This summer, pack picnic food for lunch or dinner. Read on for delicious recipes you can use to create on-the-go meal plans, feeding happy people, and keeping the kitchen clean.
It’s summertime. Eating “out” means eating outside and while watermelon and snacks go a long way, sometimes you still need a meal. Picnic recipes need to be crowd-pleasing, and easy to grill or pack. I also require quick prep for my picnic menu because when six people need sunscreen applied, my cooking time is limited.
Read on for some easy picnic food ideas for the pool, beach, park, or even backyard.
Picnic Food: Salads
Salads are easy to prep and transport. The right salad can even give be the main course, loaded with tasty vegetables and proteins. Here are two of my picnic favorites.
Shauna Niequist Summer Salad
Shauna posted about this easy-to-make recipe on her Facebook page years ago and its been a favorite of mine ever since. Raw corn! Finally! Here’s all you need: 6 ears of raw corn cut off the cob, halved grape tomatoes, crumbled feta, minced red onion, salt, and pepper.
Yes. That’s IT. Perfect picnic menu item, make-ahead, family-friendly, and a colorful crowd-pleaser. You didn’t even have to cook the corn.
Picnic Pasta Salad
This picnic pasta salad does double-time as the main dish, as it includes everything you could need for any meal, ever. Use this picnic idea for the kid who just wants to load up on cheese balls. Eat this first, and then let him loose. It’s summer!
Picnic Pasta Salad
- 1 16 oz. macaroni (or pasta of choice) cooked according to package directions and cooled
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese diced
- 1 cup diced salami
- 1 cup thawed frozen peas
- 1 6-ounce) can pitted black olives
- 1 cup celery diced
- ½ cup red onion diced
- ½ cup diced dill pickle
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tsp dry mustard
- salt and pepper to taste
- Combine pasta, cheese, salami, peas, olives, celery, onion, and pickles in a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, dry mustard, salt, and pepper. Stir into pasta mixture, then cover.
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until served.
Grilled Picnic Food You Haven’t Thought of
Want to grill but tired of burgers? Kabobs are easy to prep and pack. Wholesome Foodie Mom on the Street Amy Rains recently posted a new twist on classic kabobs, using the delightful summertime taste blend of pineapple and shrimp.
And wait – what’s this? Is this even possible? These Loaded Picnic Waffle Fries could be enough to bring all the joy to Summer 2020. You cook this miracle on a grill in an aluminum pan. Once the pan is licked clean, you toss it. Dinner and clean up done. Happiness achieved.
Wrapped Picnic Main Courses
But if you want to arrive at the picnic or pool with grab-and-go finger food, try a wrap or sandwich recipe. This cobb salad wrap sandwich is a winner for all the picnic food groups.
Chicken avocado roll-ups use a mayo-free chicken salad for a pre-made, pre-wrapped, one-handed dinner.
But if your dinner crew is one of the highest culinary taste…give them homemade uncrustables. Peanut butter and jelly hits the spot in the summer, and you can do your own ahead of time, freeze, and with less sugar. So they are primed for the popsicles.
Picnic Food: Fruits and Veggies
Fruits and Veggies are a must for every meal. So how do we make them more festive for an outside event? One magic word: dip. As in this Farm Stand Fruit Dip, gluten-free, made with cream cheese and marshmallow cream. Keep the fruit coming!
Win Dessert at the Pool or Picnic
Dessert outside in the summer can be as easy as fudge pops. (And really what is better?) But if you want to make a sweet-it’s-summer statement, go for the Dirt Cake. People just don’t make this enough. And it’s so thrilling when it appears. Let’s, together, make More Dirt Cake a goal.
Poolside Party Fluff had me at the name. There are a million ways you can vary this recipe to please your Fluff Eaters, i.e. more chocolate, less coconut, all the fun.
Picnic Friendly Is Summer Friendly
Summertime is time to be out – out of the kitchen, house, and out of the water just long enough to grab some yummy food. Hot dogs and potato salad are only the beginning. Get creative with what you pack in the cooler! Enjoy the flavors of pools and summer picnics all season long.1