We all watch with baited breath as the temperatures start to rise come March. When Al Roker gets on TV to tell us about "above average temperatures," our hopes for a day when eating outside is not just a staunch rebellion of the cold are renewed. There are few better ways to celebrate the mercury rising than with a well-prepared meal eaten outside. But waking up early on a Wednesday morning just to make the perfect picnic recipe seems a little overboard. So instead, we’ve rounded up six recipes that are easily made the night before (keyword being easily) and would quickly brighten up any picnic lunch day, whether it’s an hour taken out of the workday or a weekend picnic with friends.
Classic picnic dishes, like this egg salad sandwich, are fun to make at home the night before a picnic and something delicious and light to eat under the midday sun. And feel free to ramp up the classics — instead of just making roast chicken sandwiches, throw some spice in there with this chicken tikka salad. With dishes like these, everyone else at the picnic will wish they’d made what you did.
Picnics inspire healthy eats, so something like this nutty quinoa tabouleh with tomatoes, cucumber, and mint would make the perfect addition to a picnic spread or workday picnic lunch. Then, there is pasta, which always seems like a treat in the middle of a workday, so why not make it the night before and let lunch feel a little extra indulgent? This simple pasta recipe has pecorino cheese, tomatoes, and parsley, and relies on the naturally delicious flavors of high-quality, fresh pasta.
So, the question remains…what will you pack for the first, illustrious outdoor lunch of the year?
My mom taught me this one years ago when she first served it to our family for a holiday brunch. Ever since then, these asparagus roll-ups have been on my "top-picks" list. — Megan Watson
I always crave salads that are main courses in their own right, have all the textures of a meal but on one plate, and are so much lighter than a full meal. This is one of those salads. — Anjum Anand
This spin on the classic Middle Eastern salad, "tabouleh," swaps traditionally used bulgur wheat (which you could also use) for nutritional, superstar quinoa. — Erika Lenkert
This simple egg salad recipe makes a hearty and delicious side dish that's great for picnics or backyard barbecues. — Toni Patrick
Fresh, silky noodles topped with quartered tomatoes, nutty and creamy pecorino cheese, and chopped parsley. Add a little olive oil and you're in business. Great for a weeknight meal or when you don't really feel like doing much at all. — Yasmin Fahr
Here, the beloved grilled cheese sandwich takes on a gourmet twist. The secret ingredient: garlic confit! — Viviane Bauquet Farre