A List of Summer Picnic Bowls Recipe

A list of summer picnic bowls to use as inspiration for picnics and potlucks this long weekend. Enjoy! Most are the sort that can be prepped ahead of time. And they're all meant to be served family-style as part of a larger spread.

A List of Summer Picnic Bowls

This coming weekend I'm planning a break from the fog. If all goes well, there will be sun-bright days, star-lit skies, pine trees, bare feet, and eating outdoors. There will be a river. There will be a grill. There will be a cabin. All the necessary components for California mountain summering. I'm incredibly excited. As soon as we solidified our plans I started going through my archives looking for ideas for good picnic-style salads to make, and found myself drafting a list of contenders. It occurred to me that it might be helpful to post the list here as well. Most of these salads are the sort that can be prepped, in large part, ahead of time. And they're all meant to be served family-style as part of a larger spread. I hope it's helpful, pictured above is Joshua McFadden's Cucumber Salad - a current favorite. Here's to long weekends, long days, and summer adventures. xo -h

Sriracha Rainbow Noodle Salad - This is a salad you'll crave every day. A radiant, color-flecked tangle of noodles, cabbage, shredded carrots, pickled sushi ginger, and an abundance of cilantro, basil, and scallions. It has tofu and peanuts, coconut, ginger, avocado, and hemp seeds. The dressing(!) - it's simple but strong, and steps in with an assertive spicy sriracha-lime punch.

Mung Yoga Bowl - The kind of bowl that keeps you strong - herb-packed yogurt dolloped over a hearty bowl of mung beans and quinoa, finished with toasted nuts and a simple paprika oil.

Vegan Tempeh Taco Salad - All the things you love about a taco, in salad form. Crushed tortilla chips bring the crunch, black beans and crumbled tempeh coated with taco seasoning brings the substance, and a strong, smoked paprika-apple cider dressing pulls everything together.

Lime & Blistered Peanut Coleslaw - A favorite coleslaw recipe made with a short list of bright, fresh ingredients.

California Barley Bowl - Plump barley grains tossed with sprouts (or greens), nuts, avocado, a bit of cheese - all dolloped with a simple yogurt sauce.

Avocado Salad - thinly sliced avocado arranged over simple lentils, drizzled with oregano oil, toasted hazelnuts, and chives.

Roasted Vegetable Orzo - Roasted delicata squash and kale tossed w/ orzo pasta & salted yogurt dressing. For summer you can swap in seasonal squash or vegetables in place of the delicata.

Coconut Corn Salad - SImple. Butter a skillet add corn, fresh thyme, red onions, toasted almonds and coconut, and finish with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.

Yellow Bean Salad - A summer yellow bean salad with a green chile-spiked, cilantro-flecked, and coconut milk dressing, toasted pepitas, and (if you want to make a meal of it) pan-fried tofu.

Heirloom Tomato Salad - A favorite tomato salad, made with roasted and ripe tomatoes, capers, mozzarella, almonds, and chives.

Ginger Soba Noodles - Soba noodles tossed with a creamy-ginger dressing and topped with crispy tofu, tarragon, and toasted delicata squash seeds.

Shaved Fennel Salad - Shaved fennel, arugula, zucchini coins, feta, toasted almonds.

Buttermilk Farro Salad - Farro with shaved radishes, zucchini, and fennel tossed with a tangy herbed buttermilk vinaigrette.

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This list could get anyone through the Summer. Pick one, then repeat through the list! Fabulous!


Yes, Yes Yes! This is exactly what I needed to pursued my boyfriend to go on a picnic with me. Thanks!


for me personally, avocado salad is the winner.. yummm 🙂


Perfect! I’ve largely sworn off lettuce for the summer (doesn’t keep well and I get bored of rabbit food), so this is a timely list. Thanks for the continued inspiration to feast on summer’s bounty, topped with yogurt and herbs!


Thanks, Heidi! These are the types of dishes I tend to make the most, and it’s nice to get some fresh inspiration for ingredient combos and dressings. But you left off my favorite one- Cherry Tomato Couscous.


