A picnic table under a huge tree. Where else can you and your family and friends have a picnic at twilight?
Few things scream “summer” more than eating outside, especially whenplenty of friends and plush green grass are involved. But sometimes, transporting that gourmet meal to the park and eating without a table can be tricky. Here are 38 healthy and (most importantly) portable recipes to try at your next summer picnic. Before you head out, try this DIY picnic blanketproject for a blanket that can stand up to your crew — and all the spills — too!
1. Pressed Roasted Vegetable Sandwich This recipe certainty doesn’t skimp on the veggies. Oven-roasted tomatoes, eggplant, and bell peppers get layered with homemade pesto and fresh mozzarella for a super flavorful, antioxidant-filled meal.
2. Hummus-Veggie Spirals This might be the perfect healthier sandwich. Using lavash (a thin flatbread available near the deli section of most grocery stores) on the outside cuts down on carbs, hummus replaces other fatty spreads like mayo or cheese, and the inside’s all veggies, including protein-rich edamame and healthy-fat-filled avocado.
3. Muffuletta This New Orleans classic is not kidding around. A mixed olive salad makes this sandwich unique and adds tons of color and flavor to an otherwise meat-heavy meal. Be forewarned: It’s considered blasphemous to toast or otherwise heat a Muffuletta.
9. Shaved Beet, Carrot, and Radish Salad This simple salad’s as healthy as it is gorgeous. Thinly sliced raw carrots, beets, and radishes create a crunchy, fresh-tasting side dish packed with antioxidants. The dressing — flavored with apple cider vinegar, Dijon, and coriander — is perfectly acidic and slightly spicy.
10. Potato Salad with Green Olive Pesto Walnuts and olives add an interesting twist to the pesto that dresses this mayo-free potato and egg salad. Celery adds some nice crunch to the mix.
11. Barley-Wax Been Salad with Golden Beets and Cucumbers When summer hits and farmers markets are overflowing with fresh produce, there’s really no way to make a bad salad. This combo of cucumber, yellow beets, wax beans, and red onion gets some protein from a hearty barley base and some sweetness and crunch from walnuts.
17. Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Bites One the easiest ways to enjoy quinoa is in mini-bite form. Mix a bit of the cooked grain with fillings and flavorings (shredded chicken, goat cheese, sharp cheddar, buffalo sauce, and breadcrumbs), scoop the mixture into a mini muffin tin, and bake. When they come out, they’re crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. A creamy dipping sauce — like this one with Greek yogurt, blue cheese, and spices — makes the dish complete.
18. Caprese Fruit Skewers We’ve all tried the classic tomato-mozzarella-balsamic combo, but what about adding some fruit to the mix? Instead of tomatoes, these Caprese salad-esque skewers are filled with chunks of watermelon and strawberriesalongside the traditional fresh mozzarella and basil leaves. Don’t forget the balsamic reduction sauce!
19. Mojito Fruit Salad Use whatever fruit’s in season for this colorful salad. Stone fruit such as nectarines, plums, and peaches pair well with the slightly-sour lime (or lime and rum!) dressing. Mixing in some berries, kiwi, grapes, and melon will add a bit of sweetness. The recipe calls for ¾ cup of sugar, but we think cutting back to ¼ cup (or subbing honey) would taste delicous, too.
23. Healthier Thumbprint Cookies Using ground up nuts or nut flour as a cookie base is one of our favoritehealthier baking tips. Rolled oats also make these cookies super wholesome. Sweeten with maple syrup and just a dollop of fruit jam in the center.
24. Roasted Cherry Hand Pies We promise these homemade treats are healthier than the version sold at the Golden Arches. Opt for whole-wheat flour for a healthier take on this recipe, and feel free to cut back on the sugar if you’d like a more tart filling — the raspberry preserves, vanilla, and natural sweetness of the cherriessweeten the filling just plenty!