New and Exciting Picnic Recipes

These 15 creative recipes offer fun variations on perennial outdoor favorites.


  • Picnic
    Spice up your summer picnics with new variations on classic picnic dishes.
    Photo by Adobestock/anton

  • Picnic

Now that you’re in an Earth Day frame of mind, why not get outdoors and continue to celebrate Mother Nature with sunny day picnics? The following recipes offer bright new twists on good old fashioned picnic favorites. Why not retire that boring hamburger for a tasty homemade lentil burger or free-range lamburger instead? Or snack on freshly made tortilla chips and zesty salsa instead of the usual packaged fare?

Besides adding exciting and nutritious new flavors to your life, these recipes will help you take advantage of the bounty you’ll find at farmers markets in the coming months. The cookbooks referenced below will give you even more ideas: They aim to feature the best of whole, organic, natural and seasonal cuisine. All of the following recipes serve about four to six picnickers, and would be fine to prepare the evening before your venture out.

Instead of overly greasy and salty chips served with store-bought sour cream dip, try this refreshing and addictive combination.

Baked Sweet Potato Chips Recipe

Adapted from Farmer John's Cookbook: The Real Dirt on Vegetables (Gibbs Smith, 2006).



  • 2 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 to 2 tsp dried red pepper flakes or Cajun spice mix
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper.
  2. Slice the sweet potatoes into rounds as thin as you can get them (a mandoline works best if you have one). 
  3. Toss the potatoes in a bowl with the oil and seasonings. Spread them on a baking sheet, and bake until they are browned and crispy, about 20 minutes.

Mushroom Yogurt Dip Recipe

Use whatever mushrooms you can find in-season to highlight their at-peak earthy flavors. Adapted from The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook (Whitecap, 1998).

  • 1 tbsp nut oil (walnut, sesame, hazelnut, etc.)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, chopped
  • 8 ounces plain, thick yogurt
  • 1 tsp cumin, ground
  • 2 tbsp thyme or lemon thyme, chopped
  1. Heat the oil in a sauté pan, then add the garlic and onions. Sauté for 3 minutes and add the mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes, or until golden brown.
  2. Remove from heat, strain off excess liquid and transfer to a bowl. Stir in the yogurt, cumin and thyme. Let sit for at least 10 minutes.

 






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