Gluten-free sausage rolls are tasty little bites of umami flavour - crispy, flaky crust wrapped around a savoury, meaty filling. Cut into handy appetizer sizes or full-length traditional rolls, they're perfect for snacks, picnics, or packed lunches. Scroll down for photos of a glorious fall picnic featuring these delectable nibbles in addition to other fantastic picnic fare.
We've been having the most amazing fall weather - the sun shining brilliantly and lighting up the rich autumn palette of changing leaves. It's picnic weather for sure!
Have a peek at the photos of our get-together with blogging friends, Nicoletta and Loreto from the lovely blog 'SugarLoveSpices', for a fantastic fall picnic on a beautiful September Sunday afternoon. Loreto scouted out the spot for us at the Strathearn Drive Lookout, and we had a wonderful view of the North Saskatchewan River and Edmonton's downtown skyline. The fall leaves were just starting to emerge in all their breathtaking glory and the sun shone warm on our faces as we chatted and laughed and ate our delectable picnic.
There's something romantic and soul-filling about having a picnic outdoors in a beautiful location. And to me, autumn is the very best time of year to enjoy a picnic. There's a fullness to the season that just begs one to be in the sunshine savouring that last spectacular hurrah sent by Mother Nature before she puts the world to bed for wintertime. Ever since I was a child, I've felt myself come just a bit more alive during fall - my favourite season of the year. There's a feeling of fulfillment and a kind of quickening inside - a sense of urgency to breathe in that crisp autumn air and experience every moment and every beautiful vista to its fullest.
After the heat of the summer, it feels like waking up. I find myself walking with just a bit more quickness and purpose in my steps and a more alive light in my eyes. My favourite autumn memories are of tromping quietly through the forest with my dad on fall hunting trips through the golden-leaved forest, and thinking back to the busy but wonderful fall harvest time growing up on a farm. All hands were busy with the bounty of the fields and garden to harvest. Our reward was the satisfying feeling of preparing and preserving food to feed the family during the winter ahead.
We've been busy with our own garden this fall. Taking a break from the work and spending an afternoon to enjoy a wonderful picnic with friends in these stunning fall-bedecked surroundings is one of those moments that makes life seem all the more precious and special. A reminder that we need to do this much more often.
Plus, who doesn't enjoy a fantastic feast eaten in the fresh air?
Being avid food bloggers, we had fun collaborating on our menu, keeping it simple and easily transportable. Finger foods and easy nibbling snacks make for the best type of picnic.
Our 'Fall Leaves Picnic' Menu
Charcuterie Platter with Whiskey Cheddar, Salami, Prosciutto, Olives, Walnuts, Pistachios
Hummus with nut crackers and carrot sticks
Gluten-Free Sausage Rolls
Non-Alcoholic Bubbly Sangria
Ginger Beer, Sparkling Water, Herbal Tea
Appetizer: We chose a simple charcuterie platter with just one good cheese, a couple cold cuts, olives, and nuts. Simple works best for a picnic.
Main: For our main course I made the gluten-free sausage rolls (recipe below) which are a favourite of ours. I like to keep a bag of these in the freezer, ready to pull out whenever I need a quick appetizer or last-minute idea for packed lunches. These sausage rolls taste great at room temperature - the crust is crispy and the sausage filling is rich and savoury, but not overly salty (like commercial versions can be), and the rolls pack well. Nicoletta and Loreto brought their delicious Spinach Frittata Rolls, loaded with umami flavour. These rolls are gluten-free, made with a delicious egg batter flavoured with tomato paste, that's simply baked then rolled around a luscious cream cheese filling loaded with spinach. These rolls are so flavourful - fantastic for a picnic.
We served both kinds of rolls with a simple, crunchy fresh coleslaw. (Coleslaw recipe: 1 lb. shredded cabbage (5½ cups), ¼ of a medium onion, thinly sliced, 1 stalk celery, thinly sliced diagonally, 2 carrots, shredded, ½ an apple, unpeeled, diced. Toss with a dressing made of: ¼ cup mayonnaise, ¼ cup sour cream or Greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon vinegar, 2 teaspoons honey or 1 tablespoon sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper.)
