Spring picnic ideas for a day on the green
Spring is the perfect time for a picnic. It’s not yet too hot, and there’s an abundance of fresh seasonal fruits and vegies available. To help you fill up a crowd-pleasing picnic basket, we’ve gathered some super simple but decidedly delicious spring picnic ideas.
For those of us in NSW who’ve been locked down for months, the announcement that we’re now allowed to gather outside for a picnic is the best news we’ve had since this whole lockdown business started. We’ve been so bored, people are betting on what colour jacket Gladys Berejiklian will wear for her daily press conferences. One TikTok user even created a Gladys press conference mash-up, while another came up with a dance to accompany it.
But with the introduction of the “picnic rule”, NSW residents are finally free to get outside and socialise. From Monday of this week, people are now permitted outdoor gatherings of up to five fully vaccinated people. And this doesn’t include kids under 12. Freedom!
No matter where you live, a picnic is such a lovely way to enjoy the outdoors and catch up with family and friends. To give you a little inspiration, below you’ll find some easy recipe ideas for sweet and savoury picnic fare that you can prepare ahead of time. And for those in Sydney who’ll be too busy cracking the champas to think about food prep, we’ve also found you some ready-made hampers that have already done all the hard work for you.
Today (September 16) is Guacamole Day, an unofficial holiday to mark the famous Mexican dip. To celebrate, Vitamix has enlisted the help of health and fitness guru Alisha Jade, who’s created a super-simple, 4-ingredient guac recipe that’s ready in seconds. You can check it out on Insta here. Simply add the flesh of 1 avocado, 2 garlic cloves, a handful of coriander and the juice of half a lime to your blender. Blend and it’s ready to go!
Macadamia snack plate
This seriously easy snack plate is everything you want it to be: delicious, indulgent and healthy all at the same time. Macadamias are loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, plus fibre and antioxidants to support your gut and brain health.
To make the macadamia bliss balls, combine 50g macadamias with 100g pitted dates, one tablespoon of white chia seeds and a pinch of salt in a food processor and blitz. The mixture should be able to hold together. Once the mix is well combined, roll it into six balls.
For the macadamia dip, combine 100g macadamias with one tablespoon of maple syrup or honey and a pinch of salt in a food processor and blitz until smooth and creamy. Place the mixture into a small serving bowl. Arrange the bliss balls, macadamia dip, more macadamias and seasonal fruit (we recommend strawberries and blueberries) on a plate to serve.
Rainbow rice paper rolls
This bright and fresh recipe is from Marika Ward (AKA The Vegetable Addict), a nutritionist from Melbourne. The rice paper rolls can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge wrapped with a damp tea towel to keep them fresh until picnic time.
For the almond dipping sauce:
¼ cup Califia Farms Unsweetened Almond Milk
¼ cup natural almond butter
½ tablespoon tamari
½ garlic clove, crushed
½ tsp Sriracha (or more if you like)
For the rice paper rolls:
¼ small red cabbage, fine shredded
¼ red capsicum, thin sliced
1 carrot, peeled and cut into match sticks
3 mini cucumbers, cut into match sticks
½ mango, thinly sliced
½ avocado, thinly sliced
A few sprigs of fresh mint
1 tbsp sesame seeds
15 sheets of mini rice paper
1. Make the dipping sauce first by mixing all ingredients in a bowl with a fork.
2. Slice all your fresh ingredients.
3. Fill a wide shallow bowl with warm water. Using a damp tea towel as your base, place 1 sheet of rice paper into the warm water for 2-3 seconds. Lay onto the tea towel and quickly layer with a rainbow of vegetables in the centre, leaving a gap at the top and bottom.
4. Drizzle with half a teaspoon of dipping sauce and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
5. Wrap the roll by folding the top in and the bottom up, then tightly roll to wrap.
6. Repeat until all ingredients are used.
7. Dip into remaining sauce and enjoy.
Salted peanut fudge
You’ve gotta have something sweet to nibble on, but it doesn’t need to be loaded with sugar. This recipe was created by celeb chef Luke Hines for Lakanto, which makes natural, sugar-free monkfruit sweeteners. While you’ll probably want to eat it immediately, the fudge can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 10 days.
500g (2 cups) smooth peanut butter
460g (2 cups) coconut butter, melted
125ml (½ cup) melted coconut oil
½ cup Lakanto Maple Flavoured Syrup
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or powder
2 tbsp crushed roasted peanuts
Pinch of sea salt
1. Line a 20cm square cake tin with baking paper.
2. Add the melted coconut butter, peanut butter, coconut oil and Lakanto Maple Flavoured Syrup to a bowl or food processor and mix until well combined. Scrape down the sides with a spatula, add the salt and vanilla and mix again briefly, then pour the mixture into the prepared tin and spread it out in an even layer.
3. Sprinkle the crushed peanuts over the mixture, then transfer to the freezer and leave for 20 minutes, or until set firm.
4. Once set, remove the fudge from the freezer and lift it from the tin by pulling on the edges of the baking paper. Using a hot knife, cut it into 18 even diamonds or squares.
Ready-made picnic hampers
The Fratelli Home Chef online order, delivery and pick-up service has added picnic hampers and pre-made cocktail packs to its range of finish-at-home meal kits and drinks packages. The Picnic Hamper Pack includes a generous selection of summery bites and treats designed to be enjoyed al fresco for up to four people. It contains antipasti such as olives, salami and prosciutto, along with three Italian cheeses, a dozen prawns with cocktail sauce, potato salad, a loaf of Sonoma sourdough, fresh fruit and other snackable morsels.
For something a little more special, you can add the luxury of a dozen fresh oysters in the Seafood Picnic Hamper Pack, alongside a generous supply of antipasti, fresh prawns and fruit. Both hampers come with Aperol spritz, and there’s also the option to add more cocktails and dessert. Hampers are available for delivery across Greater Sydney or pick-up from Fratelli Fresh Manly. Check the website to order, and for delivery/pick-up times.
For those in NSW, before you head out for your picnic, make sure to check the rules for your area, as some restrictions for outdoor gatherings still apply. Also remember to bring proof of vaccination, otherwise you could get fined. That’s sure to spoil your big day out.