Picnic Perfect

May 1, 2013


I just loooove a picnic!! When we first graduated from college, we used to go to Pops at the Park every Sunday in June in Charlotte. Matt and I had PB&J and a mini bottle of wine and those around us had elaborate spreads with multiple courses, cheese platters, sheet cakes and 10 bottles of wine. We were so jealous. Eventually we were able to get a few friends to join in on the fun!

I have YET to convince my group of friends (there or here) that we should have a regular pot-luck picnic spread. I guess it’s kind of a lot of work, but it’s SO MUCH FUN! Matt and I hope to picnic night all summer long this year.

The key to a fun picnic is the prepared salad. I often make this the night before or in the morning and then take it out of the fridge when we’re ready to go. Beans, veggies, dressings, cooked whole grains, crumbled cheeses – the mix and match options are endless.



With summertime on the horizon, here are some of my favorite prepared salads to take on a picnic – with a new recipe below!

Greek Millet Salad

Deviled Eggs

Orangey Bean Salad

Summer Pasta Salad

Smoky Maple Lentil Salad

“Know Your Roots” Salad

Feta Millet Salad

Roasted Tofu Potato Salad

Strawberry Basil Pasta Salad

Radicchio + Wheatberry Salad

Super Salmon Salad

Spiced Millet Salad

Vegetable Pasta Salad

Lemon Caper Chickpea Salad

Greek Quinoa Salad

Asian Millet Salad


And here’s a new one for you:

Moroccan Millet + Lentil Salad


  • 1 cup of dry brown lentils, cooked according to package (I used my rice cooker)
  • 1 cup of dry millet, cooked (again, rice cooker saved the day!)
  • 1 cup chopped bell peppers
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins, hydrated in hot water
  • 1/4 cup chopped salted, roasted almonds
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, chopped
  • 2 tbsp garlic gold oil or olive oil with a minced garlic clove (cooked a bit if you don’t want bad breath!)
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste – it’s hot)

Once millet and lentils are cooked, mix all together!

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Served with a kale salad at Fridays After Five –



Happy Picnicking!

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{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ali @ Peaches and Football May 1, 2013 at 8:05 am

I love picnics too!! They don’t have big ones like this around here though – what a riot! I agree that the food is key. You want easy foods that aren’t too messy or hard to eat from your lap, although really anything works as long as you have napkins and paper plates. :)


2 Paige @ Your Trainer Paige May 1, 2013 at 8:07 am

I so agree! I love picnic-ing! My aunt and uncle live in FL by the beach, and every Wednesday night, they and their friends all bring a dish and a drink, set up a few tables and a fire on the beach, and just picnic it up! It’s so much fun.


3 Alyssa @ Road to RD May 1, 2013 at 8:11 am

I love picnics! I haven’t had one in so long!


4 Sally May 1, 2013 at 8:15 am

That salad looks delish! Hoping to make it to C’ville for a least a few Friday’s After Five events this summer!


5 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats May 1, 2013 at 8:28 am

These are great ideas for my chicago blogger book club too since we do it potluck style!


6 Nina @ Too Hottie For That Body May 1, 2013 at 8:37 am

I LOVE this post! It is so up my alley. We had a span of a few days that were gorgeous and so we had all of our meals picnic style and we played outside all day long. It’s snowing now and I’m back to huddling by the fire eating my oatmeal. This post give me hope 😉


7 Marisa @ Uproot from Oregon May 1, 2013 at 8:40 am

Wow, those salads!! Thank you for all the inspiration for the coming picnics this summer! My new apartment is two blocks from a park in Denver so I’m looking forward to it!


8 [email protected] May 1, 2013 at 8:44 am

Oh YUM! Fridays after Five is such a fun concept! My town in Texas does Summer Sounds on Fridays, but for some reason they wait until the middle of Summer when it’s hot as heck! 😛


9 Jane @ Not Plain So Jane May 1, 2013 at 8:49 am

All of your posts totally sell Charlotesville as the perfect place to live! Picnics are a lot of fun, they remind me of summer concerts!


10 Carly @ Snack Therapy May 1, 2013 at 8:58 am

I want to go on a picnic! I haven’t been on one in years, but it’s suddenly sounding so nice!


11 Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) May 1, 2013 at 8:59 am

I can’t wait for picnic weather here! It seems to be constantly rainy or overcast with a fear of rain here in Atlanta. Definitely doing a lot of picnics soon though.


12 Sarah May 1, 2013 at 9:03 am

Super random but I had a dream last night that I was going to work for you and Matt at your new (and 2nd.) GH bakery that was opening soon, but I missed employee orientation because I had to close the night prior at my store.
I blame the dream on having closed my store last night and it being all of a sudden busy the last hour before close, and the 2-6 inches of snow were supposed to get here in MN. (I’m dreaming of moving somewhere warm)


13 KathEats May 1, 2013 at 10:47 am



14 Lisa May 1, 2013 at 9:09 am

Aren’t picnics the best? One of my favorite things to do on a bright spring day.


15 Elise @ Expeditions of Elise May 1, 2013 at 9:12 am

Picnics are great! Definitely one of the things I try to do throughout the spring and summer. It’s also a fun challenge to come up with creative picnic-friendly recipes.


16 Claire @ Live and Love to Eat May 1, 2013 at 9:17 am

I love cold grain salads – thanks for all the recipe ideas!


