5 Picnic Ideas….in 5 ingredients

Written by Sophie

The weather is so nice at the moment and people are picnicking on every patch of greenery in London.  So I have come up with a few easy ideas that you could make and take along to a picnic, BBQ or even make for a summery packed lunch (in 5 ingredients although a few involve a few kitchen cupboard staples).  These are all vegetarian so feel free to add or substitute for cooked meat or fish if you want a bit of extra protein in there..  I haven’t indicated quantities as it really depends on how many people you’re catering for, and your preference on flavours.

1. Quinoa Salad (*this one is also vegan)

  • Quinoa
  • Peppers
  • Courgette
  • Pine Nuts
  • Fresh Basil

Cook the quinoa (according to pack instructions), roast the peppers and courgettes (with a bit of olive oil, salt & pepper), toast or dry fry the pine nuts, and shred the basil.  Put it all together and you have a delicious quinoa salad!

2. Feta and Butternut Squash Seedy Salad

  • Feta
  • Mixed seeds (you can buy packs of these cheaply at most supermarkets)
  • Rocket
  • Butternut Squash (or pumpkin)
  • Red wine vinegar (optional)

Roast the butternut squash with a bit of olive oil, toast the seeds. crumble the feta and mix it all together with the rocket.  Then when you are about to eat, drizzle a bit of Red wine vinegar over it and serve.

3. Classic Greek Salad

  • Olives (pitted black or kalamata)
  • Cucumber
  • Tomatoes
  • Feta
  • Red wine Vinegar

Chop up the cucumber and tomatoes into small chunks, slice up the olives into halves or quarters, crumble the feta and mix in with the Red Wine vinegar, some salt & pepper (and a little olive oil if you have some in the cupboard).  It’s ok to do the dressing in advance for this one as there are no leaves to wilt.

4. Chickpea & Pesto 

  • Chickpeas
  • Basil
  • Pinenuts
  • Parmesan
  • Avocado

Blend the basil, pine nuts and parmesan together with a little olive oil, salt & pepper, slice up the avocado and mix all together with the drained chickpeas.

6. Carbless ‘pasta’ salad

  • Carrot
  • Courgette
  • Spring Onions
  • Yoghurt
  • Mustard

Spiralize the carrot and courgettes, finely chop the spring onions, then mix the yoghurt, mustard and a splash of olive oil, salt & pepper together and mix in with the vegetables…you’ll have a creamy yet nutritious substitute for a pasta salad.

And one for desert…Fruit Skewers

  • Grapes
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Greek Yoghurt

Wash all of the fruit and cut the strawberries in half, then on smallish wooden skewer sticks put about 5-6 pieces of fruit on each and make 2-3 per person at the picnic.  Serve with greek yoghurt on the side.  For this one, other fruits that you could use (that won’t go brown or be too small) are melon, mango, pineapple or kiwi.

Other ideas:

  • Dips – it’s easy to make a big pot of dip and then cut up some vegetable sticks or bring crisp breads, rice cakes or pita to have alongside them.
    • Guacamole, Tzatiki and hummus always go down well and are healthy and easy to make.
  • Falafel (https://squirrelsisters.wordpress.com/2015/04/28/jamie-olivers-sweet-potato-falafals/) or ‘Great Food’ do a range of delicious falafels and ‘bites’ which are all fairly ‘clean’ recipes as well.
  • Scotch Eggs (https://squirrelsisters.wordpress.com/2015/03/15/scotch-eggs-paleo-and-gluten-free/)
  • Healthy brownies
    • Deliciously Ella has a nice recipe here: http://deliciouslyella.com/vegan-sweet-potato-brownies-gluten-free/
  • Bilinis – you can construct them at the picnic, just take along the pancake part (recipe here: https://squirrelsisters.wordpress.com/2015/06/15/clean-and-lean-pancakes/) and then take along some smoked salmon  and a dill/lemon/yoghurt spread (just combine those three ingredients at home beforehand).
  • Cheese platter with some grapes and celery (most supermarkets sell a ready-made selection of cheeses in a box so this one is good for people who are really pushed for time and need to pick up a contribution on route! Do make sure they are the good quality cheese though as otherwise they can be full of preservatives, or resemble plastic).