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These picnic food ideas will be the talk of the party! Pick from irresistible salads, sandwiches, snacks, dips, cookies and more.

Picnic food ideas
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Headed on a picnic and need recipe ideas? Here are all the most fun and delicious picnic food ideas! The best foods for picnicking aren’t just tasty: they’re foods that are easy to make ahead, store, and transport to site. You’ll want fresh salads that do well in the refrigerator, and sandwiches that are portable and don’t get soggy. Accessorize with some dips and sweets, and everyone will be singing your praises. Every one of these recipes has been tasted and approved by real people (us!) for use at a picnic.

And now…the top picnic food ideas to try!

More recipe ideas

Need more fun and transportable food ideas? Here are a few more recipes with a light and summery vibe:

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Tortellini salad

40 Fun Picnic Food Ideas: Tortellini Salad & More!

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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutese
  • Total Time: 0 hours
  • Yield: 6 to 8 as a side 1x


This tortellini salad is full of zingy flavor: delicious for picnics and cookouts! Leftovers last for days, so it’s ideal as an easy lunch.


  • 18 ounces refrigerated cheese tortelloni*
  • 2 ½ ounces (2 cups) baby spinach or chopped spinach
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped (optional but recommended)
  • 14 ounce can (8.5 ounce dry weight) quartered artichokes, roughly chopped
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar***
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon each dried dill and garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup neutral oil (like organic vegetable or grapeseed**)
  • ¾ cup shredded Parmesan cheese


  1. Start a large pot of well-salted water to boil. Boil the pasta until al dente according to the package instructions (usually around 2 minutes). Drain the pasta and run it cool water over it until it’s warm.
  2. Meanwhile while the pasta cooks, chop the spinach, basil and artichoke hearts, and slice the tomatoes. In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, dried dill, garlic powder, kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Then whisk in the olive oil and neutral oil.
  3. Once the pasta is done, add it to the large bowl of dressing and toss with the chopped vegetables. Add the Parmesan cheese and stir to combine. Taste and add salt or more cheese to taste. Serve at room temperature or cold. Stores up to 4 days refrigerated (leftovers taste great and work well for lunches!).


*Tortelloni is large tortellini that you can find in the refrigerated section. It’s best for this salad because standard tortellini is too small.

**Using neutral oil in this pasta salad helps leftovers keep in the fridge: if you use only olive oil, it clumps up after about 1 day of storage. If you’re not planning to have leftovers, you can use 100% olive oil if you prefer.

***In a rush? Substitute ¾ cup Italian dressing or your purchased vinaigrette dressing of choice for the homemade dressing.

  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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