What to Pack for the Perfect Summer Picnic

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One of the best ways to take advantage of the longer days and sunnier skies of summer is to plan an outdoor picnic full of your favorite goodies. A picnic can be done anywhere — the beach, a park, a cliffside — giving you a more unique setting and scenery than you typically experience for a meal. While you can always pick up some food to-go from your favorite local restaurant, there is something more traditional and experiential about cooking and packing your desired foods for your picnic yourself. Whether you’re wanting a classic tuna salad sandwich or something light such as a fruit salad, having a variety of picnic-friendly recipes is a must.

Tzatziki Dip

If you’re craving something cool and refreshing, give this flavorful tzatziki dip a try. Start by chopping your cucumbers, keeping them at your desired thickness for the dip. Some prefer their cucumbers shaved extra thin, but I prefer to keep them in cubes for extra texture and flavor. In a separate bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, grated garlic, chopped dill, and salt, mixing until the sauce is creamy. Finally, add your chopped cucumber and mix. Enjoy with some crunchy pita chips or bread.

  • Ingredients:
    • ½ cup of chopped cucumber
    • 1 cup thick whole milk Greek yogurt
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    • ½ tablespoon EVOO
    • 1 grated garlic clove
    • ¼ teaspoon of salt
    • 1 tablespoon chopped dill

Tuna Salad Sandwich

A tuna salad sandwich is without a doubt one of the most famous picnic classics. For this recipe, you will want to mince red onions and garlic, as well as chop your bread and butter pickles. Next, combine those three ingredients with tuna, mayonnaise and lemon juice in a bowl, stirring until creamy and evenly mixed. Toast each half of your bread before spooning the tuna salad onto one half, and placing the other half on top. Be sure to pack an ice pack or cooler to keep the sandwiches fresh before indulging.

  • Ingredients:
    • 4 cans of tuna 
    • 1 cup of mayonnaise
    • 2 tablespoons of minced red onion
    • 2 tablespoons of chopped bread and butter pickles
    • 1 tablespoon of fresh-squeezed lemon juice
    • 1 minced garlic clove
    • 4 halves of a toasted baguette 

Watermelon Feta Salad

For those who want something light and sweet, this watermelon feta salad is the perfect treat to enjoy on a sunny day. Begin by slicing your watermelon into cubes that are as even in size as possible. Next, slice ¼ of a red onion thinly before tossing both the watermelon and red onion together in a bowl. Then cut feta cheese into cubes that are similar in size to the watermelon and mix everything together. Drizzle a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar over the salad and voilà! If you would like to up the savoriness, sprinkle a little salt on top.

  • Ingredients:
    • 6 cups of cubed watermelon
    • 1/4 red onion, sliced thin
    • 1/2 cup of feta cheese
    • 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar 


Caprese Salad

Another refreshing summertime salad that's easy to transport is a classic caprese. Slice your heirloom tomatoes at a medium thickness and set aside. Do the same with the ball of mozzarella cheese. Layer cheese, tomatoes, and basil leaves slightly on top of each other until your container is filled. Drizzle both the olive oil and balsamic vinegar on top of the salad and sprinkle with salt and pepper. This salad can be messy, so be sure to pack utensils. 

  • Ingredients:
    • 3 large sliced heirloom tomatoes 
    • 1 large (8 oz.) ball of mozzarella cheese
    • 6 whole fresh basil leaves
    • 2 tablespoons of EVOO
    • 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar 
    • Salt and pepper for topping


Tags: Healthy Recipes, Salads, Quick Recipe Ideas, Summer recipes

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Written By

Allie Lebos

Allie Lebos is a freelance writer living in Santa Monica, CA where she writes about local restaurants, lifestyle and travel. See Full Bio

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