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Healthy Summer Picnic Recipes - Easy to Make and Serve, Delicious

Updated on November 20, 2016
janderson99 profile image

John applies his scientific & research skills (PhD) to develop recipes, food guides, reviews of healthy whole foods, ingredients & cooking

Summer is a great time for picnics, but it is hard to know what to prepare and take on your picnic that will be easy to make, easy to serve, delicious and nutritious.

Many people make the mistake of taking cakes and other delicate things that disintegrate in transit, or they serve elaborate salads that get soggy and limp in storage, are hard to serve, and are messy to eat. Good News!

This article provides the solution.

Below are a set of the best picnic recipes that meet all the criteria for 'best ever' picnic food criteria as ideal food items for summer picnics. Enjoy!

Picnics have always been popular
Picnics have always been popular | Source
Ah! What a lovely day for a picnic. Such formal attire!
Ah! What a lovely day for a picnic. Such formal attire! | Source
Picnics can be boring and risky with cut meat slices
Picnics can be boring and risky with cut meat slices | Source
Even birds love picnics with 'hand' foods.
Even birds love picnics with 'hand' foods. | Source
homemade finger food items and ready to serve cakes that don't need cutting are best.
homemade finger food items and ready to serve cakes that don't need cutting are best. | Source

Scotch Eggs with Falafel Recipe


  • 9 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 200g (7oz) wholemeal breadcrumbs
  • 400g (14oz) chickpeas (one can), washed and drained
  • 25g dried breadcrumbs of panko
  • 1 cup of coriander (cilantro) leaves
  • Sunflower, rice bran or grape seed oil , for frying (high smoke point oils with neutral taste)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for rolling and greasing
  • 5 tablespoons plain flour, plus extra for dusting


Place eight of the eggs in a saucepan of cold water. Bring to the boil, stir and cook for 5 minutes. Then quickly lift the boiled eggs out of the pan and plunge into cold water to cool them for peeling and to stop the cooking process. Once cool, peel the eggs and set aside. Next, heat a frying pay top moderate heat, add the oil and fry the garlic and onions until transparent and soft and starting to turn golden brown. Add the spices and fry for several extra minutes. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and pulse to a form a course paste. Next add the coriander leaves and chickpeas and pulse until finely chopped but retaining individual pieces. Slowly add the wholemeal breadcrumbs, flour and the last egg, beating as each portion is added with a fork. Season to taste.

Divide the falafel mixture into eight equal sized portions. Rub your hands with a little oil and then flatten each portion with your hands, and roll out to form thick disks. Next take one of the cooled eggs and toss in flour, shaking to remove any excess. Wrap each falafel mixture disk around one egg, shaping it to so that it completely covers the egg and squeezing to seal the edges. Repeat with all the remaining eggs. Pour the panko or dried breadcrumbs onto a plate. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top and mix. Roll each egg in the mixture to coat. Note; The coated eggs can be prepared the day before, wrapped cling film and chilled in the refrigerator.

To deep fry the coated eggs use a deep-fryer or a large saucepan half-fill it with oil, or use a deep-fat fryer. To assess when the oil is hot use a thermometer or wait until a small piece of bread browns in about 30 secs. Fry the eggs two at a time turning once or twice, until the balls are golden and crisp (generally about 2 minutes). Place the cooked balls on a drying rack lined with paper to drain while you cook the remaining eggs. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and eat chilled or at room temperature.

Pressed Picnic Sub Sandwich with Prosciutto, Herbs and Roasted Red Peppers


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 8 slices prosciutto
  • Large handful of basil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 -3 cups of baby spinach
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced very finely
  • 250g (7 oz) roasted red peppers (homemade or purchased
  • 125g (4 oz) mozzarella, cut into slices
  • One long ciabatta loaf, sliced in half along the full length
  • 8 marinated artichoke hearts, quartered (purchased)

You can also use ham, tuna, salami, cheddar and other cheeses, tomato, watercress, cucumber and other salad ingredients.


Preheat the oven to 390 degrees F (200 degrees C). Place the halves of the ciabatta loaf, with crust sides facing down, on a large baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Lightly toast them in the oven for a few minutes until they just start turning a golden brown.
Mix the garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and mustard in a bowl, and whisk thoroughly with a fork. Drizzle about half of this mixture over the bottom half of the toasted ciabatta. Add the rest of the ingredients in layers, baby spinach, artichoke hearts, slices of pepper, basil, prosciutto, mozzarella red onion. Drizzle the remainder of the dressing on top and place the other half of the toasted ciabatta on top.

