Picnic food ideas and recipes for delicious salads and appetizers

by Kremy

Picnic food recipes and ideas for salads and appetizers

How to organize an unforgettable picnic? Late spring, summer and early autumn is the best period for spending time outdoors. We will help you with tasty picnic food ideas and recipes so that you will have a great time with family and friends.

Everyone will agree that eating in the open air is twice as tasty. One of the most important questions when it comes to organizing a picnic is how much food and drinks do you need? What type of food is suitable? How to make sure it will be tasty and healthy at the same time. The type and quantity of products that you will need depends on how long you plan to stay outdoors, do you plan to light a fire, do you have a portable grill. If you plan a picnic for the whole day you will need not only food but also water and other drinks. Make a menu and choose products that remain fresh and appetizing after transportation. Include various dishes that can be cooked in nature.

Do not forget to pack everything you need for a picnic and check the weather forecast before you leave the house. Picnic food should be tasty and simple, easy to transport and it should not be boring. Besides food and drinks, for the perfect picnic you will also need cups, plates and cutlery, napkins, a sharp knife and a small cutting board, a bottle opener, ice, rubbish bags, a picnic blanket, etc. Remember – spend the day with pleasure!

picnic salads and appetizers ideas and recipes



Ready-made carbonated drinks in bottles and cans tend to dehydrate the body. Such drinks provoke thirst and that is why it is better to make lemonade yourself, using fresh citrus or other fruits to your taste. Here are some ideas for food and drinks that you can take on a picnic:

  • drinks – mineral water, juices, tea, coffee in a thermos;
  • sauces, salt, vegetable oil, sugar, seasonings;
  • greens, fruits and vegetables. They can be eaten fresh, grilled, cut into salads;
  • bakery products, pita bread, biscuits;
  • cheeses, sausages, smoked meats, butter for snacks and sandwiches;
  • meat and fish in marinade, so that you can cook on the fire, or already cooked and chilled.

It is best if you cut salads right before eating them. Of course, you can choose a recipe that allows you to prepare a salad at home and transport it to the place of the picnic. A basket and a thermo bag are best for transporting products. It is best if you avoid salads with mayonnaise, dairy products, pates, cakes as all of these cannot be stored for a long time without a refrigerator.


Picnic food ideas – salads and appetizers

how to plan the perfect picnic

For every meal, for every occasion and at any time of year there is a suitable recipe for salads. Salads are made from any vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, pasta, cereals and legumes, salad greens and fruits. Choosing the ingredients provides an opportunity for creativity, imagination and improvisation. Here are some recipes for you!


Picnic food ideas – Salad Niçoise with Cold Roasted Chicken

Nicoise style salad with roasted chicken

Serves: 4


1 roasted chicken

½ pound green beans, ends trimmed

¾ pound small potatoes

4 hard-boiled eggs

1 cup roasted red pepper

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

4 to 6 radishes

2 cucumbers, thinly sliced

4 ounces French feta, roughly crumbled

½ cup mixed olives

1 cup parsley

6 to 8 ounces lettuce


Roast the chicken and let it cool completely before refrigerating.

Bring a pan with salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook until just tender and bright green, 2 to 4 minutes. Place in ice water to preserve their green color.

In the same pot of salted water, add the potatoes. Boil them, drain, set aside and let cool.

When the chicken is completely cool, carve the breast meat off of the bone and into slices, then cut off the legs, wings and thighs.

Arrange the chicken, green beans, potatoes, eggs and remaining ingredients in rows on a large cutting board or serving platter and serve.


Asian Brussels Sprout Slaw with Carrots and Almonds

Asian style brussel sprouts slaw salad with carrots



1 pound (16 ounces) Brussels sprouts

3 to 4 medium carrots

⅔ cup chopped green onions

⅔ cup fresh cilantro leaves, optional

⅔ cup slivered almonds

¼ cup sesame seeds

Soy sauce and honey dressing:

¼ cup olive oil

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoons honey

3 tablespoons soy sauce

¼ teaspoon salt


Shred the sprouts in a food processor using the slicing blade or slice them as thinly as possible. Transfer them into a salad bowl.

