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7 Foods To Pack For A Picnic

We only get about 100 days of summer, so we want to make each one count and spend as much time outside as we can. That includes mealtimes. Going for a picnic makes any meal an adventure, but you have to do it right and you have to do it safely. Here are 7 foods to pack for a picnic.


Muffuletta is a dressed-up Italian sandwich. It originated in New Orleans, but its creators were Sicilian immigrants. It's packed with salted, cured meats and provolone cheese. What makes it special is the muffuletta bread and the olive salad topping. The sandwich has no mayonnaise, so it travels well without refrigeration. That means you have plenty of time to set up your food on your portable picnic table without your sandwiches spoiling.

Ham & Swiss Sliders

Much like the muffuletta, mustard is used to dress ham and Swiss sliders instead of mayonnaise to keep it safe from bacteria that grows quickly in the heat. To make the dressing really stand out, mix 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard with 1 teaspoon melted butter and a 1/4-teaspoon Worcestershire sauce. Slather both sides of Hawaiian sweet rolls, and then layer the ham and cheese for a sandwich to please all your picnic guests.

Pasta Salad

Most cookbooks have simple pasta salads that are easy to throw together: cold fusilli tossed with a few tomatoes, sliced red onions, cucumbers and bell peppers, and dressed with olive oil and red wine vinegar, a pinch of sugar, and some salt and pepper to taste. The combination makes a simple, tasty side that can handle a little bit of heat once you take it out of the cooler. The acid from the vinegar is a preservative and in the summer sun, it helps to keep the pasta salad fresh for a couple of hours.

Eggplant Caponata

Eggplant is only in season during the warm summer months, so take it along on your picnic as eggplant caponata. It's an easy make-ahead side dish that only requires a little bit of sauteing and other fresh vegetables that don't spoil quickly. Check out the recipe from Epicurious to make your picnic magical.

Cucumber Salad

Cucumber salad comes in many forms, so there's bound to be a recipe you'll enjoy at your picnic. As long as the recipe you choose doesn't call for dairy, like yogurt or sour cream, it should do well at a picnic. Try it with watermelon chunks and fresh basil for something out of the ordinary.

Hummus/Bean Dip

Hummus and bean dips require little more than a whirr in the blender with salt and some olive oil (tahini for hummus). They don't spoil very quickly, so they're perfect traveling appetizers or snacks. Eat them with fresh carrots or grape tomatoes for a healthy bite or serve them with chips for some crunch.

Cheese & Crackers

Though cheese is dairy and dairy spoils quickly, hard cheeses are great for picnics. Cheese is best served at room temperature; this means soft cheeses can be taken on picnics, but it takes less time for them to get to room temperature. They should be thrown out if they've been at room temperature for four hours or more. Hard cheeses can be left at room temperature a bit longer, and they're less affected by heat.

The Lakeside Collection has ideas and gadgets for all your outdoor summer entertaining. From burgers on the grill to campfire cooking, shop Lakeside to make every summer meal memorable.