If Virginia Willis’s lightened-up picnic menu doesn’t fit the bill for your holiday plans next week, take a look at what we’ve selected from the Recipe Finder database. Or mix and match on your own. All the foods travel well and can be made in advance.
Do you have recipes you’d like to share? Please do so in the comments below.
Walnut and Red Pepper Spread. Savory and sweet; this can be made up to a week in advance.
Dirty Rice. There’s a lot of flavor packed into this classic side dish, which can be made several days in advance.
Flank Steak Spirals With Spinach, Figs and Fontina (shown above). Slices are beautiful, and hold together well for serving. Pass the sauce for dipping.
Picnic Fruit Salad. Freeze some of the cut-up fruit separately; refrigerate the rest. Combining the two yields unexpected textures/consistency.
Guacamole Eggs. A perennial favorite goes green. Am I trying to one-up Tim Carman here? Yes.
Cold Cherry and Tomato Soup. This refreshing Catalan dish gets a nice bite from sherry vinegar; it’s adapted from a recipe by Jose Andres.
Poached Shrimp With Lime-Ginger-Corn Salad (pictured above). Pretty and summer-y, this dish can be put together at the last minute from components prepped two days in advance.
Peach and Coconut Macaroon Cake. From the great Elinor Klivans, a dessert that stays in its baking pan, so it’s perfectly portable.
Deviled Eggs. There’s a reason these are a picnic staple. They’re fun to eat, sort of like egg poppers, and so satisfyingly cool and creamy on a hot summer day. This recipe adds a jolt of rice vinegar and Tabasco.
Perfect Peach Pie. Peach season is here, which means it’s the perfect time to bake this lemon-accented, fruit-stuffed pie.
Stuffed Dates. Scale up the recipe with ingredients bought at Costco for a classy little appetizer.
German Potato Salad. This side, pleasantly potent with vinegar and onion, will only improve with age; a classic from Food section columnist David Hagedorn.
Sesame Noodle Salad (pictured at left). Satisfy the vegetarians in your group with this Asian-inspired dish that can be refrigerated for up to three days.
Salty Chocolate Nutella Thumbprints. The cookies can rest at room temperature as long as three days, but you’ll be lucky if they last that long, let alone through to when dessert is served at your picnic. The recipe’s from the women of Whisked!
Black-Eyed Pea Hummus. Traditional hummus is good, but it’s fun to play with other beans. This recipe’s from “The Chew” co-host Carla Hall. Grab a bag of tortilla chips — or veggie sticks, if you must — and call it an appetizer.
Grilled Pork Chops With Plum Salsa. The salsa goes together quickly, and the pork chops just get thrown on the grill. (I might brine them overnight.)
Antipasto Potato Salad. Bold flavors come from olives and feta, and we reinforce the pork entree with salami. Plus, no mayonnaise.
Caramel Apple Pie (pictured above). Yes, it’s an all-American cliche. But it’s also caramel. And it can be made a couple of days ahead of time.