With the 4th of July right around the corner I’ve decided to create a naturally gluten-free picnic (or BBQ) menu that’s perfect for your firework festivities.

I love this time of year.

Summer is finally here – the birds are chirping – the sun is shining – and everyone is loving life.

Well, it seems that way, at least.

Doesn’t it?

I feel like everyone smiles a bit more in the summer.

I think it’s the sunshine and warm weather, hehe.

For me, there’s nothing quite like the feel of a cool breeze from the ocean while sitting on my back deck and soaking up the sun with a class of homemade iced tea.

This is what I live for every summer.

Manhattan has been quite hot so I’ve been spending lots of time at the beach with my family.

A lil’ rest n’ relaxation and a whole lotta cooking.

This is my kinda summer.

So with the big picnic n’ BBQ holiday on Wednesday, I thought I’d share a fun pasta salad recipe with y’all.  It’s easy to whip up and perfect when paired with chicken, fish or tofu on the grill. And the best part is that I’ve teamed up with my buddy, Cara from Cara’s Cravings to bring you a fun 4th of July menu that’s perfect for your holiday get-together.

So, let’s start with what you’ll need for this picnic adventure, shall we?

Picnic Check-List

  • Easy n’ yummy foods (recipes below) made without mayo, stored in resealable containers.
  • Ice packs for keeping food chilled.
  • Drinks for kids and adults such as freshly brewed iced tea or freshly squeezed lemonade.
  • Condiments such as ketchup, mustard, salsa and guacamole.
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
  • Cups and plates.
  • Utensils and serving utensils
  • Cutting board
  • Cloth napkins
  • Trash bags
  • Cotton blanket
  • Picnic basket and tote bag

Now that you’ve got your list in hand – let’s move onto the food because you’re gunna be hungry in a minute.

I whipped up this yummy pasta salad this week and I’m going to be creating again and again this summer – this recipe was a hit!

It’s made with gluten-free pasta, fresh herbs n’ veggies from my garden.

Simple, easy and fresh.

Just the way I like it.

So don’t stress about this sunny holiday – you can sit back and relax because I’ve put together a few fun n’ tasty recipes and a picnic check-list for your 4th of July festivities that you can whip up in no time.

Grilled Summer Squash with Yogurt Cumin Sauce from Gourmande

Baked Garbanzos from Sodium Girl

Smoked Mustard-Rosemary Chicken Drumsticks from Cara’s Cravings

Watermelon Frozen Yogurt Ice Pops from Family Fresh Cooking

So, go ahead and whip out your red n’ white checkered table cloth or strike up your grill and start planning your 4th of July smorgasbord before it’s too late.

I’m headin’ to the beach for a week of cookin’ and beachin’.

Happy 4th of July!


Asparagus Goat Cheese Pasta Salad
Serves: 4
Gluten-Free and Vegetarian
Author: Amie
Recipe type: Entree


  • 1/4 cup macadamia nuts
  • 1 pound gluten-free penne pasta
  • 2 bunches asparagus trimmed, halved lengthwise, and cut crosswise into thirds
  • 4 ounces goat cheese broken into pieces
  • 2 scallions finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ tsp. paprika
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a small skillet over medium heat, toast macadamia nuts, stirring often, until golden, approximately 3 minutes.
  2. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente, according to the package instructions, add asparagus during the last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain; return pasta and asparagus to pot. Toss with goat cheese, scallions, lemon zest, parsley, paprika, sea salt, pepper and toasted macadamia nuts.
  3. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately or cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Nutrition Facts
Asparagus Goat Cheese Pasta Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 567 Calories from Fat 144
% Daily Value*
Fat 16g25%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 13mg4%
Sodium 354mg15%
Potassium 567mg16%
Carbohydrates 82g27%
Fiber 15g63%
Sugar 8g9%
Protein 25g50%
Vitamin A 2831IU57%
Vitamin C 28mg34%
Calcium 122mg12%
Iron 6mg33%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.



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    1. Awe; love you Cara! Have a fabulous 4th; wish we lived closer so we could share our picnic together.

  1. I created something similar earlier in the spring and it was to die for! I want to dive head first into yours, it’s so beautiful! Can’t wait to make it! As always, thanks!

  2. 5 stars
    Amie~ As always, your pictures are absolutely amazing and completely drool-worthy 🙂 LOVE the picnic check list! Wishing you a happy and gluten-free holiday.

    1. Awe; thank you Mikelle; you are so kind! Thank you for your comment. Have a lovely holiday weekend and thank you for making my night!