The best summer picnic recipes - perfect for any veg

Park picnics are now a thing more than ever, but rather than pick up a bag-load of plastic-wrapped picnic food from the shop, try a low-waste approach and make a quick dish using whatever fruit or veg you’ve got in your box this week. Here are some flexible picnic ideas designed for sharing. 


These pretty, rough-and-ready tarts are adaptable to both sweet fruity desserts and a savoury picnic centrepiece. You can make the pastry ahead and freeze it to roll it out when you need it – simply defrost, roll it out, top with your chosen filling and roughly fold the pastry around it. 

Roasted vegetables with garlic, herbs and a crumbling of whatever cheese you have in the fridge works well. Finely sliced raw beetroot with goat’s cheese is a winner as is shaved courgette with lemon. Try BBC Good Food’s spelt and hazelnut galette pastry, and fill it with whatever combination of veggies you have. Alternatively, make the pastry sweet with this recipe and top with juicy summer stone fruit.


Not only do these layered salads look the part, they’re easy to transport too. Make a peanut butter dressing and divide between your jars, then top with layers of grains; followed by crunchy veggies, such as carrots, beets, cucumbers or radishes, topped with green leaves, like kale or lettuce. Once you get to the park or beach, give them a shake and they’re ready to eat.


Spiralize your vegetables into spaghetti-like lengths. Squash and beetroot, parsnip and sweet potato all work well here, as do courgettes and carrots. Dress your veg noodles in a lemony olive oil dressing before you get to the park to help tenderise them. You can also use a vegetable peeler if you don’t have a spiraliser.


Meera Sodha’s delicious Indian spiced salad champions chargrilled veggies, including corn, courgettes, tenderstem broccoli and onions. Use the same method with whatever veggies you get this week ready to pack up for a park picnic. 


This mayo-based slaw is a perfect one for the park because it only gets better with age. Shred whatever root vegetables you have, from cabbage to carrots, beetroots to radishes, then toss through with a creamy mayo and buttermilk dressing and leave to marinate overnight or at least an hour before eating. Make it more interesting by adding chopped toasted nuts or fresh herbs. 


Got leftover pasta? Why not make it into a pasta frittata. Italian chef, Gennaro Contaldo, has a great four-way recipe using leftover pasta. You can also throw in cooked veggies to the mix – roasted squash, tomatoes or red peppers, a handful of peas, or some chopped greens. It transports really well too, and can be eaten hot or cold. 


Team chopped fresh fruit, like strawberries, peaches and apples, and a few mint leaves with a good splash of Pimm’s and a sprinkling of sugar for a Wimbledon-esque summer dessert. If you’re avoiding booze, a good pour of elderflower cordial is a delicious mixer with fresh fruit. Pack a batch in a large Kilner-type jar and bring to the park.

Oddbox Fruit and Vegetable box