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If you’re going to enjoy the picnic that life really is, you’d better learn to like yourself not despite your flaws and so-called deficits, but because of them.
– Paul Orfalea

It’s picnic season! Your blanket’s ready, your cooler’s out, and you can’t wait to get outside. Now, all you need is good picnic food to take with you. In my experience, the best picnic food ideas aren’t just delicious – they’re simple, too. They’re dishes that you can make ahead knowing that they’ll still taste great when you’re ready to eat. They’re easy to pack in a cooler or a bag, and you only need a few utensils to serve them. No utensils? Even better!


1. Caprese Sandwich

Caprese Sandwich

This caprese sandwich is fresh from the basil and hearty from thick, crusty ciabatta. The sun-dried tomatoes deepen the flavor. Topping the bread with a layer of basil leaves and using toasted bread helps to keep the sandwich from getting soggy if you need to make it a few hours ahead. Get the recipe here.

2. Avocado Summer Rolls

Creamy avocado. Fresh mint and basil. Carrots and red cabbage lightly pickled in sweet-and-salty rice vinegar. Crisp lettuce. Oh, and the spicy peanut sauce is a must! Don’t worry – no matter how sloppy your Avocado Summer Rolls are, they still taste divine. Get this recipe here!


3. Easy Pasta Salad

Every cookout needs a great pasta salad, and this is the one that I’ll be making all summer long. It comes together in no time, it’s full of fresh ingredients, and it packs a flavorful punch. Check out this recipe.

4. Watermelon Salad with Feta

Watermelon Salad with Feta

This easy summer watermelon salad is perfect to make for eating under the warm sun. Watermelon and mint add plenty of refreshing flavor, while briny olives and feta offer the perfect counterpoint. You can either cut a small, seedless watermelon into rounds with a melon baller or you can just chop the watermelon into cubes. Get the recipe here.

5. Ultimate Crudité Platter

The word crudité is French, so if you want you can just call them raw veggies. And it’s an easy appetizer that you can make/prep ahead. Your personal trainer is going to be so proud! The best part of a Crudite Tray is that all the chopped raw vegetables are great by themselves or you can use them as a vehicle for a dip or hummus that is usually served with them. Here is a simple recipe to follow!

6. Pineapple Salsa

Pineapple Salsa

Looking for a fun, fresh party appetizer? This colorful pineapple salsa recipe will be a big hit. It’s a little sweet, a little spicy, and 100% delicious. Perhaps pineapple salsa sounds crazy at first glance, but it’s not when you think about it. Tomatoes are technically fruit, too, and they’re also sweet in flavor. If you don’t believe me, I dare you to give this pineapple salsa a try!

7. Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Chocolate makes zucchini bread a million times better. That’s obvious. The more surprising secret weapon in this recipe? An extra egg yolk! It’ll make your quick bread extra moist and rich. If you have flaky sea salt (like Maldon!), sprinkle it on top before serving. It intensifies the chocolate even more. Get the recipe here!

8. Strawberry Rhubarb Bars

Strawberry Rhubarb Bars

It’s not too often throughout the year that my local grocery store has fresh rhubarb, but when it does I always have to grab some. I absolutely love the strawberry rhubarb combination and how the sweetness of the strawberries and the tartness of the rhubarb balances each other out so perfectly. Click here for the recipe. 


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