With the sun shining bright and warm weather approaching, one of my favorite summer pastimes is a good old-fashioned picnic outdoors! And, one thing I’ve always advocated for is that you can make your dining experience customizable to whatever you want it to be.
Choose a theme and design around it or have everyone bring something special and enjoy a potluck. I personally love making mine an upgraded experience with a 3-course meal, because even if I’m outdoors I can still enjoy myself with amazing food, music, and a few simple decorations.
The first step to making your own picnic is to set the scene. This is where I style according to a theme if I have one with a few simple or elegant-looking decorations. I also make sure to have a playlist and portable speaker with my favorite jazzy music or maybe some fun summer beats.
For the eating area, I bring a few fun blankets with pillows or a folding table and chairs if available. If you don’t have a table, bring a basket you can turn upside down and cover with an additional smaller blanket to offer a makeshift table and use your blanket for the rest.
As everyone knows at a picnic, finger foods and meals with no forks or knives are ideal, so I’ve included dishes with minimal cutlery needed, if at all. You’ll find appetizers, wraps, sandwiches, and simple salads along with indulgent desserts to grab and savor! So, why not make your own luxury picnic with food that looks as good as it tastes in a fun and new atmosphere.
I start my first course off with a few appetizers and drinks – discover some of my favorites.
Taste a bit of Italy in one bite with this Italian Sushi. Combine everything from a charcuterie board into one delicious appetizer. Made with RiceSelect® Sushi Rice combined with fresh basil, Parmesan cheese and a touch of cream, these bites are rolled in Prosciutto! For an extra touch, I serve alongside a small bowl of olives or cheese slices.
Another way to pack everything into one bite is with a delicious dip or creamy salad. Use a small knife or dip crackers, pretzels and veggies into this Royal Blend Chicken Salad or a Party Cheese Ball with loads of yummy flavors.
One way I beat the heat is by pouring myself and guests a chilled drink to cool off or enjoy with a few finger foods. One of my favorites is this homemade Horchata. I like to pick up a few fun plastic glasses and store it in a thermos to keep it cool until ready to pour over a few ice cubes.
Moving onto the second course, choose the option you like best to suit your picnic needs.
For a refreshing wrap, I use a toothpick to hold these Thai Pork and Rice Lettuce Wraps into place. Keep a few peanuts and lime wedges on the side to serve for extra garnish.
You can also pre-assemble Brown Rice and Black Bean Burritos wrapped in large whole wheat tortillas served with any favorite toppings on the side like guacamole, salsa or cheese.
One of my favorite picnic specialties is to make a loaf or two of my favorite Homemade Brown Rice Bread using whole grain Texmati® Brown Rice with a blend of whole wheat and white flour for an amazing fluffy texture. Bake your bread ahead of time and slice to fill with all kinds of things. Make a sandwich filling board or pre-pack them.
For picnics, I like to turn my rice salads into delicious and easy to carry sandwich fillings, some of them include:
No need to reheat these meals outdoors when you’re surrounded by beautiful natural areas. Get outside, move your body and enjoy these salads you can conveniently place in a bowl or in a container with a lid.
To serve these grain bowls and pasta salads, use fun plates or pack each individually beforehand in small containers.
Pre-Packed Grain Bowl Ideas
Homemade citrus Ceviche with white fish, peach, lime and seasoned Royal Blend® Rice with avocado and cilantro.
A meat free Quinoa Pulled Jackfruit Burrito Bowl.
Texmati® Rice Tabbouleh with brown rice, flat-leaf parsley, cucumber, tomato, and mint.
Refreshing Herbed Pasta Salads
Greek Minted Orzo with Tomatoes, chicken broth and lime juice. (Note: use tri-color orzo pasta for an additional pop of color.)
Stuffed Couscous Avocado Boats with orange and cucumber. (Note: For a fun twist, use larger couscous to make into a Pearl Couscous Salad.)
Last but most certainly not least, it’s time to indulge in your sweet tooth with these elevated dessert ideas for your picnic experience.
For a refreshing and elegant finish to my meal, these Peach Curd and Raspberry Rice Pudding Parfaits are incredibly flavorful and eye catching using seasonal summer fruits and creamy Arborio rice! Layer beforehand in small containers or plastic cups to share and keep in a small cooler until ready to serve.
What better time to dig into a decadent chocolate cake than with friends and family! Try a bold dessert like this Black Russian Rice Pudding Cake coated in a coffee liquor topping. If you’re looking for a baked good that is easier to share, these Carrot Quinoa Cupcakes with cream cheese frosting should do the trick.
If I’m looking for something more on the simpler side, these Cinnamon Crunch Cookies are a tasty bite you can make ahead of time and store easily.
Whatever you decide to pack at your next picnic, it will be a success with the help of any one of these recipes from RiceSelect®. I guarantee you and your guests will be wanting to make it a weekly tradition. Connect with me on Instagram by tagging @RiceSelect and showing me your picnic style!
Check the website for more great meal ideas like the best shrimp salad recipe you'll ever try!