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The Best Picnic Salads

The Best Picnic Salads

The perfect picnic salads

We believe the best picnic salads actually contains very little lettuce. When planning a picnic menu, you want to pack foods that are robust and can safely sit around on a warm summer day. Lettuce is prone to wilting, so it is not the most ideal candidate for a picnic food for hot weather.

Building a picnic salad requires a hearty base, fresh flavors, and if possible a delightful hidden surprise like pairing watermelon with balsamic or asparagus and potatoes.  We have some picnic salad ideas and the best picnic recipes to help inspire you for your next gathering.

Picnic tips

Before we get to the best picnic recipes, you need to be prepared. We asked our community for their best picnic tips. 

Make something delicious that everyone will love, and make a dish that is okay at “room” temperature.

– Kristina Sloggett, SpaBettie

Put a plastic container 3/4 full of water into the freezer the night before a picnic to make a big block of ice. It keeps food cool in a cooler for a long time!

– Cathy Brak, Cathy’s Gluten Free

Bring multiple plastic bags! One to put away all the garbage. One to contain all the dirty dishes/cutlery. Wet wipes or even a wet dishcloth in a container are super helpful. An elastic band to hold your hair because it will inevitably get windy.

– Candy Wong, @DessertByCandy

My favorite picnic tip is to tuck an activity in my basket, just in case we want to be outside longer or there’s a lull. Dominos or cards are great for adults, bubbles or a nature scavenger hunt if we have kids. And wine! Always bring wine.

– K.C. Cornwell, GF Foodie

My biggest picnic tip is to bring tick spray as ticks have been out in full force.

– Sandi Gaertner, Fearless Dining 

Picnic Salads Without Mayo

Vegan Potato Salad Recipe

Vegan Potato Salad Recipe (Top 14 free)

One of our favorite ways to bring extra color to a picnic table. These picnic salads without mayo are sure to be a hit!

Lemon Piccata Potato Salad  (Vegan, contains cashews)

Lemon Piccata Potato Salad  (Vegan, contains cashews)

A bright version of the classic favorite. 

Sweet potato picnic salad

Sweet Potato Salad with Chili-Lime Dressing (Top 9 free & Gluten-free)

This salad is even better served at room temperature and holds up as the ideal picnic food for hot weather!

Picnic pasta salad

These picnic salad recipes can be made in advance. Picnic pasta salad also travels well.

Macaroni pasta salad

Gluten-Free Macaroni Salad (Contains Mayo – check out our vegan mayos to find the right one for you)

This easy deli-style Gluten-Free Macaroni Salad makes a delicious picnic pasta salad.

Antipasto salad

Antipasto Salad (Free from all nuts, soy, seeds, seafood, egg)

Loaded with grilled vegetables, cherry tomatoes and cannellini beans.

Spinach orzo pasta salad

Spinach Orzo Pasta Salad (Free from all nuts, soy, sesame, Vegan)

See Also
Nut-Free Cocoa Buckwheat Granola

Full of fresh herbs this picnic pasta salad tastes better the longer it has time to marinate.

Avocado BLT Picnic Salad

Avocado BLT Pasta Salad (Top 8 free & Vegan)

Everything you love in a BLT with pasta! Crunchy with bits of bacon, and delightful. 

Picnic Salads for hot weather

Avocado fruit salad

Avocado, Cucumber, And Grapefruit Salad With Dill (Top 8 free, Vegan)

Full of different textures this salad makes the perfect picnic food for hot weather. A treat as a dessert or paired with something savory. 

Watermelon Salad

Watermelon Salad (Top 8 free, Vegan)

A perfect fruit salad that surprises the taste buds with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. 

Strawberry Kale Salad (Top 8 free, Vegan)

No missing out on something green with this refreshing and zingy kale salad. It makes bringing picnic sides for a crowd easy and festive.

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