Hollywood Bowl Time! (AKA the fancy picnic)

In Los Angeles, Hollywood Bowl season is Screen Shot 2013-05-07 at 9.36.07 PMupon us–when hoards of Angelenos dust off their wine backpacks and head out for nights of music under the stars, to hear everything from classical music to jazz to rock to “The Sound of Music” sing-alongs. And aside from a beautiful natural setting right in the middle of Hollywood, enjoying the lovely LA evening weather and hearing some of the best performers in the world, the BEST thing about the Bowl is that you can bring in whatever food you want. You can even bring in your own alcohol for most events.

This means the Hollywood Bowl is a GREAT way to enjoy really good food, but also control your calories. You aren’t limited to a stadium-style hot dog and garlic fries like at most concerts (though they have that stuff too if you’re in the mood for a splurge.) Here’s my FAVORITE Hollywood Bowl picnic recipe. Either pair this with some light chips and the beverage of your choice, or let someone else handle the side dish, because you’re bringing some awesome sandwiches!

Muffaletta Sandwiches

(Cooking Light, March 2003)

Sarah’s Note: This is perfect picnic food, whether you’re headed to the Bowl, the beach, the lake, or any non-grill-adjacent picnic spot. These sandwiches need to be made ahead, wrapped up, and “aged” a bit to get the full effect– it helps meld the flavors together.

They are about 7 Points Plus each– but you can do variations to make them even lower; leave off the cheese or use a low-fat version; make some without the roast beef; make vegetarian-friendly versions. The olive salad topping is so tasty you’ll barely miss what you leave off!

1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons capers, drained
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
1 (7-ounce) bottle roasted red bell peppers, drained and chopped
1 garlic clove, minced

12 (1 1/2-ounce) French bread rolls
6 (1-ounce) slices Swiss cheese
6 cups gourmet salad greens
12 (1-ounce) slices deli roast beef
12 (1-ounce) slices roasted breast of chicken

To prepare olive salad, combine first eight ingredients in food processor. Process 30 seconds or until finely chopped; chill.
To prepare muffuletta, cut rolls in half horizontally. Cut each cheese slice in half crosswise. Spread about 2 1/2 tablespoons of olive mixture onto top half of each roll. Layer 1/2 cup greens, 1/2 cheese slice, 1 roast beef slice, and 1 chicken slice on each roll bottom; cover with top of roll.
Wrap each sandwich tightly in plastic wrap; chill up to 8 hours. Yield: 12 servings. (and I always have enough to make more than 12, so you might want to buy a bit of extra meat and bread!)

Now I’m hungry…

Originally published on the now-defunct 3 Shrinking Ladies blog.

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