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3 Recipes for the Perfect Summer Picnic

Updated: Jul 17, 2023



With Summer in full swing, it's the perfect time to whip out that picnic blanket from the back of the closet, grab a cooler, a hat and some friends (or enjoy some alone time!), and start making the most of the warm weather with a picnic. There's nothing better than eating outdoors, enjoying a leisurely lunch, and watching the world go by.


But typical picnic recipes tend to be heavy on the pastry and meat (think sausage rolls or pork pies), which will leave you feeling sluggish and bloated for the rest of the day (as well as contributing to major longterm health issues) - not what you want! With a little preparation, there are so many delicious healthy meals that travel perfectly, can be eaten cold, and will leave you feeling revitalised and nourished.


Here are my favourite summer picnic recipes; I've included two types of salads and a delicious healthy dessert idea. All 3 recipes are super simple and don't require a huge amount of cooking/prep time, meaning more time relaxing in the sun!


Recipe 1: Russian salad

Serves 3-4


I had a Russian salad for the first time on holiday in Mallorca recently and loved how simple but filling it was. This is my take on it, minus the vegan 'tuna' (Vuna) which is really hard to find in the UK (and I don't like any of the other brands I've tried). If there's a brand you like, feel free to add a little in though!


Ingredients

  • 2 medium-large potatoes

  • 3 large carrots

  • 1/2 cup frozen peas

  • 2 tbsp fresh dill

  • 200g rocket or mixed leaves

  • steamed beetroot (no additives)

  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar

  • 1 tsp olive oil

For the mayo dressing:

  • 1 block silken tofu

  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

  • 2 tsp nutritional yeast

  • 1 tsp salt (I use Arctic salt)

  • 1 tsp dijon mustard

  • 1 tsp maple syrup (optional)

Directions

  1. Peel the potatoes and carrots, and chop into very small cubes. Boil the potatoes for around 10 minutes (but keep checking from the 7 minute mark, as you don't want them to be too soft. You should only just be able to slide a knife in). Add the carrots after a few minutes (they need around 5-7 minutes. Again, keep checking them). Alternatively, if you have a steamer set, you could boil the potatoes but steam the carrots on top. Same cooking times apply. Add the peas for the last 5 minutes of cooking (you'll need to increase the heat as you're adding frozen peas, and you don't want to overcook the potatoes and carrots). Once everything is cooked, remove from the heat and run under cold water for a few minutes to stop the cooking. Leave to cool (you can do this step in advance, or place them in a bowl in the fridge).

  2. Make the mayo by adding everything except the maple syrup to a blender and blend on high speed. Once smooth, taste and adjust (you may need more lemon juice or salt). Add the maple syrup if you wish and blend again.

  3. Add the mayo dressing and the fresh dill to the cooled veggie mix and stir. Grate or cube the cooked beetroot. Wash the rocket or mixed leaves. Mix the olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a jar. At this point you can pack these items separately (the Russian salad, the beetroot, the mixed leaves, and the balsamic dressing) in your picnic hamper. Make sure you pack some bowls or plates for serving.

  4. When ready to serve, mix the balsamic dressing into the leaves. Serve the Russian salad on a bed of mixed leaves and a layer of beetroot.

The Russian salad (without the mixed leaves and beetroot) will last 4 days in the fridge.


Recipe 2: Lentil and pomegranate salad

Serves 3-4


Ingredients

  • 200g spinach

  • 1/2 red onion

  • 100g pomegranate seeds

  • 1/2 can green/brown lentils

  • 100g vegan feta (Violife in the UK)

  • 1 small head cauliflower

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

For the dressing:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil

  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (with the 'Mother')

  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

  • pinch salt

  • 1/2 tsp mustard

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C (356 F). Chop the cauliflower into small florets. Wash and dry. Add them to a bowl and mix with 1 tbsp olive oil and a little salt (optional). Spread the cauliflower on a baking sheet and roast for approx. 30 minutes (depending on how strong your oven is), turning halfway, until lightly golden. Set them aside to cool.

  2. Wash and dry the spinach and add to a bowl. Chop the red onion into slices and add to the spinach. Add the pomegranate seeds. Drain and rinse the lentils and add them to the spinach. Chop the feta into small cubes and add to the bowl. Add the cooled cauliflower.

  3. For the dressing, add everything to a jar, put the lid on, and shake well. Taste and adjust as necessary.

  4. Pack the dressing and salad separately until ready to eat. To serve, mix the dressing into the salad and toss everything. Enjoy!

Once the dressing is added, the salad will last 2 days in the fridge.


Recipe 3: Chia pudding

Serves 1 (large serving)


Chia pudding is a great recipe to have on-hand, as it's super easy and quick to make, and makes a great dessert or on-the-go healthy breakfast. I've included it as a refreshing picnic dessert. Play around with the ratio of chia seeds to milk - you want it to be fairly thick, not runny, like the consistency of thick Greek (or coconut) yoghurt.


Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup chia seeds

  • 1/2 cup plant-based milk (coconut works well)

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (look for one that doesn't have added sugar)

  • 1 tsp maple syrup (optional)

Toppings:

  • 1/4 cup blueberries

  • 1/4 cup strawberries

  • 1 apple

  • 1/4 cup grapes

  • 1 tbsp cacao nibs

Directions

  1. Mix the chia seeds, milk, vanilla extract and optional maple syrup together in a jar (this makes it easy to take straight with you on the picnic! Use one jar for each serving, ideally with some space in the jar to add the fruit salad on top). Place in the fridge overnight, or for at least an hour.

  2. Wash the fruit. Chop the strawberries and apple into cubes, halve the grapes. Mix the fruit together to make a fruit salad.

  3. Once the chia pudding is set (should be thick consistency), add 1/4 cup of fruit salad on top of the chia pudding, in the jar. Add the cacao nibs. You can drizzle some more maple syrup on top for a bit of decadence! Enjoy!

The chia pudding will last 2 days in the fridge. If not eating all the fruit salad at once, add 1 tbsp lemon juice to stop the apple from turning brown.


Don't forget to take plenty of bags with you, so you can take home your waste, and leave the place as you found it!


Do you have some go-to picnic recipes? Which of these 3 recipes will you try this Summer? Let me know in the comments below!

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