It’s officially the first day of spring, which means that an increase in sunshine and time spent outdoors is on the horizon. After spending a year indoors, we can all use a little extra vitamin D! In honor of the warm weather, we’ve rounded up four easy recipes from food bloggers that you can make and take along on a springtime picnic. Whether you’re treating yourself to some alone time at a park with a good book, or you’re planning a lunch date for two or a group gathering, here’s everything you need for your next al fresco meal — starting with an appetizer and ending with a sweet treat. Enjoy!
4 Recipes for Springtime Picnics or a Porch-Eating Meal!
Starter: Spring Herb Popcorn
Kick off your picnic with the perfect snack: popcorn. Susannah Brinkley Henry of Feast + West shares her recipe for spring herb popcorn, and while she typically uses fresh herbs from her garden, you can alter this recipe to fit your tastebuds. For example, if you’d rather indulge in movie theater-style popcorn, mix in salt and melted butter. Or, if you prefer your popcorn on the cheesier side, add grated parmesan or powdered cheese. Either way, this snack is the perfect accompaniment to your spring picnic menu.
Spring Herb Popcorn
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
- 2 cloves garlic pressed
- 2 sprigs fresh oregano or ½ tsp dried
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme or ½ tsp dried
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary or ½ tsp dried
- ½ cup popcorn kernels
- Sea salt
- Freshly cracked pepper
- In a medium saucepan, bring olive oil, garlic, oregano, thyme and rosemary to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring often. Cook until the mixture is fragrant and garlic has softened.
- Add popcorn kernels in a single layer and cover saucepan with a lid. When the popcorn begins to pop (after about 2-3 minutes), shake the pot over the heat for about 3 minutes, until popping slows. Remove from heat immediately and let cool for 1 minute.
- Over top, drizzle additional olive oil, sea salt and cracked pepper. Stir or toss popcorn with a wooden spoon to distribute the flavors. Serve.
Entrée: California Turkey Club Sandwich
Nothing says springtime picnic quite like a homemade sandwich. Thanks to Meredith Laurence of Blue Jean Chef, you can up your sandwich game with this California Turkey Club. The avocado spread is what gives this sandwich its California style, and the cooked turkey breast and sliced bacon are what make it truly stand out. (Note: this recipe requires a food processor, so you’ll want to prepare your sandwiches ahead of time.)
California Turkey Club Sandwich
- Food processor
- ½ ripe avocado
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp fresh dill
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 slices multigrain bread toasted
- 1-2 leaves green leaf lettuce
- 2 slices tomato
- 2 slices green bell pepper
- 2 oz sliced Havarti cheese
- 4 oz cooked turkey breast sliced
- 2 slices turkey bacon cooked
- ¼ cup alfalfa sprouts
- Using a food processor, purée the avocado, lemon juice, fresh dill and cayenne pepper until smooth. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
- Spread the avocado mixture on both sides of the toasted bread. Build the sandwich by layering lettuce, tomato, green peppers, cheese, turkey breast and turkey bacon. Season with a little freshly ground black pepper. Top with alfalfa sprouts and the second slice of bread.
- Secure with toothpicks, cut in half and dig in.
Beverage: Spring Punch
Don’t forget to bring along something to sip on! Mindy Jaffar shares her recipe for the best spring punch, which calls for passionfruit tea and raspberry or strawberry lemonade — the epitome of warm-weather flavors. While Mindy’s recipe is non-alcoholic, she says one shot of vodka can turn this punch into a delicious cocktail. If you’ve ever had a Starbucks Refresher, this may taste a little familiar …
Best Spring Punch
- 1 box Tazo passionfruit tea
- ½ bottle raspberry or strawberry lemonade
- 2 tbsp organic honey
- Mix all three ingredients in a carafe or large pitcher and serve over ice. Garnish with a lemon slice or a few raspberries on top.
Dessert: Lemon and Blueberry Cupcakes
To round out your meal, we turn to Jane Ko of A Taste of Koko, whose lemon and blueberry cupcakes make for the perfect portable dessert. Warm weather calls for juicy blueberries, but it’s the berry and lemon combination that makes this dessert so divine. While Jane’s recipe doesn’t include toppings, she suggests adding a dollop of buttercream or cream cheese frosting for extra sweetness. Bake these the night before your picnic, and pack a few in your basket before you head out the door.
Lemon & Blueberry Cupcakes
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour divided
- ¾ cup cake flour
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 8 tbsp unsalted butter softened
- ¾ cup sugar plus an additional 2 tbsp sugar
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- ½ cup organic milk at room temperature
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- Preheat your oven to 350F and line your cupcake pan with paper or foil liners.
- Combine all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Sift and whisk to blend.
- Beat butter, sugar and lemon zest until fluffy in a mixer.
- Beat in one egg at a time. Include vanilla extract and lemon juice.
- Using the mixer on low speed, pour in half the dry ingredients and half the milk (or vice versa) until all the ingredients are incorporated. Do not overmix!
- Toss fresh blueberries in a couple of tablespoons of flour and fold into batter.
- Pour batter evenly into cupcake liners to about 3/4 full.
- Bake for about 20 minutes at 350F.
Find even more delicious recipes in our archives.