Summer is almost over—and what better time for a picnic? Looking for snack ideas that will feed the crowd and be easy on you, too? Here are five great possibilities for the menu, whether you are hosting or grabbing your canvas tote bag and heading out for the festivities.
First, a few details to make for a great picnic. Hosting? If you want to keep it simple, ask everyone to bring their own chairs or a picnic blanket. Throw on some fun vacation clothing and have easy activities on hand. If water is part of the fun, don’t forget the swimsuits and beach towels!
A game of bocce or a card game with good conversation can be great, too. For more ambiance, set the scene with outdoor furniture and candles. After all, picnics aren’t just for the little ones, and a good party can last long into the evening. If there’s a chance of a chill in the evening air, don’t forget to have a fleece throw on hand. Ready? Let’s check out those easy snack ideas!
Why not go for a light yet sophisticated summer sandwich? A caprese sandwich made from focaccia, mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, fresh basil, and arugula, put together with olive oil, salt, and pepper. For a vegan option, swap out the cheese for sliced avocado (it also makes a great salad if gluten is an issue). If it’s a family-style picnic, the adults will love an alternative to the burgers and dogs that the kids will go for—and that means more for you! The caprese sandwich is believed to be named for the island of Capri. Doesn’t that sound delicious?
Whether you call it a crudité platter or a veggie tray, this fan-favorite goes with everything, comes together in minutes, and is easy to transport. You can pick one up at the grocery store, but for a bit of your time (and less than half the cost), you can make your own and ensure that the veggies are top-notch.
Start by choosing at least three vegetables—in season is always best. See what looks freshest, and make sure to pick a variety of colors. Veggies advertise themselves if they are crisp and colorful. Carrots, sugar snap peas, and cucumbers are all great choices, but always go with what looks good to you and what you would like to eat, too. First, wash the veggies. If you are preparing carrots or cucumbers, peel the carrots completely and peel intermittent strips off the cucumber for a pinwheel look. Slice the veggies. Arrange on a tray and serve. Easy dip options include hummus, ranch dressing, and guacamole.
If you have little ones at your picnic, you can make a kiddie crudité platter. Try ants on a log (celery sticks spread with peanut butter and decorated with raisins). These are the ants that everyone will welcome. Just don’t tell the kids they are healthy—they may be less likely to eat them!
Ah, the summer fruit we will dream about in January! Time to savor those in-season treats while you still can. There’s nothing like biting into a fresh watermelon slice or strawberries at their best. Pick one, two, or three kinds of fruit, wash them, slice them into ready-to-eat snacks, and they will go with anything. Don’t forget the cooler! Ice-cold is always the best way to enjoy fruit as a treat.
Let’s face it, chocolate chip cookies are everyone’s favorite. If you have a secret recipe handed down from your grandmother, go for it. Otherwise, grab a tube of cookie dough at the store or a package already baked from the grocery bakery. You are guaranteed not to have leftovers with chocolate chip cookies.
For a fun twist on an old favorite, serve strawberry lemonade. You’ll be the star of the picnic and children of all ages will love it. Just take three cups of water, one quart of fresh strawberries, and ¾ cup sugar and blend in a blender (put half of this mix in at a time, blend, then add the other half). Pour the mixture into a pitcher or picnic-sized thermos. Add the lemon juice, club soda, and serve. Garnish with lemon and strawberry slices if desired. This is best in a pitcher—the fruit slices could prevent smooth pouring from a thermos unless it has a wide mouth.
If strawberry lemonade sounds too sweet for some of the adults, impress them by serving cocktails with pretty drinkware on your patio. Pull out that new recipe or go with a family favorite. Whatever else you choose to serve, make sure to have plenty of ice-cold water! Whether they’ve been running a relay race and need some frosty hydration or are just chilling on the patio, everyone will appreciate some cold H20.
Ah, a picnic. What a perfect way to savor the last days of summer!