picnic blanket spread with easy picnic food ideas

These days outdoors is where it’s at for safely gathering, and as long as local health authorities agree, any excuse for a picnic is a good one.

Looking for safe and delicious ways to nosh outdoors with family and friends? Here are nine fast and easy picnic food ideas that can be portioned individually and shared at a comfortable distance.

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buffalo chicken cubes, tomatoes and celery on sticks with blue cheese dip

Ready in: 23 minutes

Why we love it: These simple skewers combine the flavours of buffalo wings and the crudites that usually come with them in one delicious, nutritious bite.

Picnic prep tip: Once skewered, store the bites in the fridge, and be sure to pack them with lots of ice or cooler packs so they stay cool before serving. For a vegetarian take on the same dish, use firm tofu or your favourite meat-free strips instead of chicken.

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Serving Tip
Bring small individual dip containers for the blue cheese dressing so each picnic guest can double dip to their heart’s content. And be sure to keep all your dishes well-chilled in a cooler: Health Canada recommends keeping all picnic food at 40 F or below and storing items in the cooler when you’re not eating them.[1]

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bite-sized picnic california roll wraps

Ready in: 15 minutes

Why we love it: Enjoy delicious sushi flavours without having to master wrapping nori, or figuring out how to keep raw fish fresh. These tortilla sushi wraps can be sliced and served like maki, or rolled into individual wraps for a grab-and-go hand roll option.

Picnic prep tip: If you store your tortillas in the fridge let them come to room temperature first for an easier roll. And if you’re serving these rolls with the sriracha-mayo garnish, pack the sauce separately in a squeeze bottle and drizzle just before digging in.

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muffuletta sandwich for picnic

Ready in: 1 hour 32 minutes

Why we love it: These flavourful sandwiches are the perfect picnic food for these trying times. They can be made up to three hours in advance and are easy to pack and transport. They’re also customizable for a variety of palates depending on how you stuff them. Not into eggs, green beans and tuna? Try roasted chicken breast, roasted red peppers, and salami instead.

Picnic prep tip: Assemble, slice, refrigerate and wrap these sandwiches in individual portions at least one hour before you plan to eat them.

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bite-sized pastrami, cream cheese and pickle wraps on toothpicks

Ready in: 15 minutes

Why we love it: No bread? No problem? These quick and easy bites put the best parts of a pastrami sandwich onto sticks for individual enjoyment.

Picnic prep tip: Not a huge pastrami fan? Swap it out with your favourite deli slices, and don’t be afraid to switch up the cheese, too. Any combination you like on a sandwich—ham and Swiss, turkey and Havarti, beef and marble cheddar—will work here. As with all your dishes, be sure to keep this one cool, at 40 F or below. Not only is it safer, it will keep the meet from getting slimy, too.[2]

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watermelon, cucumber and mint picnic salad

Ready in: 10 minutes

Why we love it: Watermelon salad is always a hit when you’re noshing park-side, but the addition of cucumbers, citrus, mint and steak spice make it one of those memorable side dishes you can’t help but marvel over.

Picnic prep tip: For even faster prep, slice and store the watermelon chunks and seeded cucumber segments separately ahead of time, and then mix everything together before leaving. Have extra mint, watermelon and lime juice?  Add it to icy water for an inspired summer drink.

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Serving Tip
When serving the salad, consider bringing one container for each household that will be sharing it, or pack portions into individual serving containers. Or, dress the watermelon and cucumber in advance and then skewer the salad onto sticks for individual servings.

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basil and havarti picnic idea pinwheels

Ready in: 35 minutes

Why we love it: These savoury bake-ahead pinwheels are ready in no time. Once they’re cooled, they require no refrigeration, so you can pack them in a food container and go. Enjoy them as is or use them as bread for ultra-decadent sandwiches.

Picnic prep tip: Not into sundried tomatoes? Try well-drained sliced black olives or roasted red peppers instead. Like sundried tomatoes, these jarred fillings hold up to temperature changes and travel well.

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bite sized broccoli cheese frittatas

Ready in: 15 minutes

Why we love it: These bite-sized frittatas are tasty, colourful, healthy and portable—what else could you ask for in a picnic food?

Picnic prep tip: Follow the recipe for a crowd-pleasing treat, or experiment with different flavours—sharp cheeses like feta, goat, or blue, if you dare, make tasty swaps for cheddar. The mini frittatas can be enjoyed on their own, or stuffed into buns for quick and filling vegetarian sandwiches.

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perfect picnic potato salad

Ready in: 30 minutes

Why we love it: What is an easy picnic without at least one potato salad anyhow? This three-ingredient dish eliminates the fanfare but doubles down on taste by pre-boiling mini red potatoes in chicken stock. It’s simple and kid-friendly, plus you can fancy it up with the addition of crispy bacon, pickled onions, fresh parsley, chives, dill or whatever else strikes your fancy.

Picnic prep tip: To chill the cooked potatoes even faster, place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and pop them in the fridge while you do the dishes.

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Serving Tip
If you can’t transport this dish in individual portions, be prepared with individual paper bowls or plates, and keep hand sanitizer nearby to wipe clean the handle of a giant serving spoon between uses.

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chocolate chip cornflake cookies

Ready in: 20 minutes

Why we love it: Chocolate chip cookies are the ultimate picnic food because they’re delicious and easy. These ones are extra special thanks to the addition of a well-known breakfast staple, which adds unexpected crunch.

Picnic prep tip: Get kids in on the action by having them mix and measure ingredients or scoop out the batter. Speaking of scoops, if you happen to have a trigger ice cream scoop laying around, use it for perfectly portioned balls of cookie dough.

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Article Sources

  1. Health Canada. Summer food safety tips.
  2. Health Canada. Summer food safety tips.

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