10 Essential winter picnic recipes

Helen Best-Shaw 28 January 2022

A fan of a good picnic? Don't let the winter weather put you off! Here are some delightful winter warmers that will bless your tastebuds

I do like a winter picnic. Obviously there are rules about these—lazing in the sun on a picnic blanket isn’t on the cards, but choosing a crisp but sunny day for a walk, with a stop somewhere with a nice view for a quick bite standing up is a really lovely way to spend a day.

A winter picnic does have a few essentials: something hot from a flask: probably soup, and then things that are easy to eat when wearing gloves—sandwiches, wraps and so on.

Here are ten ideas for both sweet and savoury items for the backpack.

Leftover Roast Chicken Frittata

Frittatas have one great advantage over a quiche: no pastry and no blind baking means they’re so much faster to make. Here’s a great version that has the added advantage of using leftover roast chicken.

Perfect Soft-Boiled Scotch Eggs

In its most basic form, a Scotch egg is an egg wrapped in ground sausage meat, then coated with breadcrumbs and baked or deep fried. Scotch eggs have a long history as one of the original picnic snacks, but there’s a huge difference between a properly homemade one and an overly-chilled sad example from the garage shop.

Warm Lentil Salad With Leeks

This is a very simple lentil salad with roasted vegetables. It’s a simple recipe to scale up as you need, in case you have some more people coming on your walk. The key feature is you can double or triple the recipe and can make for a large family gathering in just 30 minutes. It’s a simple recipe that can be easily changed to your tastes and while it’s called a salad, I can see it being served hot or cold.

Vatrushka: Sweet Russian Farmer’s Cheese Buns with Berries

These individual open-faced Russian buns filled with farmer’s cheese and seasonal berries are a Russian/Eastern European sweet pastry formed as a ring of yeast dough filled with soft cheese such as cottage cheese or quark and berries or raisins. I’m always open to discovering recipes from around the world, and I’m definitely interested in these sweet cheesy treats!

Instant pot chicken Caesar salad wraps

Chicken Caesar salad is one of my favourites, and here’s a simple way of enjoying this great flavour combination when out and about. I love that this recipe cooks everything together in an instant pot first, then the wraps are assembled, adding bacon and salad.

Taiwanese Scallion Shaobing (Sesame Flatbread with Scallion Filling)

Do you call them scallions or spring onions? Whichever it is, this recipe makes great use of these fiery vegetables. Scallion shaobings are a kind of baked flatbread filled with scallion and loaded with toasted sesame on top. In Taiwan, they’re usually sold at more traditional shaobing vendors. The great thing about street food is that it’s perfect for a picnic: bursting with flavour and easy to eat on the go.

Mini Blueberry Pies

Add a little luxury to you picnic with a dessert. Here are some quick to make mini pies, which cleverly add cornflour to pie mix to thicken the juices, and also add lemon for citrus acid sharpness. Using ready made pastry—easily stored in the freezer—means these can be baked in no time.

Chicken Pot Hand Pies

I’m not sure whether these are slices or pasties. I think that I’m going with slice, as to me a pasty has to be folded over. Anyway, while a slice like this is easily available from many bakeries, this version has the advantage of being as packed with great tasting ingredients as you can make it. My top tip with using ready made puff pastry is to only buy the all butter version; it’s so much better than the lesser options.

Chewy Vegan Applesauce Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Soft and chewy, these vegan chocolate chip oatmeal applesauce cookies are a great wholesome treat to have around. Easy to make, and are ready in 20 minutes. They are naturally gluten-free and oil-free too.

Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Soup

This easy roasted red pepper and tomato soup recipe is full of flavour, rich in colour and packed with antioxidants. Quick and easy to make, it is ideal for making the best of leftover, or overripe produce. Fill a flask with this superb, rich red soup for a great winter warmer.

Helen Best-Shaw, is a freelance food & travel writer, recipe developer & photographer. She has been blogging at Fuss Free Flavours for over ten years

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