Camp's Favorite Picnic Foods For Your Next Family Outing
Does your family’s picnic menu harken back to the days of jello molds? Do you still make Aunt Martha’s soggy pasta salad because it’s tradition? Do you pack the same brownies from a mix because you’re too lazy to find a new dessert recipe?
Erica Silverstein · 13 days ago
Put the pep back in your picnic basket by giving the classics a modern makeover and taking inspiration from international flavors. New family favorites await your discovery in our list of top picnic foods for your outdoor dining pleasure. With dishes like these in your repertoire, we predict your picnic blanket will see heavy use this summer.
Turkey Cranberry Pinwheels
Pinwheels, roll-ups, Aram sandwiches — call them what you will; they’re all sandwiches made from flatbreads topped with meat and veg, rolled into a log, and cut into rounds. They’re also perfect for picnics. The bite-size wraps travel well in Tupperware, and kids can polish off one or two, run off to play, and come back for seconds. Mom on Timeout suggests a turkey-cranberry version that transcends Thanksgiving, but you can top your pinwheels with your favorite deli meats, cheeses, and vegetables.
No picnic is complete without fan-favorite deviled eggs. But you don’t have to stick to the tried-and-true recipe. One Lovely Life thinks outside the carton with 12 versions of deviled eggs, including avocado, sriracha and lime, salsa verde, and buffalo flavors. Skip the cornhole and arrange a blind deviled egg taste test for your picnic entertainment.
Lemon Blueberry Whoopie Pies
Embrace summer flavors with a picnic dessert that melds refreshing lemon with juicy blueberries. Skip the heavy chocolate cake or cookies in favor of A Spicy Perspective’s lemon blueberry whoopie pies. Your family will adore biting into the soft, cakey cookies and licking out the lemony filling Oreo-style. They’ll be so pleased; they’ll be shouting “Whoopie!” after the first taste.
Thai Peanut Chicken Pasta
Peanut noodles are a dish that works equally well hot or cold and are decidedly more exciting than the stereotypical pasta salad. Dinner Then Dessert shares her take on CPK’s Thai peanut chicken pasta dish; vegetarians can trade out the chicken for tofu or add extra sliced veggies. Beware: If you love this dish, double the batch because everyone will want another helping.
Want your picnic fare to be Instagram-ready? These rainbow veggie kabobs from Two Healthy Kitchens are good for you and ready for their close-up. They pair well with edamame hummus or avocado ranch dip, both in flavor and in photos. Want to see rainbows everywhere? You can skewer colorful fruit, as well.
Brownies and cookies are traditional picnic desserts, but you like to zig when others zag. Merge the two concepts and show up with Brown Eyed Baker’s snickerdoodle blondies. They look like a dessert bar but taste like a cinnamon-sugar cookie. Even better, they’re easy to make, but don’t let anyone in on that secret when they’re raving about your gourmet picnic treats.
If you went on a picnic in the Spanish countryside, you’d likely pack wedges of tortilla Espanola, a Spanish-style omelet. This four-ingredient dish needs only eggs, onion, potatoes, and oil and can be eaten hot, cold, on its own, or in a sandwich. Healthy Little Foodies’ recipe even gets a toddler stamp of approval — and we all know that’s as hard to come by as a couple of Michelin stars.
Grilled Sweet Potato Salad
When did potato salad and coleslaw become the standard picnic side dishes? Does anyone actually enjoy them, or have we all been conditioned to accept their presence next to fried chicken and deli sandwiches? Instead of pondering these existential picnic questions, meditate your way over to Two Peas and Their Pod’s Southwestern grilled sweet potato salad recipe. BBQ-charred flavors mix with fresh lime to give it the hands-down edge over the boiled boredom and heavy mayo of grandma’s picnic potatoes.
Those summer fruits and berries are begging you to put them in a pie, but the crust never holds up in your picnic basket. Your knight in shining armor? The slab pie. It’s a pie made in a rectangular pan with a sturdier crust that doesn’t crumble on your way to the park. Your slice can even be eaten like a hand-held. For a less traditional summer flavor profile, check out this nectarine honey slab pie from Brown Eyed Baker.
Avocado Summer Roll
If it’s called a summer roll, it should contain summery flavors, right? Love and Lemons’ Asian-inspired rice paper rolls do just that. Filled with peaches, basil, cucumber, and radishes, these portable appetizers taste even better when dipped in basil coconut sauce. They are destined to be eaten outdoors as the sun filters in through the trees, and a pleasant breeze kisses your sunburned brow.
Doughy pockets filled with beef and veggies demand to be cradled in your hands, not abandoned on a plate and stabbed with a fork. Leave the cutlery at home and dig into these Argentinian pastries. Like their picnic-friendly cousins, the calzone, the hot pocket, and the pasty, empanadas can be made with your family’s choice of meat, veg, beans, or cheese, satisfying all the veggie lovers, veggie haters, and other food critics at your outing.
Cheesecake in a Jar
Tupperware is so 1950s; today, all the cool families transport their desserts in Mason jars. Pack these individual no-bake oreo cheesecakes in your picnic basket to keep up with the Joneses and to keep your family from fighting over the last slice of pie. Country Cleaver’s decadent recipe is quicker and more straightforward than baking an actual cheesecake, leaving you extra time to post pics of your latest creation online — or prepare other delectable picnic food for your family.
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