With summer days on the wane, there’s never been a better time for a picnic. Now, you just need to decide what to pack in your bag, cooler, or basket. We’ve compiled a list of our top 14 most picnic-friendly recipes, whether you’re hitting the beach, park, or other outdoor venue. What makes these dishes especially good to spread out on a blanket and enjoy al fresco? Well, they’re sturdy enough to withstand travel and downtime, easy to share between friends, and taste as good at room temperature as they do warm—if not better. From easy dips to pair with chips and crudité to substantial sandwiches and refreshing salads, here are some go-to recipes to bring to your next picnic.
This salad is pretty much as simple as it gets. Making the flavorful, punchy vinaigrette in a jar means it’s easy to travel with—just pack your salad fixings in a separate container, and combine the two elements once you’ve found your picnic spot.
This no-frills BLT with avocado, courtesy of Christine Byun’s grandpa, is exactly what we want to eat when tomatoes are in season.
This dip has hummus vibes, but it substitutes black-eyed peas for the usual chickpeas. Serve it with pita chips and an assortment of crunchy vegetables for an easygoing picnic snack.
The star of these sandwiches is the easy-to-slice, sheet-pan frittata. Though the recipe calls for add-ins like zucchini, peas, prosciutto, and Monterey Jack cheese, you can use any combination of vegetables, cheese, and protein you prefer.
Coleslaw goes hand-in-hand with summer picnics. This one deviates from the usual mayo-laden versions, but it’s just as satisfying and refreshing.
Kimbap is the ideal snack or lunch food when you’re on the go. Packed with spicy tuna, creamy avocado, and bright, tangy pickles, and wrapped in crispy seaweed, these rice rolls hit all the right notes.
Take pasta salad, but instead of regular farfalle or penne, use cheesy tortellini: It’s the perfect example of a simple upgrade that makes all the difference.
This salad features many of the same elements as your classic tuna salad—like a creamy base and crunchy components like celery and red onion—but by swapping the tuna for chickpeas, you get a vegetarian-friendly alternative.
Making harissa from scratch is wildly rewarding, but in a pinch, a high-quality, store-bought version (like ours) will certainly do the trick. Layered with roasted eggplant and spicy arugula, it’s a reliable—and delicious—choice.
Do you prefer a snacky picnic rather than a full-on meal? If so, this bloody mary-inspired cheese plate—complete with bacon, celery stalks, and olives—has you covered.
Tart, sweet, and refreshing, kiwis are an underrated salad addition, especially when paired with salty feta, fresh dill, and crunchy cucumbers.
This niçoise-inspired sandwich from Molly Baz features all the flavors of the iconic salad, from meaty tuna and briny olives to the requisite potatoes—represented here by some generous handfuls of potato chips layered onto the sandwich itself.
Tabbouleh is an ideal picnic food: It’s light and refreshing enough for summer days, but it’s make-ahead friendly, with hearty bulgur and curly parsley that can withstand your commute to the beach or park.
“What if the least important part of a traditional muffuletta sandwich is the meat?” asks recipe developer Josh Cohen. Here, homemade roasted red peppers and broiled carrots and cauliflower replace the usual cured meats for a final result that’s just as satisfying.
What’s your go-to picnic recipe? Tell us in the comments!