This will surely be a picnic season unlike others. As quarantine restrictions continue to be relaxed, there is no doubt that people will have a strong desire to reconnect with the outdoors, especially when it comes to food (of course when working with safe social distancing).
While it̵7;s bad to squeeze your blanket with people, it’s strong to encourage your cooler to capacity. A lavish spread is the key to a perfect picnic, but preparing a multi-course meal can be overwhelming.
That’s why we highlight some picnic favorites prepared with just five (or fewer) ingredients so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time eating out. These portable goodies will make your next outdoor trip not only delicious, but easy.
Grilled summer squash with feta and mint
Next time you drop the grill, think about this seasonal page. Mix things with a melange of summer squash (zucchini, crookneck and pattypan make an excellent trio) and do not skimp on mint and feta. Get CNET sister site Chowhounds Grilled Summer Squash with Fat and Mint Recipes.
If you’re a stickler, it technically has six ingredients, but if you give salt and pepper a pass, there are only four things that go into this simple spread: soft goat cheese, fresh lemon peel, black olives and parsley. Spread it on biscuits, baguette slices or fresh vegetables for a light, light bite. Get Chowhound’s Chevre Olive Parsley Recipe.
When the tomatoes are at the peak of summer, there is no better pairing than plates of fresh mozzarella. Use this Italian classic as an excuse to start growing your own basil (or heirlooms for that matter). Get Chowhounds Caprese Salad Recipe.
Light quinoa salad
Easy to prepare. Travels well. Tastes delicious. What more could you want from this lively quinoa salad? It benefits from sweet tomatoes, chalky olives and a citrus kick with the state of a lemon spirit. Get Chowhound’s simple quinoa salad recipe.
Tangy cucumber pickles
Also known as ah-jaht, these Thai chili-infused pickles are sure to get the heat. Enjoy as a solo snack at your next picnic, but also keep a few extra jars in the fridge to fill your hamburger. Or go traditional and pair them with grilled chicken satay. Get Cowhounds tangy cucumber pickle recipe.
Roasted rosemary walnuts
It only takes a few minutes in the oven to turn ordinary old walnuts into these snack bar showstoppers, which are carefully coated with olive oil, ground rosemary, sugar, salt and pepper. Go crazy! Get Chowhounds Roasted Rosemary Walnut Recipes.
Sweet Potato Chips
These healthy (they are baked, not fried) homemade chips pack a lot of crunch. A hit with sour vinegar provides the contrast to the sweetness of the tartar. Get Chowhound’s sweet potato chips recipe.
This without frills, versatile southern cream cheese-based dip is a tasty addition to everything from chips (see directly above) to ingredients. You can also put some aside to use as a creamy sandwich spread. Get Chowhound’s Benedictine baptismal recipes.
Whole milk, salt and vinegar (or lemon juice) are all you need to make your own ricotta cheese in about an hour. Add biscuits or toast or a vegetable scoop – you still have an ingredient tray left, so be sure to add a fresh herb or spice, mix in roasted peppers or sliced avocado or a ripe peach on top. Get the fresh ricotta recipe.
Molly Ringwald’s whole roasted chicken
Like The Breakfast Club, this recipe from the 80’s icon Molly Ringwald has presented players (chicken, onion, lemon, herbs and dry vermouth) with a couple of background equipment (salt and pepper). Pink can be beautiful, but make sure your bird is cooked all the way. Get Molly Ringwald’s whole roasted chicken recipe.
The canned tuna mixed with just the right amount of shelf-stable sauces, spices and relish is a time-honored sandwich filler for a reason. If you are mayo-averse, this tuna salad recipe from Kristine’s Kitchen offers you the flexibility to switch to Greek yogurt for an egg-free alternative.
Garlic lovers’ roast beef
Roast beef with lots of garlic and rosemary is the gift that just keeps on giving. Keep it warm and fresh for dinner, then carve up a few slices for a satisfying dinner toast on a not too distant future day. Get garlic lovers roast beef recipes.
Fresh mango lemonade
Sugar. Water. Lemons. That’s all it takes to make a refreshing batch of fresh juice. But with two more places open to reach our five-ingredient max, why not add ripe mango and Angostura bitters for a tropical spin on the classic summer thirst quencher? Get the fresh mango lemonade recipe. Or try the ginger mango lemonade above.
Vinegar-based shrubs are a great way to prevent a large amount of ripe fruit from being wasted. This specific recipe mixes peaches with a rich amount of fresh basil. The ideal way to consume a bush drink is to dilute it with ice and a little with seltzer water (and maybe add some vodka if you are over 21). Get Chowhounds Peach Shrubs Recipe.
Chocolate caramel seed bark
Cayenne you handle it? This chocolate bark provides a delicious piece with a generous dose of caramel pieces, pepitas and the aforementioned pepper spice. Get Chowhounds chocolate cake pumpkin seeds bark recipe.
Pineapple and grape kebab
You do not have to be a Lakers fan to enjoy this refreshing purple and yellow skewer. The easy-to-assemble grape and pineapple combo offers lots of vitamins and fiber along with a mild hit of all-natural sugar to round out the perfect picnic. Get Chowhound’s pineapple and grape kebab recipes.
This story was originally written for Chowhound.