Dessert: What's better for autumn than apples? This fresh and portable version of a classic apple pie works beautifully for a picnic - gluten-free Apple Slab Pie with Buttery Streusel Topping. We served it with Nicoletta's colourful Macedonia Fruit Salad made with all the freshest fall fruits from the farmer's market.
Beverages: We raised our glasses in a toast with non-alcoholic Bubbly Sangria, and then sipped on ginger beer and sparkling water. We also packed a thermos of hot herbal tea in case anyone needed a warm pick-me-up.
A little bit of clowning around is always fun. This is what happens when the camera person yells out, 'Okay, everyone, yoga poses!'
What to Pack for a Pretty Perfect Picnic
Being prepared will ensure that your picnic is a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Below is a checklist of items to pack for a picnic, in addition to your choices of food and beverage items. We recommend environmentally friendly, unbreakable, re-usable plastic, tin, or bamboo dishes and utensils, rather than disposable ones.
- a picnic basket or an insulated cooler
- ice packs for keeping perishables cool
- thermos for hot drinks, if weather is cool
- resealable plastic containers for transporting food items
- plates (enameled tin, plastic, or bamboo)
- cutlery (plastic, metal, or bamboo)
- glasses or mugs (acrylic or plastic glasses or tin mugs)
- napkins (cloth or paper)
- small tin or wooden serving bowls
- serving spoons, forks, or tongs, if needed
- wooden cutting board for serving and cutting on
- sharp knife for cutting (wrap it in a tea towel or napkin)
- can opener, if needed
- large tablecloth or picnic blanket for serving food on
- picnic blankets for sitting on
- plastic bag for garbage, to take home
- plastic bag for dirty dishes, to take home
- paper towel or cloth rags, for accidental spills
- wipes, hand sanitizer, or damp cloths in ziptop plastic bags, for hand washes
- fresh flowers or branches of leaves, optional but they really add a special ambiance
We recommend taking a walk to explore your beautiful surroundings after the picnic, but you can also bring:
- folding camp chairs for sitting and enjoying the view
- a deck of cards or simple board game, favourite reading material, or sketching materials
- a camera to capture the experience (and for some chances at nature photography)
- a small backpack to take water and a snack if going for a longer walk after your picnic
After the Picnic, it's Time to Relax & Enjoy the View
We hope you're inspired to take the time out of your busy lives to gather up a friend or family member or two, pack up a picnic and head for a pretty spot somewhere that brings you joy. Whether you make up some special nibbles to take along like we did, or just grab a sandwich or some crackers, cheese, and apples, when you enjoy a picnic outdoors with the sun on your faces, life feels lighter and brighter. You'll be making special memories to treasure in the years to come.
We all need to take more time to add picnic moments to our lives.
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Head over to SugarLoveSpices to read Nicoletta and Loreto's story of the day and see their delicious recipes.
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Here's How to Make These Tasty Little Gluten-Free Sausage Rolls
First, make the sausage filling: fry up an onion and then mix it with ground pork, some of your favourite sausage meat, and a couple of savoury sausage spices. Then mix up a batch of the easy gluten-free pastry. Roll out the pastry to form four long rectangles like this:
Sprinkle with sesame seeds, and cut into sections (short ones for mini sausage rolls, or longer ones for traditional sausage rolls).
Then bake the rolls, cool them a bit, and cut them through again. Let them finish cooling on a rack, and your delicious gluten-free sausage rolls are ready to nibble.
Whether you make up these Gluten-Free Sausage Rolls to pack along on a picnic, to serve as appetizers for a crowd, or to have in your freezer for handy lunchbox packing, you'll be glad you did. They're always snapped up quickly when I serve them as appetizers - a popular favourite. The sausage filling is rich and flavourful (but not overly salty), and the gorgeous crust is flaky and crisp. Mmmmm, just the right kind of nibble.
Anyone for a picnic?
