Vegan picnic foods for your spring adventures

The warm and windy days of spring are the perfect setting for a picnic. Whether you’re heading to a local park, setting up a spot by the side of your favorite hiking trail, or laying down a blanket in the backyard, stepping out to dine al fresco is a dreamy way to spend a spring afternoon.

Luckily, it’s easy to make your picnic a low-impact affair. No need for plastic forks or disposable napkins. Instead, plan a picnic filled with zero-waste catering products and, of course, delicious vegan snacks and drinks. Here’s everything you need for a vegan spring picnic.

Picnic Essentials

Before you start making bites and mixing homemade lemonade, make sure your picnic basket is fully stocked with durable dishes. You don’t want to ruin a nice picnic with plastic utensils, single-use wrappers, or paper napkins.

Used Picnic Basket

If you don’t have a picnic basket yet, check out your local thrift stores or ask friends and family to borrow their picnic baskets. If you decide to buy a new basket, look for options that are ethically made and handcrafted by well-paid artisans. No picnic basket? Instead, pack a few old lunch boxes or your cooler.

Reusable utensils

Be sure to pack your basket with enough silverware, reusable straws, and durable cups, plates, and bowls for each person attending the picnic. At the end of the picnic, simply pack up all the items and take them home to wash, rather than throwing away disposable items that are destined to spend ages in a landfill.

Cloth napkins

Paper napkins spoil the whole aesthetic of the picnic. Opt for chic cloth napkins instead. Paper towels and paper napkins aren’t just wasteful; they also contribute to deforestation and release chemicals into the environment as they degrade. Plus, just cloth napkins watch nicer!

Picnic tablecloth

The most eco-friendly picnic blanket is one you already own. Grab an old flat sheet or large blanket for your picnic. If you plan on having a lot of picnics, consider investing in a picnic blanket made ethically from natural materials.

Vegan picnic foods

Now that your picnic essentials are sorted, it’s time to plan the most exciting part: the menu! Finger foods are key to a successful picnic, and you’ll also want to bring some refreshing drinks to sip in the sun.

Charcuterie Board

A board full of meats and cheeses is hardly vegan, but these popular pastured boards are easy to make plant-based with veggie-friendly alternatives. Add your favorite slices of plant-based meat and cheese, plus lots of grapes, berries, olives, baby carrots, celery, and other fresh produce. Add crackers, baguette slices and nuts to complete the platter.

Reels

Pinwheels are a fun addition to any picnic, and they pack a lot of flavor into every bite. Plus, they’re incredibly easy to make. Sun-dried tomato and basil are a classic flavor combination, and this recipe from Minimalist Baker only takes 15 minutes to prepare. These windmills from Delightful Adventures are another great option and are full of colorful veggies that will brighten up your spread. You can also customize your windmills to your liking: use hummus, vegan cream cheese or your favorite vegetable dip or sauce and any assortment of vegetables and herbs.

Sandwiches

The portability of the sandwiches makes them a must-have for any picnic. Of course, you can opt for classic options like peanut butter and jelly, or feel free to pile on your favorite veggies and sauces. Try making this vegan egg salad recipe from It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken or a vegan tuna salad from The Simple Veganista. To really upgrade your sandwiches, cut them into smaller pieces to turn them into finger foods for adults and kids.

Potato and pasta salads

No outdoor feast is complete without potato and pasta salads, but many of these dishes are made with eggs and dairy. There are, however, delicious vegan recipes for potato and pasta salads. This Potato Salad from Veganuary features an oil, vinegar and mustard vinaigrette and is tossed with radishes, capers, chives, spring onions and pickles for lots of bright and energetic flavors . For pasta salad, try this vegetarian option from Food With Feeling.

Desserts

Arguably the best part of any picnic is the dessert options, so don’t skimp here. If you want to keep it simple, try making a simple fruit salad or parfaits with dairy-free yogurt, granola, and fruit.

If you’re craving even more sweets, bake a batch of these fudgy vegan brownies from BBC Good Food. Another classic, these vegan chocolate chip cookies from Chocolate Covered Katie only take 11 minutes to make and will be a hit even for non-vegan picnic attendees. For a zesty taste of spring, try these lemon bars from I Love Vegan.

Beverages

Spending an hour or two in the sun is fine, but it’s important to stay hydrated. Consider bringing a resealable drink container with other tasty drinks. Watermelon juice, like this one from 40 Aprons, is just the right amount of sweetness, and this homemade lemonade will pair perfectly with lemon bars. No time to mix drinks? Keep your reusable water bottle handy to refill it with water and maybe grab a bottle of your favorite wine.

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