Perfect Picnic Recipes

Yasmin FahrYasmin FahrWe all watch with baited breath as the temperatures start to rise come March. When Al Roker gets on TV to tell us about "above average temperatures," our hopes for a day when eating outside is not just a staunch rebellion of the cold are renewed. There are few better ways to celebrate the mercury rising than with a well-prepared meal eaten outside. But waking up early on a Wednesday morning just to make the perfect picnic recipe seems a little overboard. So instead, we've rounded up six recipes that are easily made the night before (keyword being easily) and would quickly brighten up any picnic lunch day, whether it's an hour taken out of the workday or a weekend picnic with friends.

Related: 7 Picnic-Ready Recipes for a Great Afternoon

Classic picnic dishes, like this egg salad sandwich, are fun to make at home the night before a picnic and something delicious and light to eat under the midday sun. And feel free to ramp up the classics - instead of just making roast chicken sandwiches, throw some spice in there with this chicken tikka salad. With dishes like these, everyone else at the picnic will wish they'd made what you did.

Picnics inspire healthy eats, so something like this nutty quinoa tabouleh with tomatoes, cucumber, and mint would make the perfect addition to a picnic spread or workday picnic lunch. Then, there is pasta, which always seems like a treat in the middle of a workday, so why not make it the night before and let lunch feel a little extra indulgent? This simple pasta recipe has pecorino cheese, tomatoes, and parsley, and relies on the naturally delicious flavors of high-quality, fresh pasta.

Related: 11 Picnics Around the World

Quick and Easy Pasta with Pecorino, Tomatoes, and Parsley Recipe

When you have fresh pasta (that you either made yourself or bought), you really don't need to do much to it because it's already going to be so good. That's the reason why this recipe works so well. Fresh, silky noodles topped with quartered tomatoes, nutty and creamy Pecorino cheese, and chopped parsley. Add a little olive oil and you're in business. Great for a weeknight meal or when you don't really feel like doing much at all.


1 pound fresh tagliatelle pasta
Extra-virgin olive oil
3-4 cherry tomatoes, quartered
Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
Zest of ¼ lemon
2 sprigs parsley, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Cook the pasta in a pot of well-salted boiling water (should taste like the sea), for about 4-5 minutes, or until reached your desired level of doneness. Drain and immediately combine with some olive oil, tossing well. Add the remaining ingredients, toss, and season to taste.

Recipe Details

Servings: 2

Quinoa Tabouleh

This spin on the classic Middle Eastern salad, "tabouleh," swaps traditionally used bulgur wheat (which you could also use) for nutritional, superstar quinoa. - Erika Lenkert

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Egg Salad Sandwich

This simple egg salad recipe makes a hearty and delicious side dish that's great for picnics or backyard barbecues. - Toni Patrick

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Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Garlic Confit and Baby Arugula

Here, the beloved grilled cheese sandwich takes on a gourmet twist. The secret ingredient: garlic confit! - Viviane Bauquet Farre

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-Nicole Campoy-Leffler, The Daily Meal

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