Picnic season is almost here (yay!). Whatever the concept of a picnic means to you: a fête in the park with friends, a lunch on a blanket in the backyard with your family, a hearty meal shared at a picnic table after a long day camping, a sand-specked snack spread at the beach—there are so many ways to take in the warm weather months. My favorite way, naturally, is with a bevy of delicious dishes to complement the company and scenery. To celebrate, I’ve compiled a few of my top recipes that get a picnic seal of approval.
1. Harissa Carrot Dip
When I’m in picnic mode, I’m thinking about compatibility. Specifically, not having to bring more than three different “dipping” items for the bevy of spreads, dips, and sauces. This carrot dip is amenable to any dipper—crudités, crackers, or pita bread—which eliminates one more extraneous variable. It’s also gorgeously hued and spiced perfectly in harmony with the warm weather.
2. Herby Feta Dip
Sure, that pre-packed herb cheese spread we know and love will do the job at any gathering. But, how lovely to DIY and show up with this verdant beauty? Since feta is a blank slate of sorts, a lot of herbs would be great fodder with the creamy spread.
3. Soft Pretzels
A pretzel is a great picnic addition for a multitude of reasons. It’s portable, stores well (so they can be made days in advance), and can be eaten alone or with a multitude of charcuterie, sauces, or dips. Plus, rolling up to the picnic with a warm basket of freshly baked pretzels carefully wrapped in a tea towel is such a vibes.
4. Minty Pea Toasts With Pickled Onions
Toasts are an ideal picnic food: small, handheld, and a blank canvas for whatever spread you desire. For these toasts, fresh mint and petit peas are the stars, ushering in a refreshing and bright tone to your picnic. For best results, I suggest carrying the onions separately so they don’t leech and make everything soggy.
5. Sheet Pan Frittata Sandwiches on Ciabatta
These sandwiches are ideal for a big gathering. The frittata—which can be customized with the different accoutrements of your choice—is baked all at once on a sheet pan (which also creates perfect portions for each sandwich), and each sandwich can be individually packaged to hand out to attendees eager.
6. Spicy, Garlicky Broccoli Sandwiches
Simply put, picnic fare can sometimes be super heavy meat, and I always appreciate it when there’s a vegetable thrown into the mix. Paired with a delicious spicy mayo, these sandwiches are sure to delight every vegetable lover. Bonus points: Use the picked onions from the spring pea toasts on these sandwiches, too!
7. Grandma Fanny’s Honey Cake
I love this cake because of its versatility—it’s the perfect vessel for whatever toppings you choose. Bring a fruit compote, some crème fraîche, or even enjoy it plain. The honey sings in tandem with the whole-wheat flour used in the recipe, and is a sweet end to a picnic day.
8. Snickerdoodle Shortbread
Got a last-minute invitation? These shortbreads are just five ingredients, so they can come together quickly before you’re on your way to frolicking in the park. Slice and serve however you please; a seasonal jam or fresh fruit would be a great foil for the spiced bars.
What will you bring to your next picnic? Sound off in the comments!