A Picnic in the Park: Recipes for Your Basket

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Simple summer dishes like this salad are great for picnics. [Photograph: Caroline Russock]

Anyone else headed to the park for a show during these summer concert series? Is there anything better than picnicking with good friends on a warm summer night? Sometimes all you need is a good loaf of bread, a hunk of cheese, and a bag of grapes. Other times, you're looking for something a little more inspired and real-dinner-esque.

Finding the right foods to bring along isn't actually that simple. You want something that won't spoil or be too messy. Here are a bunch of ideas: creative, flavorful make-ahead munchies that won't go bad in transit or require much beyond your hands and some plastic utensils. We've included plenty of summer salads, sandwiches, other finger foods, and tarts. What do you like to bring along for picnics in the park?

Salads and Sides

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Greek Salad Skewers
Three Melon Salad with Mint
Grilled Corn and Quinoa Salad
Tortellini Pasta Salad
Farro White Bean Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
Olivey French Lentil and Barley Salad
Chicken and Rice Salad with Mint Pesto and Peas
Lemon Basil Pasta Salad
My Favorite Potato Salad
Fresh Pickled Vegetables
Summer Succotash with Bacon
Saffron and Orange Rice Pilaf with Orzo and Pine Nuts

Sandwiches

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BLT Animal Style
Roasted Chicken Salad with Crunch
Blackened Chicken Sandwich
PBRJ: Peanut Butter and Homemade Rhubarb Jelly Sandwich
Boursin and Tomato Mini Tartines (assemble them at the park!)
Portobello and Herbed Ricotta Sandwich
Sabich (Eggplant Sandwich with Hard Boiled Eggs)
Turkey and Coleslaw Sandwich
Cheese and Sesame Flatbreads

Mains

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Tomato Tart with Parmesan-Rosemary Crust
Jerk Pork Skewers
Tea-Brined Batter Fried Picnic Chicken
Mini Pulled Pork Empanadas
Beef Satay with Peanut Sauce
Potato and Kale Frittata
Cold Sesame Noodles

Dessert

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Soft and Crunchy Peanut Butter Cookies
Blueberry Hand Pies
Maggie's Favorite Oatmeal Cookies
Apricot Drop Scones
White Chocolate Dipped Lemon-Almond Biscotti
Apricot Orange Swirls

Still hungry for more? Check out more picnic-ready dessert ideas from Serious Sweets. Or read about the best picnic Kenji has ever had! It's quite epic (note: it took place in France).

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