Grab your checkered blanket and wicker basket, we’re going on a picnic! Whether you’re mixing up date night or gathering with a group of friends, skipping the restaurant reservation and opting for a picnic of homemade favorites is a perfect alternative: it’s both cheaper and more charming, and couldn’t be easier to plan.
Finger sandwiches and side salads (that are usually anything but lettuce) define most picnic menus, but we’ve gathered a collection of recipes from drinks all the way to desserts that are sure to up the ante on a picnic party.
Perfect Arnold Palmer
Every picnic is made better by a cold beverage like lemonade or tea – but why not combine the two for your next picnic party? This Perfect Arnold Palmer recipe will help you perfect your proportions, and if you’re feeling a little frisky, add in a shot of vodka, bourbon, or limoncello liqueur.
Strawberry Balsamic Pasta Salad
A savory summer twist on traditional pasta salad, this strawberry balsamic version is perfect for passing around a picnic on a sunny day. Combine cooked penne with baby spinach, sliced strawberries, feta, and toasted almonds, then drizzle balsamic glaze for a flavor bomb.
German Potato Salad
There are certain dishes that garner much debate about right and wrong, and potato salad is one of them. This German-influenced recipe may not be common on menus or grocery stores, but it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser. In addition to potatoes, this recipe is packed with bacon, onions, vinegar, sugar, grainy mustard, and even beer.
Picnic Hoagies with Grilled Peaches, Salami and Brie
Apple Sausage Rolls
Pigs in a blanket may be a go-to party snack, but this twist sees sausage and grated apples taking the place of cocktail weenies. Carefully fold the mixture in between pastry sheets and bake, then pack them up and bring them ready to dunk in apple butter or mustard at your next outdoor gathering.
Meatball Sub Bites
A sloppy meatball sub is a delicacy, but it’s much too messy to enjoy in a field full of eager ants. Try this mess-free version instead, which tucks a cheesy meatball inside pizza dough that gets baked to (contained) gooey perfection. Bring a side of homemade marinara to dip.
Melon Prosciutto Skewers
Put anything on a stick and call it a skewer, you’ve instantly made a picnic-friendly dish that’s equal parts easy to transport, mess-free, and fun to eat. This recipe is simple but impressive, combining cantaloupe, fresh basil, mozzarella balls, and sliced prosciutto. Top with the same balsamic glaze as before for a seamless addition to any picnic.
Cheesecake Swirled Ghirardelli Brownies
A picnic wouldn’t be complete without dessert, and if the task falls on your shoulders, you better deliver. We’ve got you covered with this cheesecake and brownie hybrid. The result is so decadent, you won’t have to tell anyone it’s mostly from a box.
Kellie Walton is a freelance writer based in Nashville, Tennessee. When she’s not eating and adventuring her way around the world, she’s busy telling stories related to all things travel – including city guides, hotel and restaurant recommendations, travel hacks and tales of her own adventures (and misadventures).
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