We’re just going to come out and say it – we get really excited about picnics. But come on, who doesn’t? Eating outside on a beautiful day just never loses its appeal. And doesn’t everything just taste better al fresco?
Lucky for us and any other picnic lovers, the mother of all outdoor celebrations is quickly approaching. We are, of course, talking about the 4th of July.
This year, our contribution to the picnic table is a delicious oat salad, studded with cranberries and almonds. The oat groats have a delightfully chewy texture and stand up well in the flavorful dressing.
Besides being delicious, we love this salad because it travels well and can be served chilled or at room temperature. The zero-mayonnaise dressing makes it picnic perfect!
Don’t get us wrong, we love mayo-based salads as much as anyone, but we definitely lose interest when they’ve been sitting in the sun for a couple hours. With no mayo or dairy ingredients, you can enjoy the company of your friends and family without having to worry about rushing this salad back into a cooler.
The star of the show here is oats, but it’s a type of oat you may not have tried before – oat groats, also known as hulled oats or hulled whole oats. We buy ours at the bulk foods store, but you could also check at your supermarket or natural foods store.
Cooking groats is a lot like cooking pasta. You’ll need a pot of boiling water and a pinch of salt. Boil them for 25 to 30 minutes, until al dente, then rinse under cold running water to stop the cooking and drain well. The cold water chills the oats and you’re ready to start the salad.
All of the ingredients in this salad perfectly complement each other. You’ve got the nutty, chewy oats, the crunchy, toasted almonds, the carrots and the cranberries, but the dressing is what really pulls it all together. To be honest we could drink this dressing straight – it’s a little sweet, a little tart, and those oats just soak it all up.
We can’t wait to share our oat creation this 4th of July; sharing food is just one way to form closer connections among family and friends. Plus, we’re already wondering how many of our relatives will recognize the oat groats? We can’t wait to see their looks of surprise.
- 2 cups oat groats (500 ml)
- 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (30 ml)
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (30 ml)
- 2 Tbsp orange juice (30 ml)
- 1 tsp orange zest (5 ml)
- 1 small clove garlic minced
- 1 tsp soy sauce (5 ml)
- 1 tsp honey (5 ml)
- 1 carrot grated
- 2 celery stalks, finely diced
- 2 scallions thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup almonds slivered, toasted (125 ml)
- 1/2 cup cranberries dried (125 ml)
- Cook oat groats in boiling water with a generous pinch of salt for 25-30 minutes. Drain and rinse well under cold running water. Allow oats to drain completely before assembling salad.
- Prepare the dressing: in a small bowl, whisk together orange juice, vinegar, honey, soy sauce, garlic and orange zest.
- In a large bowl, combine drained oats, grated carrot, celery, scallions, almonds and cranberries.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed.
- Let stand, covered, for one hour to let flavors develop.
- Serve at room temperature or chilled.