Summer Picnic Salad with Blueberries & Vegan “Feta”

This summer picnic salad with blueberries, corn and vegan “feta” style almond cheese is refreshing, crowd-pleasing, and loaded with goodness.

An up close, overhead shot of a summer picnic salad with corn, blueberries, garlic scapes, pink rice, and pieces of vegan "feta" cheese.
This post is sponsored by BC Blueberries.
An overhead shot of fresh blueberries in a red-handled enamelware pot on a marble background.
A grid of 4 images shows: swooped out mixture of vegan "feta" before baking, corn cops and garlic scapes in a cast iron skillet being charred, a tangle of fresh garlic scapes, an open bag of dry, uncooked pink rice.
An up close, overhead shot of a summer picnic salad with corn, blueberries, garlic scapes, pink rice, and pieces of vegan "feta" cheese.


Over in my neck of the woods, we’re kind of racing to the finish line to get through this week. My partner and I have both been going a little crazy with our respective work lately, pulling and stretching into new territories all the while. Growth is awesome, but complicating your existence by thinking about work all the time is not!

Once we push just a couple more things off our plate, we’re golden. I’ve bookmarked a few nourishing recipes that I plan to make at a very leisurely pace. I’m packing my beach bag with plenty of refreshment and reading material for some sunny days. And I’m back on that coffee train (so weak haha), so cold brew will ABOUND. Low key summer living with our dog in tow.

I think everyone needs a crowd-pleasing potluck/beach picnic contribution when summertime comes around. I’m hoping I can solve that for a few people with this summer picnic salad with blueberries. For me, making this kind of dish usually means a grain salad with lots of fresh vegetables, herbs, a protein-packed element, a simple dressing, and one or two components that are interesting/unexpected. For this particular salad, I stir in a hearty amount of juicy highbush blueberries (the big ones) and some totally vegan, almond-based “feta” style cheese to lure my people in. It’s a winner for real!

We’re in peak strawberry season in Ontario right now, and usually when that happens, I start craving other berries immediately. Lucky for me, BC blueberries are getting into their stride real soon (now until August), and they’re distributed all throughout Canada. I really hope you try this recipe with its salty, nutty, savoury, sweet, and juicy elements. If you’d like a little more blueberry inspiration, there’s plenty on the BC Blueberries website.

If you like this summer picnic salad with blueberries, you might also enjoy my Shaved Zucchini Salad with Plum, Herbs & Almonds.

An overhead shot of ingredients for a summery grain salad on a cutting board.
A zoomed out overhead shot of a summer picnic salad with corn, blueberries, garlic scapes, pink rice, and pieces of vegan "feta" cheese.
Summer Picnic Salad with Blueberries & Vegan Almond Feta - The First Mess
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Summer Picnic Salad with Blueberries & Vegan “Feta”

This summer picnic salad with blueberries, corn and vegan "feta" style almond cheese is refreshing, crowd-pleasing, and loaded with goodness.
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 6
Author: Laura Wright

Equipment

Ingredients

Vegan Feta

  • 1 cup slivered almonds, soaked for at least 1 hour
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon mellow/light miso
  • cup water, plus extra if needed

Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup olive oil or grapeseed oil
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Salad

  • 1 cup uncooked/raw whole grain rice of your choice
  • 2 cobs of corn, husks removed
  • 3-4 garlic scapes, tough parts of the stem removed
  • 1 ripe, but firm, peach/nectarine, pitted and diced
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 2 sprigs basil, leaves chopped (I used half purple basil and half Thai)
  • 2 sprigs mint, leaves chopped

Instructions

  • Make the feta. Drain the almonds and transfer them to an upright blender. Add the lemon juice, olive oil, miso, salt, and water to the blender as well. Whizz this mixture on high until completely smooth and creamy.
  • Scrape the almond cream mixture into a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the cream set up in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Retrieve the almond cream and scrape it out onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. With a spatula, spread the cream out into a circle, about a ½ inch thick. Slide the tray into the oven and bake until lightly firm on the top, about 35 minutes. The colour will also appear a shade or two darker on the top. Transfer the baked “feta” to the refrigerator and let it set up while you prepare the rest of the salad.
  • Make the dressing. Combine the apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, oil, salt, and pepper in a sealable jar. Close the lid tight and shake vigorously to combine. Set aside.
  • Cook rice according to package directions. Transfer warm rice to a large bowl and pour half of the dressing over top. Toss to combine.
  • Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat and place the corn cobs and garlic scapes in the pan. Cook vegetables, turning over frequently, until charred on all sides and lightly softened. Transfer vegetables to a cutting board.
  • Cut the kernels off of the corn cobs and cut the scapes into 1-inch pieces. Add corn and scapes to the bowl with the rice. Add the diced peach, blueberries, basil, mint, and remaining dressing to the bowl, and toss to combine. Check the salad for seasoning at this point and adjust if necessary.
  • Retrieve the “feta” from the refrigerator. Using a spoon, make little scoops of the “feta” for a crumbled appearance. It should be similar to the texture of goat cheese. Use about half of the “feta” to top the salad.
  • Serve summer picnic salad immediately or place in a sealed container to keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Notes

  • Feta method adapted from The Vegetarian Times
  • If you can’t find garlic scapes where you live right now, feel free to substitute chopped green onions, thinly sliced shallots or even a ½ cup of thin red onion slices.
  • Also, it goes without saying that if you eat dairy, just use about 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese of choice.
A 3/4 angle shot of a summer picnic salad with corn, blueberries, garlic scapes, pink rice, and pieces of vegan "feta" cheese.

*This post was created in partnership with BC Blueberries. All opinions/endorsements are my own. Thanks for supporting!

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