15 Backyard Picnic Recipes to Enjoy from the Comfort of Your Home
Just because you're not venturing far doesn't mean you can't enjoy a picnic! Eating outdoors can be a real treat, whether you're going on a hike or just spreading out a blanket in the backyard. And if weather or space poses a problem, never fear: an indoor picnic is just as fun. Arrange a picnic blanket on the floor, complete with reusable bamboo cutlery, and pack a basket of tasty treats to carry in from the kitchen. Get kids involved in picking the menu, and if you're indoors, you can even encourage them to draw or imagine their own far-flung scenery.
Chicken Sandwiches with Zang
Chicken sandwiches are the perfect crowd-pleaser for a picnic, and these ones boast "zang," a term that really boils down to a combination of Italian seasoning, grill seasoning, and barbecue sauce. Whatever you call it, the combo is on-point. An added bonus: if your picnic is happening at home, you can enjoy these sammies hot.
Sweet Restaurant Slaw
A perennial side dish for cookouts and barbeques, coleslaw is a delicious treat for your backyard picnic. This one couldn't be simpler, relying on bagged coleslaw mix and prepared dressing. Just toss the ingredients together, chill for a few hours, and enjoy.
Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Orzo
Orzo is the perfect marriage between pasta and rice. In this salad, it's also the base for a host of summery, Italian-inspired flavors. Use the olive oil the tomatoes are packed in to dress the salad, and you'll lend even more flavor.
Roasted Tomato, Avocado, and Fresh Mozzarella Crostini
One of the benefits of having a picnic close to home is that you don't need to worry too much about things getting crushed on the way to your final destination. Take these pretty roasted tomato and mozzarella crostini, for example. Assemble them on a plate (or in a pretty basket), carry them to your blanket, and dig right in.
All Kale Caesar
The problem with bringing a lettuce-based salad to a picnic is their tendency to get soggy before you ever have a chance to dig in. Luckily, that won't happen with this recipe. As a member of the cabbage family, kale stands up pretty well to dressings. This creamy Caesar with anchovies and Parmesan will soon become a household favorite.
Spicy Tuna Fish Sandwich
Tuna is a picnic staple, but these sandwiches are a little bit different than most thanks to the spicy kick of pickled jalapeños. Add the optional cheddar cheese crumbles and turn these into melt-style sandwiches if you're feeling fancy.
Chunky Cheesecake Brownies
Be sure to leave room for dessert! This mashup of two popular all-American desserts is just the way to finish off your picnic with a bang. They're sure to be greeted with applause, and demands for seconds.
Freekeh Salad with Tahini Dressing
Freekeh is a green durham wheat that can be prepared much like bulgur or quinoa. In this salad, it's tossed with a tahini dressing that's lightly sweetened with honey. A host of fresh herbs, bright pomegranate arils, and crunchy pistachios finish this Mediterranean salad off nicely.
Restaurant-Style Potato Salad
Potato salad is another al fresco favorite that transitions wonderfully to an indoor or backyard picnic. This ultra-traditional recipe keeps very well in the fridge, so feel free to prepare it in advance — and make enough for leftovers.
Delicious Egg Salad for Sandwiches
If you've ever been too nervous to bring egg salad on a picnic for fear of the mayo spoiling, a backyard picnic is the solution to your problem. This egg salad is a simple classic, perfect when served on rye bread, and since you're never too far from the fridge, you can put your fears to rest.
Thai-Inspired Noodle Salad
Gluten-free buckwheat soba noodles form the base of this Thai-inspired salad made with a sesame dressing and finished with crunchy chopped peanuts. Serve your favorite chili sauce on the side to add even more heat.
Grilled Peach and Ricotta Crostini
A grill pan will come in handy if you don't have the outdoor space to barbecue the peaches for these crostini. Mild ricotta is the perfect pair for their natural sweetness, while prosciutto adds a slightly salty tang.
Classic Macaroni Salad
Classic macaroni salad would be welcome at any picnic. This version is made with a mayo-based dressing that's lightly seasoned with yellow mustard, vinegar, and a touch of sugar. A rainbow of crunchy veggies like bell pepper, carrot, and celery are welcome additions to the party.
Tangy Poppy Seed Fruit Salad
If you're looking for something a little lighter for dessert, this tangy fruit salad has got you covered. This recipe is bright and full-flavored thanks to its citrus dressing.