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Gluten Free Sausage Rolls
a 12-inch (30cm) ruler
for the sausage filling:
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic
- 13 oz. (375gms) gluten-free sausage meat, from breakfast sausages or your favourite sausage meat
- 1 lb. (454gms) lean ground pork
- ½ cup (80gms) fine, dry bread crumbs, gluten-free
- 2 teaspoons ground sage
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
for the gluten-free pastry:
- ½ cup (120ml) water
- ¼ cup (30gms) ground flax seeds
- 3 cups (420gms) gluten-free flour blend or regular flour for non-gluten-free
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup (200gms) lard chilled
- ¼ cup (60ml) plain yogurt
- 4 teaspoons sesame seeds optional
- 1 egg
make the sausage roll filling:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper that sticks up on each side by about 1 inch (2.5cm).
- Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat.
- Add the onions, and cook for 5 minutes, until translucent.
- Add the garlic, and sauté for 1 minute more, stirring constantly. Leave the onions to cool to lukewarm.
- Mix together the cooled onions, ground pork, sausage meat, breadcrumbs, sage, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Divide the mixture evenly into 4 parts (pat the mixture evenly into the bowl, and cut it into 4 wedges with a butter knife). Set aside.
make the pastry crust:
- Stir the flax seeds into the water and set aside to gel for 10 minutes.
- Measure the flour and salt into a large bowl. Cut the lard into chunks and add it to the flour.
- Cut the lard into the flour with a pastry cutter or two butter knives until it is in pea-sized chunks.
- Add the yogurt and the flax gel to the flour and stir with a fork to partially combine everything, then use your fingers to rub the flour into the butter. Use a light touch and mix the dough until the flour is barely all mixed in. Move the dough to a work surface and knead it 3 to 4 times to form a ball.
- Cut the ball of dough into 4 pieces, then roll each piece into a cylinder about 6 inches (15cm) long.
- Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll it on a floured work surface into a rectangle that is 5½ inches (14cm) wide and 12 inches (30cm) long. Use the ruler to gently push against the edges to straighten them or cut off wider pieces and patch them onto narrower sections of the rectangle.
make the sausage rolls:
- Scoop up one section of the prepared sausage meat filling, and form it into a log down the center of the rolled-out dough rectangle (the long way).
- Beat the egg in a small bowl with a fork, then brush some of the beaten egg down one long side of the rectangle.
- Bring up the other long side of the dough up and over the sausage log (use the ruler to help lift and support the dough as you bring it over) and roll the log up so the dough overlaps with the egg-brushed edge. Gently squeeze and shape the log into an even roll, patting together any cracks that have formed.
- Use the ruler to help lift the sausage roll onto one of the prepared baking sheets. Brush the roll with beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds (if using).
- Repeat with the other 3 pieces of dough and sausage meat, putting two logs onto each baking sheet.
- Gently cut each log into 8 sections - it's okay if you don't cut perfectly all the way through - this step just helps make it easier to cut the sections after baking, and helps the heat get between the pieces. You will have 32 sausage roll bites. If you wish, you can make larger sausage rolls by cutting each log into 3 or 4 pieces.
- Bake the sausage rolls for 35 to 40 minutes, until golden brown. (If using regular flour, check them at 30 minutes, as they'll brown faster). Some of the fat will be melted and pooled around the sausage rolls. Leave them in the pans to cool for 10 minutes (the oil will re-absorb into the rolls, helping keep the crust crispy). Then slice through each of the cuts again to separate the rolls into pieces and put them onto a cooling rack to finish cooling off.
- Sausage rolls can be served warm, cool, or chilled. They will keep in the fridge for up to a week, and can be frozen for up to 6 months.
- Makes 32 mini sausage rolls (or 12-16 longer sausage rolls).
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A Few Other Great Picnic Food Ideas
- Gluten-Free Empanadas
- Cold Fried Chicken
- Boiled Eggs or Pickled Eggs
- Egg Salad or Tuna Salad and Crackers or Bread
- Gluten-Free Beef Sausage Rolls with Rice Paper Wrappers
- Spinach and Salmon Salad Rolls
- Apple & Shrimp Summer Rolls
- Tuna or Sardine Pâté and Crackers
- Hummus and Tortilla Chips & Veggie Sticks
- Guacamole or Fresh Salsa & Tortilla Chips