Press down firmly to squeeze all the layers together. Wrap the sandwich in baking parchment and secure with a couple of pieces of string. Toasting the bread and ensuring minimal moisture content in the ingredients ensures the bread will not get soggy. Chill in the refrigerator before packing in the picnic basket. Slice to serve.

Picnic Bhaji Frittata Recipe


  • 100g (3 oz) frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 medium eggs, beaten
  • 2 onions, sliced very thin
  • 2 teaspoons mild curry powder
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1-2 cups coriander (cilantro), roughly chopped
  • 450g (14 oz) potatoes, coarsely grated. Well squeezed to remove any excess liquid
  • Optional: Naan bread, mango chutney, natural yogurt (or Greek) for serving


Pre-heat the oven to 390 degrees F (200 degrees C). Heat the oil in frying pan until moderately hot and then fry the onion for about 10 minutes until soft and golden. Add the curry powder and garlic and cook for an extra 1-2 minutes. Then, add the grated potatoes and fry while stirring for 5-8 minutes, until the potatoes have softened, and turned golden brown in patches. Add salt and pepper to the eggs and then transfer into the pan. Add most of the coriander, the peas and combine with the potato mixture, cooking for an extra 1 minute. Then transfer the pan to the preheated oven and cook for 10 minutes until the eggs have set. Sprinkle with the rest of the coriander. Serve warm with naan bread topped with natural yogurt and mango chutney.

Mini Pork Pies with Piccalilli Recipe


  • Few teaspoons of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup of flour, for dusting
  • 200g (6 oz) smoked bacon lardons
  • 1 egg, whisked with a fork
  • 85g (2 oz) dried white breadcrumbs
  • 400g (12 oz)good quality Cumberland sausages (about 6)
  • piccalilli, homemade or purchased, for serving
  • 600g (16 oz) shortcrust pastry, homemade or purchased
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried sage


Pre-heat the oven to 390 degrees F (200 degrees C). Place a thin strip of baking parchment across each cavity in a muffin pan, so that the ends stick out slightly. Use a wipe of butter to hold the paper in place. Roll out 2/3 of the pastry on a lightly floured board or bench. Press out circles of pastry, a little larger than the pan cups so that the pastry extends well about the surface. Press the pastry circles into each of the muffin tin cups. Put 1 teaspoon of breadcrumbs into the base of each cup. Transfer the remainder of the breadcrumbs to a mixing bowl. Add the sausage meat squeezed from the skins, which can be discarded. Add the bacon, pepper, sage, mace, and a little salt. Using your hands, mash and combine the mixture well until the breadcrumbs have been incorporated into the mixture. Divide mixture between the muffin pan cups, pressing the filling down firmly and shaping the top to form a dome.

Roll out the rest of the pastry and press out tops for the pies to fit. Brush the outer edges of the pastry and gently press as squeeze the edges together to seal. Brush the top with more egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Assemble all the pies and then bake for about 30 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. Carefully remove the pies from the tin, pulling on the parchment ends to ease them out of the cups. Then place the pork pies on a baking tray, lined with parchment paper. Brush all over with more egg and bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes to brown all over. Cool completely then eat with mustard or piccalilli or a relish.

Apple Crumble in a Loaf Recipe


  • 5 tablespoons milk
  • 100g (4 oz)raisins
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice
  • 3 large eggs, whisked
  • 250g (7 oz) self-raising flour
  • 140g (5 oz)light muscovado sugar
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 140g (5 oz) butter, cut into small pieces, plus extra for the tin

For the topping

  • 25g (1 oz) light muscovado sugar
  • 25g (1 oz) butter
  • 1 rounded tablespoon plain flour
  • 1 rounded tablespoon roughly chopped hazelnuts


Pre-heat oven to 320 degrees F (160 degrees C). Grease the base of a 2-liter loaf tin (70 fl oz) with butter and line with baking parchment. Transfer the flour and spice to food processor and add the butter. Pulse to make fine crumbs, and then blend in the sugar. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and mix in the eggs, apples, raisins and milk, and combine thoroughly. Add to the loaf tin and press down.

