Skip to content
Inside Beat

Bring in spring with these easy-to-make, vegan picnic recipes

Gather up a few of your closest friends and prepare these easy but delicious dishes for your next picnic! – Photo by Mason Dahl / Unsplash

As we find ourselves in the middle of April, the weather's getting warmer, and the sun has taken residence in blue skies. Honestly, I've been wondering where all the famous "April showers" are.

In this idyllic weather, you might consider picking up a wicker basket and a red gingham blanket and having a picturesque picnic.

But before you can set off to Voorhees Mall on the College Avenue campus to stretch out in the shade, you have to make sure you have some delicious dishes packed. We're college students, so I understand a lot of my readers won't have expert cooking skills or a budget to go all out.

So here are some simple picnic recipes that my friends and I will be snacking on this spring. And as a plus, they're all vegan!

Cucumber and radish salad

This is one of my favorite healthy but tasty recipes to make. It's also wonderfully fresh and requires zero cooking. To make it, slice up a cucumber (try to keep them pretty thin) and six to eight radishes, depending on their size. I also like to add a bit of green onion as it gives a nice layer to the flavors, so add two to three stalks.

Put those in a bowl or Tupperware container, depending on what you're packing for the picnic, and sprinkle it with some olive oil and lemon juice (fresh or bottled is fine). Add some chopped dill, which will give the cucumbers a pickle taste, and salt and pepper to taste. I also like to add a little oregano and basil, but sometimes, the key to these dishes is simplicity.


Bruschetta is my all-time favorite appetizer and one of the first dishes I have ever learned how to make. It’s also extremely simple and sure to impress at the same time.

To make bruschetta, dice some tomatoes, either a container of cherry tomatoes or at least four Roma tomatoes. Most recipes don't recommend strawberries, but I think they add a fresh and sweet flavor that's perfect for spring. Mix them together with at least a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and olive oil each, then sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.

Basil is vital for this recipe, and though it doesn't have to be fresh, it adds so much more to the dish if you chop up some basil leaves. And you can't forget garlic, but in my opinion, whether you mince two cloves or just use a tablespoon of jarred, it's equally tasty.

You can add and subtract whichever ingredients, based on your tastes and cooking experience (I usually use a lot more olive oil and balsamic vinegar than is recommended).

You should then cover the bowl in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and put it in the fridge for at least an hour. For the bread, just slice and toast a baguette in a little olive oil or buy the prepared baguette slices at the supermarket.

Squash, zucchini and tomato pasta salad

What's a picnic without a handy dandy pasta salad? For this one, boil your favorite pasta (I prefer penne) and drain it, setting it aside. Chop up one yellow squash, one zucchini and a whole tomato — you can also add some onions if you feel like it. Sauté the vegetables in minced garlic, olive oil and red chili pepper flakes until they soften.

You can season the vegetables any way you like, but if you're a beginner chef, I'd recommend some thyme, oregano, chopped bay leaves and, of course, salt. You also can't go wrong by drizzling a little lemon juice and balsamic vinegar.

To check if the veggies are fully done, do a little taste test, and if the seasoning is right and the texture is soft but firm, you're done! After you finish with the veggies, toss the pasta in red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Then mix the vegetables in with the pasta and either put the salad in the fridge to eat cold or pack it straight in the basket to have warm.

Fruit salad

I know what you're probably thinking, and I completely understand. Fruit salads are overdone and almost childish when it comes to skill level. But they're a picnic staple for a reason because they're nutritious, delicious and super easy to dress up.

You can use pretty much any combination of fruit with enough imagination and creativity, but if you're looking for options, try my recipe.

Chop up some pineapples, strawberries, raspberries and mangos and put them in a container. You can slice up some mint or just use dried if that's easier for you and add that in with a little basil.

You can always drizzle honey in, but I prefer agave sweetener, which has the benefit of being vegan. But if you're not vegan, honey is cheaper. Then squeeze some fresh limes, or use lime juice and stir together. If it's not sweet enough, add sugar until you're satisfied.

The best part about these recipes is that they're simple enough to add or scale back on whatever ingredients you want. They're also designed to serve two to three people, so multiply or divide depending on how many people are eating.

If you're looking for the perfect picnic spot, you can’t go wrong with the field surrounding Passion Puddle on Douglass campus or Voorhees Mall on the College Avenue campus. With these dishes and a cold, icy glass of lemonade, you really can’t go wrong. Happy picnicking!

Related Articles

Join our newsletterSubscribe