7 Easy, Yummy Dishes for a Spring Picnic

7 Easy, Yummy Dishes for a Spring Picnic

These simply refreshing dishes travel well and make picnics a real breeze.


I love picnics. I love eating outside (read: getting out of the house, and out of the kitchen!). And when the sun is shining, the grass is green, and flowers are popping up all around, there is no better time to enjoy a meal outside with your family. You don’t need to spend all day prepping and cooking either. Here are some of my favorite fast, delicious picnic dishes you can whip up and pack up in a snap, so you can get out of the house and enjoy more time outdoors with your kids this spring.

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1. Orzo salad: This is a nice twist on regular pasta salad. Cook up a whole pound and toss when warm with just a little olive oil, some grated sharp cheese like pecorino romano or parmesan or cheddar, and mixed diced cooked veggies like carrots, peas, corn, and red peppers. This colorful spring dish is always a crowd-pleaser and cooks in just minutes. And it’s delicious!

2. Tiny tomato, mozzarella, bread, and basil salad: Grape tomatoes are perfect for picnics, because of their size. Just toss them in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil, small balls of fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed fresh crusty bread, such as baguette or ciabatta, and fresh basil leaves, and you’ve got a fresh, fast, delicious picnic salad or side.

3. Crunchy spring slaw: We love shredded red cabbage tossed with crunchy apple slices and dried cranberries or raisins. A simple, light oil-and-vinegar dressing is all you need to tie this together in minutes. And because cabbage is so hearty, not only will this not get soggy, it will taste even better the longer it sits in the dressing, so no need to rush your picnic!

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4. Melon wrapped in ham: These sweet, salty bites are juicy, tasty, and satisfying. Just slice up your melon, or cube it, and wrap pieces in ham or prosciutto. Use toothpicks to hold together if needed, or just wrap the ham around more than once, and you’re done! It’s small treats like these that make eating outdoors not just easy and fun, but extra delicious and special.

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5. Easy platters: A simple spread of sliced fresh bread and sliced cheeses and cured meat is always a great way to serve a picnic with no effort at all. I like to bring a platter of fresh raw veggies and a yogurt dip if I go this route too, to offer more variety. It takes just minutes to wash and chop some celery, cucumber, fennel, and radishes for example, and what more do you need for a memorable meal outdoors, really?

6. Chocolate pudding potted plant dessert cups: These are cute, tasty, and always a crowd-pleaser. Just buy or make some instant chocolate pudding, and put it in individual small, clear plastic cups with lids. Don’t fill the cups all the way, so that you have at least an inch of room left on top to add a crumble of chocolate cookies to look like dirt and add a great crunch. Then add either a small edible flower, or a sprig of fresh mint sticking out the middle of the cup, to make it look like a potted plant. It’s quick, easy, fun, and best of all, it travels well.

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7. Cheese and fruit skewers: This is a nice way to serve small bites of food that will still be filling. Simply cube some of your family’s favorite cheese-- we love gouda, cheddar, and jack in our house -- and put on wooden skewers for easy packing and eating, between pieces of cubed crunchy pear and apple slices.

What are your favorite foods to prepare for a spring family picnic?

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