A 6-Dish (Gluten-Free!) Picnic Menu Even Bread Lovers Will Adore

July 10, 2017

This summer, we're partnering with to share recipes that will help you hone nearly every skill in the book. (And Jet will have you covered with all the fresh and pantry goods you will need. Seriously, they have everything. Use the code Food52 at checkout for 20% off your first 2 orders.*) Over the past few weeks, we've shared tips to arm you for summertime grilling and to master the art of the block party—and there's more to come. On the docket today: your guide to a gluten-free picnic!

Alright: You've staked out a picnic spot on your phone's map before you leave. You've picked up a box of rosé ahead of time (stop your giggling right there, this tastes nothing like what you remember from college). You've got games, some portable speakers, and books. You're poised, you're ready, it's go time.

Don't stay at home—get out on the grass and bask in the sun! It might take you an hour on public transportation to get there, just a quick ride on your bike, or it may be a 5-minute walk. It will definitely feel like people have multiplied like gremlins across whatever patch of green you have access to, just like the public beach on opening day. So you better be ready to strategize on a location and hold on to your plot of land all day long—and that means you need to be prepared with sustenance.

Photo by James Ransom

But maybe your usual park food isn't going to cut it this time, and you've got several diets to please: A few people eat meat, but not red meat. There's a gluten-free contingent. Lots of vegetarians. No baguettes or brownies or steak salads will do. No sweat—you've got this.

Here's what to tote to the park, plus how to make it ahead of time and pack it up, too. (Or delegate to your friends if it's that kind of gathering!) It's all gluten-free, so nobody can protest. This also meaning no soggy sandwich bottoms, lots of vegetables, and a few sweets, too. Just don't forget a blanket!

The Menu

How to pack it: Pack your lettuce and fixings separately from your dressing, which can be made 3 days in advance (!). Pack extra cut veggies (carrots! radishes! blanched beans!) and other bits and bobs for dipping in the leftover dressing.

How to pack it: You can roast chicken anew or use leftovers for this salad, which marinates in a delicious lemony, mustardy, vinegary brine for a bit. Of it, our co-founder Amanda says:

I like a good mayonnaise-based chicken salad, but one with more candid flavors would be a great recipe to have around for when chicken salad and a glass of white wine feels like the perfect weekend lunch.

How to pack it: Potato salad is always, always a staple for outdoor dining, and this one actually won our Best Picnic Recipe contest! The community member who developed this recipe, Shannon, advises to break some of the spud skins so that the vinaigrette seeps into them, which gives creaminess to the whole salad when mixed together. (Mayo who?)

If you want, bring the walnuts and basil separately to add right as you serve—but it's not gonna break hearts if you do it before.

How to pack it: Tahini-roasted broccoli is delicious hot or cold, so it's great for an occasion like snacking in the park. You can roast it the day you're planning your picnic so it's warm to eat, or you can do so a day ahead of time, so that the creamy tahini and lemon juice gets lodged in the roasty florets and there are lots of pops of sesame and citrus.

How to pack it: Sautéed dates are a little unconventional, but you will quickly make converts of people. Dates become savory-sweet jewels, relaxing after a quick jumble in your oil-slicked pan. Sauté them right before you go—and then pack 'em in a thermos if you care that they're warm, or serve them room temperature or cold at the park. Pack toothpicks and flaky sea salt, and something to serve them in, so they can marinate in the oil as you go.

How to pack it: While you can eat the hazelnut cookies warm and gooey, I prefer them to be thick and cold for park munching. Make them ahead of time and store them in the fridge so they will taste like fudge. stocks thousands of grocery items and delivers to your door sans scheduling. They have all your pantry and home needs covered, and offer two-day delivery, free shipping on orders over $35, and are membership fee-free. (All of this? Makes us giddy.) We've used to get basics like chicken**, sherry vinegar, and more—so see what's on their (digital) shelves here, and use discount code Food52* at checkout for 20% off your first 2 orders.

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I love oysters and unfussy sandwiches.