Gourmet Picnic Recipes

Let's Have a Picnic

When the weather is fine, you may want some great gourmet picnic recipes to take your dining al fresco.

Gourmet Picnic Recipes

A traditional picnic for two often includes such rudimentary basics as cola, tuna sandwiches and chips. With new technology in food storage we can now make gourmet picnic recipes and store them either hot or cold. What follows is a simple menu meant to make the taste buds dance with joy while avoiding complex or time-consuming preparation.

For your picnic, you can create simple gourmet food to serve hot or cold. Imagine grilling up a lobster tail, then keeping it in a stay-warm heating bag or container for your special meal! No more soggy tuna sandwiches or pudding cups for you - the sky is the limit!


An appetizer should be simple to prepare but taste great! It should be light and refreshing because a heavier food will just fill you up and not allow room for the main course. This is why a good salad can be the perfect appetizer:Cucumber, Mustard and Dill Salad

  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, mild
  • 1 cucumber, large and seedless; peeled, cut in half then cut into 1/8th inch slices
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped


  1. Create a vinaigrette by first mixing together all the ingredients except cucumber, dill and oil.
  2. While whisking slowly drizzle in the oil until emulsified.
  3. Add cucumber and dill then toss to coat.

Side Dishes

Side dishes should pair well with your main course and not kill the flavors. There is a lot of room for you to be creative or simple. The following two appetizers will work superbly with the chosen main course.

Snow Peas and Carrots with Lemon Vinaigrette

  • 2 carrots
  • 1/2 cup fresh snow peas


  1. Peel, trim and julienne carrots and snow peas.
  2. Blanch carrots and snow peas.
  3. Toss with lemon vinaigrette (see below)

Lemon Vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Fresh black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme


  1. Gently combine ingredients but do not emulsify.

Bacon Wrapped Green Beans

  • 2 slices bacon
  • 10 fresh green beans; trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon butter; melted
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cook bacon until crisp but still remaining pliable.
  2. Steam green beans for 6 minutes or until just crisp then drain and toss with butter, salt and pepper.
  3. Wrap 5 beans with a slice of bacon.

Main Course

Your main course choices are usually fairly simple: fish, poultry or red meat. Alternately, you could serve a less traditional vegetarian main dish. Avoid pasta for picnics since if you store in a warming bag the pasta is likely to overcook. For hot entrees, be sure to cook your red meat and seafood until par done (meaning slightly done - in other words, if it says cook 10 minutes, cook 7). You do this to allow for waiting cook time because the meat, still hot, will continue to cook. When you place it inside a warming bag it will continue to heat; you don't your food masquerading as a piece of shoe leather.

Beef Tenderloin with Mushroom Stuffing

  • 2 8-ounce steaks; 1 1/2" thick
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Mushroom Stuffing

  • 3 ounces fresh mushrooms; finely chopped
  • 3 shallots; finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves; minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees with the oven racks centered.
  2. Saute mushrooms, shallots and garlic in oil over medium-high heat until liquid is evaporated. This will take about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and season with salt, pepper and thyme. Place to the side until needed for the next step.
  4. Slice a small pocket into the side of each steak.
  5. Using a tablespoon begin filling the steaks with the mushroom mixture until full but not so full that the filling is falling out.
  6. Secure the slit closed with a toothpick so that it pinches it shut.
  7. Season the meat with salt and pepper.
  8. Over medium-high heat sear the steaks 5-6 minutes on each side to seal in the flavor.
  9. Place the seared steaks in an oven-safe pan or on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes per side or less (or more) depending on how done you want them.


Arguably the most important part of the meal for a picnic -- the dessert -- should be simple and not require much assembling or fuss.

Fruit in White Wine Syrup

  • 1/2 cup seedless grapes
  • 1/2 cup cantaloupe, diced
  • 1/2 cup honeydew, diced
  • 1 apple, sliced
  • 1 Asian pear, sliced
  • 1/4 cup raspberries
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 cup sweet white wine


  1. Combine wine, honey, cinnamon and ginger in a saucepan and bring to boil and cook and until reduced by half.
  2. Add the fruits to the pot and cook until all are coated with the liquid and slightly tender.

Where to Find Other Recipes

Of course, the options for picnic recipes are limitless. Here are additional resources for many great picnic recipes.

  • Epicurious is one of the premiere websites that offers many recipe choices for all levels of cooking. They offer up prepared menus as well as meals for large groups of people. A definite must see for the gourmet at heart.
  • Cooks.com, like Epicurious, provides a database of recipes totaling in the thousands. Many of the recipes found here are provided by visitors to the website.
  • All Recipes certainly lives up to its name by providing a database full of recipes from thousands of people. There are many varieties of the same recipe and you can even get adjusted recipes depending on how many people you are serving.
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Gourmet Picnic Recipes