As temperatures start to soar, the last place you want to spend your summer is sweating over a hot stove.
Escape the heat of the kitchen and enjoy your next summer meal al fresco with an easy-no-stress picnic.
With minimal effort, picnics let you pack up your favorite foods and a crisp bottle of bubbly and head outdoors to make the most of these warmer months.
The best part? No cooking required.
Here are easy picnic meal ideas you can throw together without breaking a sweat or turning on the oven.
A fancy charcuterie board will impress your picnic guests as they devour the fruits of your hassle-free labor.
A traditional spread of specialty salami and an assortment of cheese, you’ll find everything you need all at your local deli-counter or butcher shop.
Genoa, Sopresatta, and Proscuitto are the most popular and delicious charcuterie meats. Sweet or spicy, there are endless varieties of salami for all taste buds. The rich and robust flavors will add layers of sophistication to your paper plate meal.
Grab your favorite cheese, a loaf of fresh-baked bread, and your picnic is ready to go.
Dainty leafy greens don’t stand a chance in the hot summer sun. Save them for when you’re back in the AC.
Summer is the perfect season to mix up your boring salad routine with sturdy ingredients and hearty flavors. Use leftovers or pre-made ingredients to simplify your efforts.
Grains like farro, quinoa, or even chilled pasta make a great base. Mix with protein, like grilled chicken, beans, and your favorite produce, and marinate with a mayo-free dressing for a winning meal.
Speaking of produce, take advantage of the bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables in peak season during these warmer months.
Juicy ripe tomatoes paired with creamy fresh mozzarella become the classic Caprese salad. Or try tossing a summertime staple, watermelon with feta, thin-sliced red onion, mint, olive oil, and salt and cracked pepper for a thirst-quenching feast.
Simple flavors at their peak guarantee to refresh and satisfy any picnic crew.
The only thing worse than a wilted, wimpy salad? Soggy bread that leaves you a mess.
A sandwich shouldn’t leave you searching for a knife and fork.
Ditch your usual loaf and grab a hearty pita, naan bread, or a fresh baguette. These are built to soak up your sandwich fixings without falling apart.
Watching your summer bod?
Swap out the bread and wrap your ingredients in a giant collard leaf. Collards are the perfect low-carb stand-in for your traditional burrito wrap. They hold together better than your tired lettuce wrap and deliver a dose of vitamins to keep you energized for your outdoor adventure.
A picnic is the best way to embody the ease of summer freedom. Enjoying the warmer weather shouldn’t come with the stress of figuring out what to eat.
Take a break from all the meal planning and go with the flow for your next summer feast.
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Katie Brozen is a freelance food writer. She’s worked as a professional chef with Food Network celebrity chefs and has opened restaurants in NYC and Washington, DC.