To make the crumble topping, rub the butter into the flour and sugar to make a rough crumble. Then add the nuts and mix well. Sprinkle the mixture over the cake mixture in the pan and bake for about 50-55 minutes. Test with a fine skewer to ensure the center is cooked. If the skewer comes out clean, the cake is cooked. Cool in the tin for about 15 minutes, then turn out and cool on a wire rack. Wrap to take to the picnic and slice just before serving.

Roast Chicken Roll with Pine Nut and Couscous Stuffing


  • 1 lemon
  • 50g (2 oz) butter
  • 100g (4 oz)couscous
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 100g (4 oz) pine nuts
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 16 rashers of streaky bacon
  • 6 chicken breasts with skin removed
  • 175ml (3/4 cup) boiling chicken stock, homemade or purchased
  • 2 tablespoons mint leaves, chopped
  • 140g (6 oz) dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • 1-2 cups of parsley, roughly chopped


Place the couscous into a large heatproof bowl. Pour the boiling chicken stock into the bowl. Cover the bowl and set aside for about 5 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed. Melt about half the butter in a pan. Add the garlic and onions and gently fry for 5-8 minutes until the onions soften. Set aside. Fry the pine nuts in a dry pan a few mins until golden. Then combine the pine nuts, with the couscous, onions, herbs and apricots. Add a large squeeze of lemon juice, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add an egg, mix well and set aside to cool.

Stretch the bacon rashers to 1 1/2 times their original length using the back of a knife. Place the rasher onto a large sheet of foil to form a rectangle, so that they overlap slightly.

Next, make a few slashes into the thickest area of each chicken breast. Place onto a sheet of cling wrap and fold over the top. Using something flat and heavy, flatted the chicken breasts to a thickness of 1/2 inch (1 cm). Place the chicken onto the bacon rectangle. Leaving a border on the longer sides. Spoon the stuffing mixture over chicken to form a strip along one of the longer sides. Using the tin foil, roll the bacon and chicken around stuffing to form a log. Wrap tightly using the foil, and twist the ends of the foil to secure. Chill the assembled log for about 2 - 6 hours or overnight.

Heat oven to 355 degrees F (180 degrees C). Place chicken log, join-side down onto a baking pan. Cook for about 30 minutes and then unwrap the foil and brush the roast inside with the remaining butter. Return to the oven and cook, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes, or until the roll is cooked inside. Cool and wrap in fresh foil to transport to the picnic.

Spicy Lamb Pides with Sumac Recipe


For the dough

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of semolina, for rolling
  • 1 teaspoon of caster sugar (golden preferred)
  • 500g (16 oz) strong white bread flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of active dried yeast

For the topping

  • 1 tablespoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoons allspice
  • 300g (10 oz) lamb mince (low fat preferred)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or crushed
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 100g (4 oz) feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses (or balsamic vinegar)
  • 2 teaspoons sumac, plus extra to serve
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing


To make the dough, mix the flour, yeast, sugar, olive oil, a pinch of salt in a large bowl with 300 ml (1 1/4 cups) of warm water. Mix to form a ball and then knead for about 10 minutes by hand or 5 minutes in a mixer or food processor. The dough should be soft and elastic. Then, place the dough into a clean, oiled bowl. Cover the bowl and set aside to rise for 2 hours in a warm place or until the dough ball has doubled in size. You can also pop the dough in the fridge and leave to rise overnight.

To make the topping, heat a large frying pan to moderate temperature, add the oil, and when the oil is hot, add the onions and cook for several minutes until they soften. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the lamb, turn the heat up to high and fry while mixing until the lamb has started to brown (about 8-10 minutes). Add the spices, the puree, pomegranate molasses, tomatoes and seasoning, and about 50 ml (2 fl oz) of water. Simmer gently for about 10 minutes and then set aside to cool.

Dust 2 large baking sheets with semolina and sprinkle flour on your workbench. Press the dough to remove air bubbles, then place on a board or your work bench and divide into 4 pieces. Roll each piece into a a thin oval shape, roughly 30 cm (1 foot) long. Covering each piece with cling wrap prevents the dough sticking to the rolling pin. Place the rolled dough ovals onto the dusted baking sheets. Place 1/4 of the mince mixture onto each piece, leaving a 1 cm (1/2 inch) border around the edges. Roll the dough over to form a pointy 'boat' shape and pinch the ends together. Cover with the oiled cling film and set aside to prove for 20-30 minutes.

