53 recipes to bring on a picnic

Plus, tips to enjoy a socially-distanced picnic
Published March 30, 2021

Picnic season is right around the corner, and while it’s true it will look different than other years, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy a meal al fresco with your immediate household.

Keep these pandemic-related tips in mind when planning your picnic, a little bit of effort will result in a safe and enjoyable outdoor meal for everyone involved.

  • Stick to your immediate household to minimize the risk of COVID transmission.
  • If you’re not picnicking close to home, prepare for public washrooms by packing disposable gloves, wipes and extra hand sanitizer.
  • If you are going to be around people who aren’t in your bubbles, sit at least six feet away from each other and don’t share food, beverages, utensils or serving dishes with anyone outside your household.
  • Bring a couple of extra water bottles and some hand soap to use for handwashing, especially after preparing or grilling food.
  • Check out city bylaws around outdoor grilling, many parks and public spaces limit the use of grills and outdoor fires to specific times.
  • Don’t let bad weather rain on your parade! Have a picnic indoors with your family or roommates (don’t forget the blanket and picnic basket.)

Picnic-friendly chips and dips

A picnic doesn’t have to be a three-course meal, it can simply be an afternoon in the park with a tasty snack and a good book. To prevent accidental breakage, transport delicate homemade chips to the picnic site in a large resealable container. Most dips can be made ahead of time and packed in a cooler bag (this is especially important for dips that have been made with mayonnaise or eggs.)

Burgers, sausages, and kebabs

These WW-friendly recipes for picnic-perfect proteins are as delicious as they are filling. Prep burgers ahead of time and freeze between sheets of parchment paper for easy transportation to your picnic destination. Pack extra ice packs just in case, meat needs to be stored at around 0 degrees Celsius when it’s in transit.

Sunny weather sippers

For a splash of refreshment on a hot day, make up a batch of these alcohol-free summer sippers and bring them to the picnic in a large thermos or drink cooler. Aguas frescas, a blend of water and fruit traditionally made in Central and South America, is a particularly welcome beverage whether you’ve been sunbathing or playing an action-packed game of frisbee.

Picnic-worthy salads

Salads made from beans and grains tend to taste better the second day they were made, so you can make them the night before and have everything ready for your picnic the following day. Make sure that any salad containing eggs or mayonnaise is refrigerated right up until you’re leaving, and keep it well-insulated with flexible cooler bags.

Wraps, sandwiches, and other hand-held foods

From pan bagnat, a traditional French pressed sandwich, to beef and mango cucumber wraps, these aren’t your everyday sandwich recipes. With the exception of the pan bagnat, which needs to be pressed ahead of time, the sandwiches below benefit from being assembled right before eating. Prep and store toppings in individual containers to avoid the wet ingredients coming into contact with the dry ingredients (particularly bread of any kind.)

Fruity treats

When picnic season rolls around it’s usually hand-in-hand with the arrival of in-season, locally available fruit. These recipes feature some of the best fruit the spring and summer months have to offer. Running short on time? Serve the fruit whole or chopping into smaller pieces, either alone or with a pinch of salt and fresh herbs such as basil and mint.