As far as easy picnic food ideas go, the sandwich must be one of the simplest.
So I'm going to give you some really tasty fillings to ring the changes, as well as a few other meal ideas.
"Few things in life aren't improved by being put between two slices of bread" - Nigella Lawson
It's true that a sandwich really is the ultimate picnic lunch.
Easily transported and washed down with a glass of iced tea or a cold bottle of ginger beer, it's old-fashioned goodness!
Soup and sandwiches also go well together to create a simple alfresco meal.
There are delicious picnic sandwiches to choose from throughout the site but there are lots of other easy picnic recipes as well.
For instance noodle salad is as as substantial as a sandwich and couscous salad is a meal in itself too.
A buffet-style meal is easily the simplest and most stress-free for a picnic.
So putting together a menu based around cold meats and summer salads gives you time to relax and spend quality time with your friends or family.
Easy picnic food ideas could include all-in-one salad meals such as this lovely combination, which serves 2 as a main or use it for 4 as an appetizer:
Maybe you prefer one of the many chicken recipes - served with a good portion of potato salad, this constitutes a traditional as well as easy picnic food idea.
When you are blessed with a sunny day, fill your basket with some cold picnic food recipes and head out for the nearest grassy spot! However, the message of this site is not to abandon picnics during the colder months but enjoy them throughout the year!
You can choose to plan a picnic around one special, very moreish dish or, especially if it’s a picnic party, to have more variety. Whatever you decide, be a little extravagant with your quantities because it’s disappointing if there are a lot of hungry people and you’ve run out of food!
If you still prefer to go with a substantial filling between two slices of some kind of bread, then take your pick from some of these easy picnic food ideas:
Cannellini bean spread sandwiches -
- in seed bread with tapenade and rocket
To make the cannellini bean spread, blend or mash a rinsed and well-drained can of cannellini beans with 1 or 2 crushed cloves of garlic, a tablespoon of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper.
Spread the bread with tapenade (olive and anchovy or olive and sun-dried tomato or whatever you have), then the bean spread, lots of rocket and sandwich together.
- in sourdough bread with chorizo and chilli oil
Make cannelloni bean spread as above, replacing one spoon of olive oil with chilli infused olive oil and sandwich together generously with slices of chorizo.
Pitta breads are another easy picnic food idea to use. Try some of these tasty combinations:
Mozzarella, rocket and salsa Pitta Pocket
Split the pitta pocket and spread one inside surface with salsa relish. Then fill the pocket with sliced mozzarella or mini mozzarella balls and a handful of rocket, watercress or salad spinach.
Tuna fish and red onion Pitta Pocket
Mix tinned tuna fish with finely chopped red onion. Add mayonnaise to bind, and some parsley if possible. Add salt and pepper to taste and fill the pitta with the mixture.
Mediterranean Pitta Pocket
Fill pitta breads with a mixture of halved cherry tomatoes, basil leaves, thinly sliced red onion, thin strips of sweet red pepper, a few stoned and smashed black olives and an anchovy or two. Add salt and pepper but remember anchovies are salty.
Prawn and gherkin Pitta Pocket
Roughly chop about 200g of cooked, peeled prawns and mix with 2 large, finely chopped gherkins in 30 ml of crème fraiche and 15 ml of thick mayonnaise. Add some snipped chives, salt and black pepper to taste. Fills 2 or 3 toasted pitta pockets.
And more easy picnic food ideas:-
Soft Rolls or Floury Baps with roastbeef, watercress and mustard mayo
Mix together 4 tablespoons of thick mayonnaise, 1 of each of smooth and wholegrain Dijon mustard. Spread on both sides of soft rolls and fill with a generous amount of thinly sliced roastbeef and a handful of watercress.
Italian sandwich with Parmesan
For an easy picnic food idea of the Italian variety, slice a ciabatta loaf through the middle and then cut each piece in half (makes 2 large sandwiches).
Spread each piece with 2 teaspoons of sun-dried tomato paste. Top with small pieces of grilled artichokes (bottled) and roasted red peppers (bottled). Smash about 12 stoned black olives and add, along with a few thin slices of red onion. Finish off with Parmesan shavings (or other hard cheese) and a few torn oregano or basil leaves. Sandwich together and wrap tightly.
Smoked mackerel pate in a granary baguette
Make your own smoked mackerel paté and add a handful of peppery watercress.
If you find your kitchen is short of the ingredients you need, just take some cutlery and plates (and I must have salt but that's up to you) and do a quick shop on the way. The food can be assembled when you arrive at the beach, park, or where ever you're escaping to.
I suggest you simply buy a big piece of runny Camembert cheese or some Manchego, a nutty sheep's milk cheese from Spain. Then add some Parma ham, sliced wafer thin, or slices of Bresaola. Throw in some green and purple olives, swimming in virgin olive oil and herbs, and lots of fresh crusty bread.
Add a bottle of chilled white wine or juice wrapped in ice-bags and wet washcloths (to be used on sticky fingers later) – or find a picnic spot beside a stream or river, where you can chill the wine!
Yes, don't forget those drinks, including bottled water. Kids are especially prone to dehydration when running around and playing in the sun.