Heat your oven to 420 degrees F (220 degrees C). Remove the cling wrap from the pides and brush the edges. Sprinkle each pide with a little oil, some feta, sesame seeds and 1/2 teaspoon of sumac. Bake for 15 mins until the pides are puffed up and have a golden color. Serve warm with salad and a sauce of your choice.

Marble Cheesecake Squares Recipe


  • 1 large egg
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1 ounce semisweet chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons general-purpose flour
  • 2 (8-ounce; 250 g) blocks fat-free cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (8-ounce; 250 g) block low-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup chocolate graham cracker crumbs


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C). Place the biscuit crumbs in a 9 inch (20 cm) square baking pan sprayed with cooking spray. Drizzle the crumbs with melted butter. Toss with a fork to moisten the crumbs. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan. Bake in the oven for about 8 minutes and then cool on a wire rack. Next, place the cheeses in a large bowl and beat with a fork or a mixer at high speed until smooth. Add the sugar and flour and beat well. Add the egg whites, vanilla and egg and beat until well combined. Add the cheese mixture to the pan you have prepared. Place the chocolate into a small bowl (microwave safe) and cook on a high setting for 1 1/2 minutes or until soft. Remove the bowl and stir for 45 seconds, but do not melt the chocolate, only soften it. Stir until smooth. Pour the melted chocolate onto the cheese mixture to form 9 portions. Swirl the chocolate into the batter using the tip of a knife. Bake for 35 minutes or until the slices are almost set. Cool on a wire rack. Cover and chill for least 4 hours.

Fudge-Walnut Brownies - A Classic Picnic Recipe


  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup fat-free milk
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, lightly whisked or beaten
  • 6 tablespoons butter, just melted
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate pieces, roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup of all-purpose flour


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (170 degrees C). Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Put 1/2 cup chocolate and the milk into a bowl and microwave on High for 1 minute, stirring after about 30 seconds. Stir in the eggs, butter and vanilla and add milk/chocolate mixture. Next add this mixture to the flour mixture and add 1/2 cup chocolate, and 1/4 cup nuts and stir well to combine. Pour the batter into a 9-inch (20 cm) square metal baking pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of nuts. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack. Cut into squares and refrigerate.

Cheddar Cheese Scones with Sage


  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 100ml buttermilk
  • 50g (2 oz) cold butter, cubed
  • 225g (7 oz) self-raising flour
  • 100g (4 oz) mature cheddar, grated
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons English mustard powder
  • 1 tablespoons finely chopped sage, and 8 small leaves


Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F (220 degrees C). Using a large bowl, mix the flour, mustard powder, a sprinkle of black pepper, 1/2 teaspoons salt. Using your hands rub the butter into the until the flour mixture until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add the sage and half of the cheese and mix well. In a separate bowl mix together the buttermilk with the egg. Make a well in the center of the flour mix and pour in most of the buttermilk mix (reserving a tablespoon). Briefly stir the mixture until a soft, spongy dough forms. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead very briefly until the dough forms a smooth ball. Roll the dough out to a square about 3cm (1 inch) thick. Cut the dough into four equal parts, and then half each of the quarters diagonally, to form 8 triangles. Place the scones onto a well-floured baking tray and brush the tops with the remaining buttermilk. Sprinkle extra sage and some cheese on top. Bake for about 12-15 minutes until the scones have expanded, are golden brown in color and when tapped have a hollow sound.

© 2014 Dr. John Anderson


Submit a Comment

  • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

    Susan Haze 3 years ago from Sunny Florida

    I love the pictures that you used for this hub. I am also blown away by your recipes. Great job.

  • Martin VK profile image

    Martin VK 3 years ago from Copenhagen, Denmark

    I love the pictures in this hub!

  • Carb Diva profile image

    Linda Lum 3 years ago from Washington State, USA

    Holy Moley this is amazing! I was expecting the typical potato salad and fried chicken litany of recipes. These sound amazing. Obviously preparing this outdoor feast is a labor of love (and time), but I'm sure it is well worth the investment. Thank you for sharing. Voted up!