediterranean influences remind me of California’s cuisine.
My first visit to Napa was truly unforgettable. My sisters, niece, cousins and I had an epic girls trip celebrating my big sister’s 50th birthday. We visited various wineries, had a picnic in the park in front of Thomas Keller’s Bouchon and even attended the Napa Film Festival Opening Night party! It was all about family, food, wine and fun.
Angelina Mondavi, the great granddaughter of CK Mondavi founder Cesare Mondavi, shared her favorite Summer memories with her family during a recent webinar. She mentioned playing bocce ball, grilling oysters and sipping wine which reminded me of our special trip to Napa.
It’s one of the reasons I’ve enjoyed being a CK Mondavi & Family Wines Ambassador for the past three years. They’re all about family, food, wine and fun just like us (they are also four sisters!) Angelina is part of the fourth generation who is actively involved in the success of this All American winery.
Win a Trip To Napa!
If Napa is on your list, then you must click here for a chance to WIN A TRIP TO NAPA VALLEY courtesy of the CK Mondavi Family. You’ll even get to play bocce with them. If you win, please take me as your plus one!
“CK Mondavi wines are always approachable, delicious wines that everyone can enjoy. Salute!”Randy Herron, Winemaker
Can you add wine to vinaigrette dressing?
I’m always looking to do things I’ve never done in the kitchen, from techniques to recipes. I learned from friends that you could add wine (not just wine vinegar) to a dressing and was intrigued. So I did. Because, wine not? (wink)
Surprisingly, it added an extra layer and depth of flavor. I tried both the CK Mondavi Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio which is lighter in acidity. The tropical notes let the intense flavor of the grilled lemon juice shine through. The Sauvignon Blanc, which is crisp and more herbaceous like the veggies worked as well but I had to add a bit more honey to balance it out.
My recommendation: Use whichever wine you want to drink that day.
The wine in your dressing is something your guests wouldn’t be able to put their finger on, but it adds a touch of fun.
Roasted Chickpeas Salad with Grilled Lemon Wine Vinaigrette
This fun salad features a variety of crunchy veggies, fresh salad greens and Orzo, tossed with bright vinaigrette made with juice of Grilled Lemons and White Wine. Crispy roasted chickpeas make a healthy and flavorful salad topping. Great source of protein, plant-based diet friendly salad for a picnic or lunch on the go.
- 1 head of Romaine lettuce rough chopped
- 8 oz Orzo uncooked (or sub for Israeli Couscous, bowtie or rotini pasta – skip for gluten-free)
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh herbs (use any combination of fresh Flat leaf parsley, basil or mint.)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 oz baby artichokes
- 2 cups variety of crunchy crisp veggies Sweet Peppers, Asparagus, English Cucumber
- 8 grape tomatoes halved
- 4 oz Feta cheese crumbled (skip for vegan option)
- Roasted Chickpeas garnish (see recipe below)
- Grilled Lemon White Wine Vinaigrette (see recipe below)
- 1 Pinch dried oregano
- 1 Pinch dried thyme
- Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste
Prepare roasted chickpeas (see recipe)
Prepare grilled lemon white wine vinaigrette (see recipe)
Prepare orzo (or pasta) following package instructions
Drain orzo, cool in refrigerator, then toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt, pepper, pinch of dried oregano and pinch of dried thyme and fresh chopped herbs/.
When ready to serve salad, toss lettuce, orzo, crunchy veggies and tomatoes with dressing.
Garnish with roasted chickpeas and feta cheese.
If assembling in a mason jar, do not toss ingredients with dressing. Instead layer in this order from bottom of the jar to top: dressing, crunchy veggies, artichokes, tomatoes, orzo, lettuce, feta, chickpeas
- 1 15.5 oz can chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoon Paprika or Smoked Paprika (you can use a combination if you have both)
- 1 Pinch cayenne pepper if you like it spicy
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375F
Pat the chickpeas with a paper towel to remove some of the moisture. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Bake 30 minutes, check at the halfway point and stir around to make sure they haven’t stuck to the pan.
Remove chickpeas from the oven, transfer to a mixing bowl and add the seasonings. (olive oil, paprika, cayenne, oregano, thyme, salt, pepper). Toss to coat.
Spread the seasoned chickpeas on baking sheet and return to oven for additional 10 minutes or until golden and crispy.
Remove from the oven and let cool if serving in a mason jar. If serving directly, you can enjoy while still warm.
This dressing takes all the best of a Greek dressing and amps up the flavors by grilling the lemons and adding a touch of white wine in addition to lemon juice and white wine vinegar. It's perfect to toss salad greens, pasta and even as marinade for chicken, shrimp or pork.
- 1 large lemon grilled and juiced (aprox. 2 Tablespoons depending on size)
- 2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon crisp white wine I used CK Mondavi Pinot Grigio
- 4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons creamy Dijon mustard
- 3 Tablespoons local honey
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- Kosher Salt and Fresh Cracked Pepper to taste
Heat a grill or grill pan on high heat.
Cut lemons in half, drizzle olive oil on the cut side and place cut side down on hot grill.
Sear for 4 minutes. You should get a nice char but don’t overcook or it will increase the bitterness.
Juice lemons and combine all ingredients in a Mason jar for a vigorous shake.
If you’re short on time, you can skip grilling the lemons. You may need to reduce the quantity of honey and adjust ratio of oil to acid to suit your tastes.
My fellow CK Mondavi Ambassadors have also created some fun recipes perfect for picnic like this Spicy Cucumber Salad, Strawberry Rhubarb Salad, Peach Panzanella Salad, Chicken Onion and Fig Tarts and grilled ham and cheese sandwich. Looking for dessert ideas: Strawberry Cream Cheese Bars, Lemon Chardonnay pound cake, and Berry Trifles
I hope you’re inspired to celebrate Summer (or any day) with a fun picnic salad, wine and friends. Go #MakeSomedayHappen one delicious bite, sip and trip at a time.
Disclosure: This post is written in partnership with T.G. Lee and Dairy Farmers of America. As always, all opinions are my own. I only share with you products and experiences I love to inspire you to get together with family and friends, celebrate life and go #MakeSomedayHappen one delicious bite, sip and trip at a time! To learn more about my guidelines, check out my disclosure policy. Cheers!