Grate the carrots and place them in the bowl.

Toast the almonds and add them to the bowl as well.

Add the chopped green onions, cilantro and sesame seeds.

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, vinegar, honey, soy sauce and salt. Whisk until emulsified. Season the salad and let it marinate for about 10 minutes before serving.


Pasta and tuna picnic salad

picnic food ideas pasta and tuna salad

Serves 4


2 soft-boiled eggs

2 tbsp capers

½ red chili, finely diced

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp red wine vinegar

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

⅓ cup semi-dried tomatoes, halved

80 g green olives, pitted

cherry tomatoes, halved

425 g canned tuna in oil, drained

2 cups cooked and cooled pasta shells

1 large handful basil

Salt and pepper


In a large bowl mash the soft-boiled eggs with the capers. Add the chili, mustard, vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper. Combine and add the olive oil.

Add the semi-dried tomatoes, olives, cherry tomatoes, tuna, pasta and basil and mix until everything is coated in the dressing. Keep in refrigerator and take out for a couple of hours before serving. This salad tasted best served at room temperature.


Layered picnic salads in a jar

picnic food ideas layered salads in jars


4 large jam jars

chopped iceberg lettuce

2 large tomatoes, finely chopped

1 large red onion, peeled and finely chopped

pimento stuffed green olives, cut into rings, about 6 olives per jar

400g tin of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

315 g jar Mexican salsa

4 to 6 tablespoons sour cream

75 g to 100g grated Cheddar or Emmental cheese

tortilla chips (to serve)


Layer the ingredients in the jars.

Place a lid on the salads and store in fridge.

Serve with tortilla chips for dipping.


Picnic food ideas – Corn and Tomato Picnic Salad

corn and tomato picnic salad healthy food ideas


3 tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice

¼ cup fresh basil chopped

3 cloves garlic minced

salt and pepper to taste

2 large cans of corn

1 cup grape tomatoes chopped


Place the corn and tomatoes in a large bowl. Set aside.

In a smaller bowl, combine all other ingredients and whisk well.

Pour the garlic basil lime drizzle over the veggies and refrigerate until serving.


Picnic food ideas – Italian pinwheels

picnic food ideas Italian style pinwheels


3 tortillas burrito size

1 8 oz pkg salami

30 small Pepperoni slices

9 slices Provolone cheese

Romaine lettuce

Pepper Spread:

1 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened

¼ cup bread crumbs

¼ cup parmesan cheese

2/3 cup roasted or sweet red, chopped


Mix all your pepper spread ingredients in bowl until well combined.

Spread 1/3 of the mix onto tortilla.

In center of tortilla place 3 slices of cheese.

Add a layer of salami.

After that add a layer pepperoni covering the salami.

Add lettuce on top.

Roll up tightly and refrigerate until cool, about 1 hour.

Slice into pinwheels and enjoy!


Antipasto Skewers

picnic food ideas Antipasto skewers

Yield 20 skewers


20 long wooden skewers

1 9-ounce package cheese tortellini

1/2 cup zesty Italian salad dressing

1/2 teaspoon tabasco ,optional

40 Kalamata olives

40 grape tomatoes

40 thin slices Genoa salami

20 baby mozzarella balls

40 pieces basil, torn

20 pieces chopped artichoke hearts


Cook tortellini according to package directions.

Drain and combine tortellini with salad dressing and hot sauce. Stir to combine and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes and up to 4 hours.

When ready to assemble the skewers, drain and discard any remaining marinade.

For each skewer, thread an olive, tomato, basil, tortellini, basil, folded salami slice, mozzarella ball, tortellini, basil, folded salami piece, artichoke heart, tomato and olive.


Vegetable and Chicken Pinwheels

Vegetable and chicken pinwheels outdoor picnic food ideas


4 large tortillas

2/3 cup whipped cream cheese

1 tablespoon dry ranch powder

½ cup thinly sliced red bell pepper strips

½ cup thinly sliced carrot strips

½ cup thinly sliced yellow bell pepper strips

½ cup baby spinach leaves

½ cup shredded purple cabbage

1 cup cooked shredded roast chicken


Mix together the cream cheese and ranch powder until thoroughly combined.

Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the 4 tortillas.

Lay out 2 tablespoons of each vegetable in rows across the tortillas. Leave a 1 inch border on all sides. Top with shredded chicken.

Roll up each tortilla tightly. Cut crosswise into pinwheels and serve.


Bacon Lettuce Cups

bacon and lettuce cups quick ideas for picnic


Cooked bacon, chopped

Wing sauce

Lettuce leaves

Grape tomatoes

Crumbled Blue Cheese


Toss chopped cooked bacon in wing sauce.

Place in lettuce leaves along with sliced grape tomatoes and crumbled blue cheese.


Mozzarella, Red Pepper and Bacon Skewers

salads and appetizers ideas mozzarella red repper and bacon skewers


6 whole roasted red peppers cut into thin strips

32 fresh basil leaves

11 slices cooked bacon, cut into thirds

32 cherry-size fresh mozzarella balls

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil


Freshly ground black pepper


Top pepper strips with basil, bacon, and mozzarella, dividing evenly. Roll pepper around filling and secure with a wooden pick.

Arrange on a platter and drizzle with oil. Season with salt and pepper.


Prosciutto Wrapped Mozzarella Sticks

easy appetizer recipes prosciutto wrapped Mozzarella sticks


12 oz mozzarella

16 oz prosciutto


Slice mozzarella into 12 long, thin strips.

Wrap prosciutto around mozzarella sticks, adding optional other ingredients as you roll.


Melon, Proscuitto and Mozzarella Skewers

Melon proscuitto mozzarella skewers easy and quick appetizer recipes


1 medium melon, cut into cubes

1/4 lb. thinly sliced prosciutto

20 small mozzarella balls

Chopped fresh parsley

Balsamic reduction


Onto small cocktail skewers, thread prosciutto, mozzarella and melon cubes. Place on a serving platter.

Sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately after drizzling with balsamic reduction.


Smoked Salmon Bites

delicious smoked salmon bites picnic food ideas


For the spread:

250g / 8 oz cream cheese, softened

½ cup sour cream

½ tsp garlic powder

Zest of 1 lemon

½ tsp salt

¼ cup dill, chopped

For the bites:

3 tortillas

350 – 480 g / 12 – 16 oz smoked salmon slices



Mix Spread ingredients together.

Spread on a tortilla in a square shape.

Top with half the smoked salmon.

Spread the second tortilla with butter and place the butter side down onto the salmon.

Distribute remaining Spread. Top with remaining salmon.

Butter 3rd tortilla and place butter side down onto the salmon.

Use a large cutting board, and press down lightly to smooth the surface and compress everything.

Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.

Using a serrated knife, cut into 6 or 7 even strips, then each strip into squares.

Serve with toothpicks, wedges of lemon and extra dill for garnish.


Pimiento Cheese Finger Sandwiches

finger sandwiches salads and appetizers for picnic


1/2 lb. shredded Cheddar cheese

3 oz. cream cheese, softened

2/3 c. pimientos, drained and chopped

2 tbsp. mayonnaise

2 tsp. lemon juice

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

Pumpernickle bread


Beat Cheddar cheese, cream cheese, mayonnaise, lemon juice; and cayenne pepper until well combined.

Serve sandwiched on pumpernickel bread. Cut off crusts and cut into squares or, with 2-inch round cutter, cut into circles.


Goat Cheese Balls with Herbs

Goat cheese balls easy and quick recipes for appetizers


2 large logs goat cheese

Fresh Parsley, chopped

Fresh Dill, chopped

Fresh Chives, finely chopped

Fresh Basil, chopped

1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes

1 cup Extra virgin olive oil

Toasted crostini


Cut the logs of goat cheese into 8 pieces each. Roll them into balls and place into a medium baking dish. Sprinkle the fresh herbs and red pepper flakes on top of the cheese and add the olive oil until it covers about ½ of the goat cheese.

Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Rotate the cheese balls before serving so they are fully coated with the olive oil herb mixture.

Serve with crostini, pita, crudites etc.




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