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8 Dishes That Taste Best On A Picnic Blanket

To make this sandwich even healthier, substitute lettuce leaves for the bread. Credit: Copyright Carl Tremblay

To make this sandwich even healthier, substitute lettuce leaves for the bread. Credit: Copyright Carl Tremblay

Summer is on the horizon, so enjoy the short-sleeve weather and spend some time eating outside.

Yes, we’re talking  picnics. We’ve got eight recipes to help you fill your basket: They can be served cold, travel well and taste best eaten on a blanket under a nice shady tree. If spring showers keep you stuck indoors, just spread out a blanket on your family-room floor.

Tarragon Chicken Salad

This salad is great as a sandwich or on top of a green salad. If you don't like or don't have tarragon, substitute basil, cilantro or parsley. Credit: Copyright Carl Tremblay

This salad is great as a sandwich or on top of a green salad. If you don’t like or don’t have tarragon, substitute basil, cilantro or parsley. Credit: Copyright Carl Tremblay

No more ho-hum! We spice up our chicken salad with tarragon, Dijon mustard, celery and apples. This creamy, crunchy salad can be eaten by itself, used as a sandwich or pita filling, or scooped atop a green salad.

Greek Salad Kabobs

This could make a simple salad as well, but anything on a stick is more fun. Credit: Copyright Carl Tremblay

This could make a simple salad as well, but anything on a stick is more fun. Credit: Copyright Carl Tremblay

Of course these kabobs could be made as a simple salad, but eating food off a stick is so much more fun, especially for kids. Layer feta, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and black olives on a skewer for a snack or picnic appetizer. Each family member can personalize their own by adding whatever salad ingredients they like best. And, if you like, add some bell pepper.

Purple Cabbage Slaw

Cabbage is one of the most nutritious and delicious vegetables. Credit: Copyright Carl Tremblay

Cabbage is one of the most nutritious and delicious vegetables. Credit: Copyright Carl Tremblay

This bright purple slaw is super crunchy and tangy. It makes a great addition to sandwiches, tacos or burgers, but it’s just as good when eaten by itself as a side dish. The slaw gets even better the longer it sits, so make some for dinner the night before and plan to bring the leftovers on your picnic.

Lemony Hummus

This hummus dish can be used as an ingredient in another recipe or it can be eaten with some raw veggies and whole-grain crackers. Credit: Copyright Carl Tremblay

This hummus dish can be used as an ingredient in another recipe or it can be eaten with some raw veggies and whole-grain crackers. Credit: Copyright Carl Tremblay

Our Lemony Hummus is protein-packed and easy to make. Cut up some raw vegetables for dipping, and you have a great picnic snack. Hummus is super dynamic: It also goes great as a topping to crackers and pitas or on a sandwich.

Rainbow Sandwich

A lunch of rainbow sandwiches, made with vegetables and slaw, are best shared with friends. Credit: Copyright Carl Tremblay

A lunch of rainbow sandwiches, made with vegetables and slaw, are best shared with friends. Credit: Copyright Carl Tremblay

Here’s a sandwich that challenges everyone in your family to fill their own with as many healthy hues as possible. Pile on the color with everything from red peppers to green pesto to purple cabbage slaw. Then pack them up and take them along for colorful picnicking.

Corny Black Bean Salad

You can also use this salad as salsa and scoop it up with tortilla chips or pita bread. Credit: Copyright Carl Tremblay

You can also use this salad as salsa and scoop it up with tortilla chips or pita bread. Credit: Copyright Carl Tremblay

This salad is perfect for summertime, when corn is in season, but you can also use canned or frozen corn until corn is ready for harvesting. Serve it as a side, or use it as a salsa: just put it in a bowl and scoop it up with tortilla chips or pita bread.

Tasty Tabbouleh

Tabbouleh is originally form the mountains of Syria and Lebanon. Credit: Copyright Carl Tremblay

Tabbouleh is originally form the mountains of Syria and Lebanon. Credit: Copyright Carl Tremblay

Tabbouleh is a zippy Middle Eastern salad made from cracked wheat, tomatoes, cucumbers, parley and lemon juice. It’s served cold, which makes it a great food to take along for outdoor eating.

Beet-and-Carrot Slaw Wraps

Beet greens -- the leafy part of the beet plant -- are often discarded, but they're actually a delicious vegetable and add to the nutritional content of this recipe. Credit: Copyright Carl Tremblay

Beet greens — the leafy part of the beet plant — are often discarded, but they’re actually a delicious vegetable and add to the nutritional content of this recipe. Credit: Copyright Carl Tremblay

These whole-wheat tortilla wraps are filled with beets, carrots, apples and cheddar. Wraps are perfectly packable and a fun way to roll up a sandwich. Plus, the bright orange and pink colors of this wrap will match the spring flowers you’ll see during your picnic.

More from Zester Daily:

» 7 genius hacks for the perfect picnic
» A picnic in Paris
» British picnics: Romantic, grand or disastrous
» An in-flight picnic

Main photo: To make this sandwich even healthier, substitute lettuce leaves for the bread. Credit: Copyright Carl Tremblay



Zester Daily contributor ChopChop, The Fun Cooking Magazine for Families, was named 2013 publication of the year by the James Beard Foundation, is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. ChopChop founder Sally Sampson is the author and coauthor of 23 cookbooks, including "ChopChop: The Kids Guide to Cooking Real Food With Your Family," "The Olives Table" (with Chef Todd English), "The $50 Dinner Party" and "Souped Up!" Sampson is a member of the board of directors for Action for Healthy Kids, and a food day advisor to the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

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