I am kind of a terrible eater. You know how you see those plates that show proportions of how much of everything you should be eating? One quarter of my plate should contain lean protein; 50%, low starch vegetables, etc. That’s not how we eat here. We rarely have a main and sides. I usually just make something that contains all the different food groups and hope that, if I were to split them up on separate sections of the plate, that we’d pretty much hit our marks.
I’m in awe of folks whose dinner menus–not even party dinner, mind you; just Regular Old Dinner–read like a novel. Our dinner menus read like a tweet.
In spite of our daily plates of One Thing, I actually do know how to make a side dish. It’s just that often those sides take up our whole plate. Still, if you only serve a big spoonful, they can remain side dishes. I thought I’d share some of my favorites here with you,along with some lovely offerings from around the Hinternets. A few of mine are tried-and-true, always-make-it-this-way standards. Others I threw together, found that it tasted delicious, and then wrote it down.
Either way, I hope you’ll find this round up of easy picnic side dishes a useful resource when it comes to deciding what to bring to the annual neighborhood pool party or the church potluck or your holiday picnic. Picnic sides should be easy to make. They should be bursting with bright flavors. They should be easy to serve–a scoop or a big old spoon should be all you need. All these dishes fit the bill, so enjoy, and thanks for stopping in today!
Easy Picnic Side Dishes
Mom-Style Macaroni Salad is my hands down favorite. You probably make a similar version, honestly. But this is the way I like to make it. It’s the way my mom always made it, and as much as I like to change things up and rarely eat the same thing twice, this macaroni salad is sacrosanct. Try it once and see if you don’t think the same.
I originally served Citrus-Scented Quinoa with Tuna warm, but it would work nicely as a cold salad. You have two options for this: make it as is and then refrigerate before eating or cook the quinoa, add diced vegetables and douse the whole deal with a nice, citrusy vinaigrette. Either way, I think you’ll really like this one.
Marinated Vegetables are really quick, no-cook pickles. They aren’t suitable for canning, but they are certainly suitable for stuffing in your face at a picnic. You can either eat these alone or drain them, chop them up and add them as a layer in a pressed sandwich or as a veggie element in a pasta salad.
Curried Potato Salad is but one of the many ways I’ve made potato salad. I pretty much have never met a potato salad I didn’t really love, and this one is delightful. It speaks to me of India, even though it is probably about as far from traditional Indian cooking as you can get. Still, India was my inspiration.
I made Red Potato Salad with Bacon for our Fourth of July cook out a couple of years ago. Good stuff! And you also get “bonus recipes” for grilled corn and caramelized onion burgers. So there’s that. Plus–this post is brimming with good stuff–my interview with the farmer who raised the beef for our burgers as well as the pigs for our bacon.
Pasta Salad with Lentils, Chickpeas and Goat Cheese. I’m pretty sure I don’t have to say anything else. Totally delicious and packed with protein (and yes, plenty of carbs, too).
Easy Picnic Side Dishes from Around the Hinternets
Here’s a gorgeous Black Rice Salad with Mangoes and Peaches from Food Done Light. I’m kind of in love with how it looks and with all the juicy goodness the mangoes and peaches promise. And with the Asian flavors.
This Kale Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette from Try Anything Once is easily scalable. Take the vinaigrette in a separate container and then toss everything together when it’s picnic time!
This gorgeous Herbed Tomato Salad from Chez Us is a love song to heirloom tomatoes. Make it with whatever tomatoes are in season at your place. The dressing is sharp with lime and vinegar and brimming with herbs–a lovely counterpoint to the ripe, juicy tomatoes.
Roasted Tomato, Feta and Rocket (Arugula) Quiche is perfect for a picnic. Make a large one or some individual ones the day before then pack them up for your picnic. Totally acceptable to eat them with your hands, too. Easy picnic deliciousness from Life’s a Feast.
Lemon Lentil Salad from The Fresh Method–wow, this is a good one. There’s a hint of Middle Easter flavor in the otherwise straightforward vinaigrette while dried fruit and capers lend the occasional sweet or sharp counterpoint to the otherwise mellow lentils.
And there you have it friends. If you’d like to add to the Easy Picnic Side Dishes bounty, please tell me your favorites in the comments. Links are fine, too!
Thanks so much for spending some time here today. I hope you’re leaving with some good ideas.
Have a lovely day.