Picnics are definitely one of the best things about summer: what could be more enjoyable than lying on a colourful blanket under dappled shade, and lazily nibbling on a spread of treats like you’re a Roman emperor? (Bonus points if you can get a friend to wave a fan over you.) We’ve put together a list of all the recipes you could possibly need for the tastiest picnic ever: from dainty salmon pinwheels to peppadew-feta muffins, from old-fashioned lemonade to picnic-proof salads, here’s how to put together your own cornucopia!
- 50 of the best picnic spots in South Africa
- Check out these top 10 tips for a perfect picnic
- Discover 23 of the best picnic spots in the Cape Winelands
- The best braai spots in Cape Town and around South Africa
Southern-style crispy chicken drumsticks
Watch the eyes of kids and adults alike light up when you bring out these crunchy, juicy drumsticks. Don’t be afraid of the fact that they’re baked: it’s much easier, and you don’t have to sacrifice any of the crispiness for health. (And you could always deep-fry if you really wanted to.)
Mini steak wraps
This is a great idea for making steak go a long way, if needed: and the longer you leave it in the lemon-thyme dressing, the tastier it will be.
Feta, peppadew and caramelised onion muffins
This is a versatile (and forgiving) everything-but-the-kitchen sink recipe, because you can customise it with whatever tasty snippets you have on hand. Although this combination of sweet, salty and spicy is hard to beat, you could try it with bacon, spinach, or parmesan too.
Mini sausage rolls
The ultimate finger food isn’t just for cocktails! These sausage rolls are a great addition to any picnic, and there’s a very nice smug-kitchen-wizard feeling about making them from scratch.
Spicy baked falafel with tzatziki
These are crunchy with a spicy bite, and very easy to make: you absolutely have to serve them with the tzatziki, though. You could put them into these mini-wraps as a vegetarian alternative to the steak strips.
Smoked salmon pinwheel sandwiches
These dainty salmon pinwheels are a great way to gussy up the standard picnic sandwich, and the combination of horseradish and dill is an absolute winner.
Mini bacon and mushroom frittatas
These mini bacon and mushroom frittatas are essentially muffin-sized crustless quiches. They’re a perfect size for a picnic and, like the muffins above, you can add in whatever bits and bobs you have around, like feta, sundried tomatoes, peppadews, peppers and herbs.Get the recipe here
Breads and tarts
Tomato and fennel bread
This is made using store-bought bread dough, so all you have to do is mix in some rosemary, lemon zest and fennel, and other delicious ingredients, and whack it in the oven. Couldn’t be easier!
Artichoke, feta and lemon bread
Looks fancy? It’s really not. Like the recipe above, this bread uses store-bought dough, so you can avoid the “letting rise in a warm place” and the “punching down”, and get started with the eating a few hours earlier.
Spicy vegetable savoury picnic loaf
This loaf is based on a Yotam Ollenghi recipe, and is closer in texture to a crustless quiche than a bread. Delicious!
This is like a gourmet version of a cheese and Marmite sandwich. Marmite is one of those polarising ingredients that you either love or hate, but the less-enthusiastic might be converted by the subtle cheesiness of this tart.
Tomato and basil tart
Cut up into slices, this is a very popular nibble at any picnic, and is super quick and easy to make.
Spreads and dips
Garlic, thyme and creme fraiche combine to make a delicious pâté that tastes like creamy mushroom pasta in a jar.
Potted pork belly
A meltingly tender dish of slow-cooked pork belly, shredded, combined with mace, pepper and salt, packed into a pot and sealed with butter. This is the tastiest thing you’ll ever spread on a piece of bread.
Nasturtium and macadamia nut pesto
Picking fresh nasturtium leaves and flowers is one of the best things about spring: you don’t have to feel bad because they grow profusely and aren’t native to South Africa. The peppery leaves are toned down in this pesto with buttery macadamia nuts and very little garlic, and it’s a delicious alternative to the tired basil option.
Everyone’s got their favourite twist on a potato salad recipe: some folks are passionate about the inclusion of hard-boiled eggs (shudder) while others say that the key is roasting the potatoes, not boiling them. This recipe’s secret weapon is nutty, buttery, roasted garlic, and it’s a life-changing addition.
Watermelon and feta salad
This is one of the easiest salad to throw together: but the combination of salt and sweet, creamy and crunchy, is more addictive than the sum of its parts. It’s a perfect picnic recipe because it can take more bashing than a leaf-heavy salad, and can withstand a fair bit more sunshine too.
Red onion gives some bite to the buttery hunks of mango in this simple salad: and doesn’t a sunshine salad sound like the perfect thing for a picnic?
Nectarine and almond tart
Nectarines are the sweet, juicy rockstars of summer fruit. Once you’ve overdosed on eating them straight out of the box (with juice on your chin and your feet in the pool), this beautiful tart is a must-try. Roasting the nectarines kicks their flavour to another level, and with the sweet, nutty base, it’s a picnic dessert classic.
Chocolate and coffee muffins
The easiest chocolate-coffee muffin recipe ever: and the knowledge that Cadbury milk chocolate is Fairtrade is a great justification for making them as often as possible.
Red velvet cupcakes
This recipe is worth making for the cream-cheese icing alone: when you couple it with an easy recipe for one of the most popular cupcake recipes ever, it’s a double whammy.
Classic old-school lemonade recipe
This is the kicker: old-fashioned lemonade. Sweet, tart, and tasting exactly like summer, you shouldn’t even bother with the whole “picnic” idea if you’re not bringing this with you. Don’t let the kids drink all of it: you could add a sneaky shot of gin for the grown-ups too.