17 Susan H @ The Food Allergy Chronicles May 1, 2013 at 9:28 am

Oh yummy…I just love salads…perfect picnic foods. :) Also great for bringing up to the cottage to feed a crowd. Thank you for all the links! :)


18 Melissa May 1, 2013 at 10:10 am

Um, so glad you are talking about picnics, sharing your Charlottesville spring, and Arizona’s beautiful sun – as it is May 1st and here in Minnapolis we have a winter storm warning of 4-8″ of snow !? This is the day the Lord has made – let us rejoice and be glad!!! 😉


19 [email protected] May 1, 2013 at 10:19 am

Totally pinning this gorgeous salad! :)


20 Tine May 1, 2013 at 10:20 am

I love this post! I was looking for tasty summer salad recipes and now I have a bunch of great recipes! Thanks! :)


21 Jordan @ Eat for Health, Eat for Fun May 1, 2013 at 10:32 am

So many great picnic recipes just in time for all this nice weather! :)


22 Caroline May 1, 2013 at 10:38 am

Great post! Thanks!


23 Hayley @ Running on Pumpkin May 1, 2013 at 10:46 am

Picnics are one of my favorite things about warm weather! Definitely will be trying a few of these salads this summer!


24 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More May 1, 2013 at 11:07 am

I’d GLADLY go picnic-ing! It’s so fun! When visiting Boston last summer, my best friend and I went to the grocery store, bought veggies, hummus and crackers and went to the park for a picnic. It was awesome!


25 rosie May 1, 2013 at 11:39 am

I can be convinced!! :)

I’m all about a picnic at a winery on a nice afternoon (or evening — King Family has “First Wednesday” where they’re open until 8 the first Weds of the month, and also Carter’s Mountain Thursday night sunset series starts May 23).


26 Kaila @healthyhelperblog! May 1, 2013 at 12:16 pm

What a great mix of flavors! Love the sweet and savory mix! Definitely putting that in my summer recipe arsenal! :)


27 Sydney May 1, 2013 at 12:38 pm

I am getting so excited for summer and all that it brings, especially picnics! Can’t wait to try your new recipe out as well. I need some new salad ideas and this looks fabulous!


28 Rachel May 1, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Great salad ideas! Thank you. I’ve never made millet, I’ll have to give it a shot.


29 Grace May 1, 2013 at 1:42 pm

I LOVE this post! I love cold summer salads just about the best of any food genre so I’m really excited a have a whole slew of them right at my fingertips. Thank you!


30 Crystal @ Simply Playful Fare May 1, 2013 at 1:59 pm

All of these salads sound awesome! Montana can’t decide what season it’s in, but once it stops snowing, I’ll need to give some of these a try. The roasted tofu potato salad and strawberry basil pasta salad sound especially delicious!


31 Sheila Viers May 1, 2013 at 2:16 pm

I LOVE salads too in the summer, especially for a picnic with friends… which is what led to me putting together a list of faves like you did. Here’s a few more ideas (72!) if you are interested in checking them out: http://livewell360.com/2012/08/72-awesome-salad-recipes/


32 Deb @ Dietitian Debbie Dishes May 1, 2013 at 4:12 pm

I will definitely be bookmarking this list for salads this summer! It is finally starting to feel like spring here in Chicago – makes me want to go on a picnic too!


33 Irina May 1, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Thank you for some great ideas for the salads! I love lentils in salads as well – they are so sturdy and stand up very well to being stored and transported. I am wondering, though, what makes the Moroccan lentil salad actually “Moroccan”? I think i would also add roasted carrots and more spices :) – may be ras el hanout or cumin and ground coriander? thanks again :)


34 saundra May 1, 2013 at 11:26 pm

Hi! I’m tapping on the links to the salad recipes and the page is blank. Can you help? Thanks :)


35 KathEats May 2, 2013 at 6:25 am

Hmmm….all of them? They use Recipage so might you be using an older browser? I’m not quite sure otherwise


36 Debs May 2, 2013 at 4:50 am

I have not been on a picnic is such a long time. I think i remember my husband trying to wooo me with one years ago but nothing like your pictures lol.


37 Kristen @ Change of Pace May 2, 2013 at 5:53 am

So many great recipes! Bring on the summer!!!


38 Neil Butterfield May 2, 2013 at 8:19 am

Wow! That’s an extensive list of salads. I must get my wife to check them out. She is always keen to try out new recipes and dishes.


39 lee May 2, 2013 at 11:47 am

Picnics are so wonderful – definitely worth the small amount of prep work! We did one last Fourth of July (with drinks and snacks and desserts), and people all around us were commenting about it being “such a neat idea” – as if it was a novelty. That made me a little sad, because picnics have always been such a delightful experience for me.

Thanks for all the salad ideas!


40 Shaun May 2, 2013 at 10:58 pm

Picnics never turn out like they do in the movies, especially in Oklahoma where the wind comes sweeping down the plains. But I wont give up on it!


41 Sabrina @ Living, Learning, Eating May 4, 2013 at 6:32 am

I love that it’s picnic weather now!! I hope the blistering heat stays away for a while. Or all summer??


42 Jenny May 5, 2013 at 4:15 pm

Picnics are my favorite. Even when it’s cold outside, I do indoor picnics. So much fun.


43 Melissa French, The More With Less Mom June 3, 2015 at 2:06 pm

I have included this in my Offbeat Holidays – June Bucket List post. International Picnic Day is June 18. Thanks for sharing!


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