We’re on a mission this summer to shake up our outdoor entertaining with the ultimate cookout recipes and picnic recipes. So we scoured the Web for the most creative recipes that fit these criteria:
- The dishes have to be flavorful enough to please the most discerning palates
- They should be mostly healthful, and use in-season ingredients
- The recipes have to pack and travel well
- The food has to be able to tolerate sitting in warm temperatures (or switching between warm and cool temperatures) for a few hours without turning rancid
Here’s what we’re packing in our picnic basket or setting out on our barbecue buffet this year:
If you’ve been trying—with mixed results—to work kale into everything from smoothies to grilled cheese sandwiches just to get another few ounces of this superfood, Oh My Veggies has the solution. This hummus tempers kale’s bite with sweet and smooth chickpeas and tahini, and tastes as delicious spread on crackers as it does in a veggie wrap.
. . . Because the timing couldn’t be more perfect for juicy tomatoes and aromatic basil. We love the extra kick of the chile-infused olive oil, not to mention the bite-sized ciliegine mozzarella. For a splash of summery hues, swap out the cherry tomatoes for colorful sliced heirloom tomatoes.
If you’re already wrangling an overabundance of zucchini and yellow squash in your garden, this one’s for you. We love the fabulous Beekman boys’ addition of sweet red bell pepper. And let’s face it: how often does a dish topped with crunchy panko and tangy Parmesan cheese go wrong?
Sure, kids might roll their eyes at this one, but grown-ups will love this hearty salad with chewy quinoa, roasted broccoli, and smooth white beans. This dish will last longer sans refrigerator if you skip the salami, but either way, this savory summer salad is a winner.
What’s a cookout or picnic without s’mores? Make these crackers—so much better than store-bought, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner—a day ahead, then pack them in your basket with some chocolate bars and marshmallows.
Remember our theory on savory dishes topped with panko and Parmesan, above? Well, ditto desserts topped with coconut. Even better, this easy, crowd-pleasing brownie uses coconut oil as its primary fat, and it’s reputed to do everything from help you burn off more body fat (thanks to medium-chain trigylcerides that increase energy expenditure) to ward off infections (courtesy of a high lauric acid content). But when it comes right down to it, what we love most is that these are richy, chewy brownies topped with sweet, toasted coconut.