Picnic Food Ideas for Spring 2021
With the weather getting warmer, we might be turning our attention to some outdoor activities. While lockdown guidelines might restrict what we can do with other households, it doesn’t mean we can’t get our fill of picnic food and take the family out for a banquet in the park. And with National Picnic Day coming on the 23rd of April, there’s no better time to do it.
So, with that in mind, we thought we’d take a look at a few picnic food ideas to get our teeth stuck into. From shop-bought favourites and homemade treats, to delicious foods for those with dietary restrictions, and bitesize international cuisine, there’s something for everyone.
Homemade Picnic Food Ideas
For a real rustic picnic treat, you can’t beat homemade. Whether you’re craving sweet or savoury, you can pack your basket with some hand-crafted goodies. You won’t have to worry about what’s been packed into them if you’ve made them yourself. One great tip for getting the best out of your picnic cooking is to check out the seasonal fruits and vegetables on offer this Spring. You could even get to growing in your garden with a little help from our Spring Garden Tips article.
Of course you can buy sausage rolls at the shop, but why settle for mystery meat when you can grab a packet of pork mince and season it with your favourite flavours. From classic flavours like sage and thyme, to zestier options like apple, and even nutmeg, you can tailor the flavour for your pallet. Just shape your meat mixture, and roll it up in puff pastry. And there’s nothing wrong with using shop-bought pastry for a little added convenience.
With some small, waxy potatoes, some vinegar, a little sour cream and some mayo, you’re on your way to a delicious potato salad. Pack it with as many or as few veggies as you like, and season it to your liking, and you’ve got a tasty picnic treat on your hands. While the word ‘salad’ might conjure up thoughts of health, the amount of mayonnaise in this dish might not be as nutritious as it sounds. But with low calorie alternative ingredients, a healthy and delicious potato salad is possible. Bear in mind, your salad doesn’t have to be potato-based either.
This one might sound a little obvious, but surprise, surprise, hearty bread and delicious fillings are a pretty great combination. Whether you want a classic BLT, you’ve got a strange affinity for an egg and cress, or you want to keep it simple with a ham and cheese, you’ve got so much choice. Decide whether you want white bread, brown bread, a baguette or even a sourdough loaf. Pick out your fillings, whether you want meat, or just veg, and you’re basically good to go.
Keep it Simple with Shop-Bought Picnic Food
Unfortunately, we aren’t all blessed with the time to knock out a few picnic foods in the kitchen. For those who are short on time, a quick trip to the shop can yield some pretty tasty results, with less of the effort. Whether you pick up a meal deal, or go for more of an upmarket feel, the likes of Tesco and Morrison’s have got you covered.
Picnic Cheese Boards
For a rustic, yet classy way to dine during your picnic, a cheeseboard can really take your menu to the next level. From creamy brie to crumbly feta, you can pack your board with most delicious choices. Go from soft to hard cheese and pick out some side dishes to go with them. From deli meats and olives, to crusty breads and crackers, it’s a fabulous way to eat while the sun is shining. And don’t forget to crack out the wine too.
There’s no denying the genius of Fortnum & Mason who supposedly invented the scotch egg back in 1738. A boiled egg wrapped in sausage meat, breaded and fried is a thing of beauty and it’s a must-have in your picnic basket. They’re a little fiddly to make, so buying them from the shop is convenient. But there’s no denying the deliciousness of a scotch egg with a runny yolk. This can only really be achieved if you whip it up at home and get it just right.
You’ll need something sweet to go with your savoury, and there’s nothing sweeter than a soft, delicious cake. Whether you want brownies, muffins, cupcakes or a swiss roll, it’s the perfect way to cap off your lunch. Whether it’s a Bakewell tart, a Battenberg or a lovely crumble, it’s a superb way to satiate that sweet tooth. It’s a cracking sharer dish that no picnic basket is complete without.
International Picnic Food Ideas
We know all about the British staples. But for something a little different, it’s well worth taking your taste buds on a trip with some internationally-inspired dishes. Whether you’re breaking out your cooking skills, or you’re adding a few items to your shopping list, it’s a brilliant twist on the standard picnic staples. It’s also a great way to discover new dishes. Not to mention there’s a lot of delicious bite-sized treats around the world that are perfect for picnics.
Samosas are hand-held, bitesize and delicious, which makes them a prime candidate for a place in your picnic basket. Typically packed with vegetables and Indian seasonings, if you make them yourself you can fill that filo pastry with whatever takes your fancy. Not to mention, you can buy the pastry pre-made which takes about half the work out of the equation.
A delicious, French egg and bacon tart that comes in a delightful pastry crust. It’s as if an omelette and a pie had a baby, and it’s as good as it sounds. You can make one big tart to slice when you arrive at your picnic destination, or you can go for a more portable option with some delightful individual quiches. You can buy these at your local Iceland, or just stock up on the ingredients and get cooking.
A little like a cheeseboard to your picnic, bruschetta is bread that you can load with all your favourite toppings. Bruschetta alla Romana is topped with tangy tomatoes and basil. You can top it with parsnip and parmesan. You can even go a little less savoury by topping it with cherries, prosciutto and ricotta. It’s a customisable dish that you really can make your own, so it’s perfect for picky eaters.
Vegan Picnic Food Ideas
Dietary restrictions can be a pain when it comes to picking out some treats for a picnic. But with so many vegan options available, you don’t have to worry about giving those taste buds some of the good stuff this Spring. From plant-based foods, to vegan alternatives, your picnic basket won’t be lacking. For a quick start to your vegan picnic, check out what MyVegan have on offer.
Sticking to the international foods theme, falafel is the perfect dish for followers of a vegan diet. It’s made from chickpeas and can be mixed with all your favourite vegetables and seasonings. Onion and garlic are an absolute must. The mixture is then formed into balls and shallow fried to crispy perfection. It’s so easy to make from home, but you can also get your fill from the supermarket.
For a delicious alternative to your sandwiches, grab some tortillas and fill them with your favourite flavours. With flavours like avocado, peppers and beetroot being prime candidates for the wrap treatment, you can’t really go wrong. Not to mention, if your family don’t follow the same diet, they can sort themselves out without much hassle by filling the tortillas with their choice of ingredients.
By swapping out your butter for coconut oil, you can make yourself a fresh batch of cracking cookies that cater to your sweet tooth. BBC Good Food have a great vegan cookie recipe, so you can whip up a few from the comfort of your own home. But with supermarkets vegan sections being filled with tasty treats, that’s a great alternative.
Treat Yourself to Some Perfect Picnic Food
So, whether you want a British classic, an international flavour-bomb, or you’ve got a diet to follow, we hope these ideas have given you a little inspiration on your next family picnic. Head over to Dunelm and grab a picnic basket, check out Argos for your picnic blanket, and you’re good to go.
Remember to check out the latest government Coronavirus guidelines before you set off though. While restrictions are easing, it’s always best to stay safe, even when you’re outdoors this Spring.