My honey and I have been talking about going on a picnic, and these are perfect to choose from. Thanks.


Heidi, you should do a cookbook all on bowls. You are so good at putting together the combinations!

Vicki Harvey

Love this list. Thank you ! I chose the yellow bean salad recipe for tonight. I might make it with broccoli and cauliflower combo. Thank you, thank you. Happy salad -ing 🙂

Kelly Turnbull

Thank you so much for the list; I love “bowl” meals and this is great for meal planning. Have a great summer!

jeri kim lowe

Hello Heidi, thank you for the time you take to put together such lovely season appropriate foods which you have so beautifully displayed. My family, friends and I will enjoy. Happy 4th!


Hi Heidi,
I made the coconut corn salad for a camping trip whit friends 2 weeks ago. I made it ahead of time to be eaten on the third day. Just added the coconut flakes and lemon last minute and added some fresh mint I had on hand. It was so refreshing and crunchy. Everybody loved it. Another favorite of mine is a simple cucumber salad.
On a mandolin slice the cucumber and a red onion very thin. Mix in a bowl, add salt, black pepper and white wine vinegar and mix in rough pieces of feta cheese. It’s great right away but even better when it sits one or two days, so a perfet summer camping salad. Enjoy


Beautiful opening picture! Not to mention some yummy picnic bowls. Shaved Fennel is a must try over the weekend.

Kim @ Cook with 2 Chicks

Hi Heidi,
I apologize, I just wrote a post yet I didn’t leave my name etc.
Here ya go!
Enjoy the mountains, my sister and her boyfriend live in LA and are headed to Kennedy Meadows up north where I will be joining them!
Happy 4th 🙂

Kate Halladay

I love you. Thank you for all the wonderful ideas, inspirational and unique finds that keep me on my toes and itching to keep re-creating your recipes. I have been following you for years, and have grown to love healthy, sustainable, organic cooking myself. I must say, you have been the catalyst for my passion of the food world, and all the deliciousness and creativity it has to offer. I live in Stowe, VT where this is a way of life, and I am starting my own blog soon about organic farming, food and much more. When it’s up and running, I would love for you to check it out! Stay cooking, and keep those AMAZING recipes rolling!


Shaved Fennel Salad is a favorite; I missed the Coconut Corn Salad post, but I am going to make up by trying it right away!
Just wanted to give a shout out to two more of your salads that are completely portable: the Moroccan Carrot Chickpea Salad (yum) and a salad that surprised me in the taste department, your Parmesan Celery Salad! It calls for warmed cannellini beans but cooked cold beans taste great in this salad too!

Primordial Soup

Your fennel salad is a staple at my house. Since I got your cookbook several yrs ago. Love your stuff, Heidi! Thanks.


Fantastic!! I was just thinking today about what kinds of meals I want to take camping instead of the regular burgers and hotdogs. These look far more nutritious, satisfying AND tasty. The avocado salad and yellow bean salad are definitly going with us. Thank you.


We had your Orzo Super Salad for dinner last night and I think it would be great on this list!


Seriously lovely collection. I am super excited about trying some of these recipes that I had not read yet on the site.

Meg | Summerfield Delight

Thanks for the incredibly delicious sounding recommendations! And your cover photo brought waves of memories from my childhood: with the addition of a little Spanish moss and a slight switch of conifers this could be one of the canopy roads I wandered most summers in the Deep South. Lazy days indeed!

Paul Cabler

So very much to love about your website… everything..!

James Stanfield

Lovely list for a summer picnic!
The shaved fennel salad is a long time favorite & definitely on my list this weekend, along with a large bowl of Deborah Madison’s lentils with wine-glazed vegetables …

Julia {dinners with friends}

These are all lovely. I’ve been doing a lot of salads lately and could do with throwing some new ones into the mix!


What a great compilation, Heidi! It’s so nice to have some yummy dishes all in one place that are perfect for the season and the upcoming holiday. Hope you have a happy and relaxing weekend! Happy 4th!

Lisa Cohen @ Life is in the Details

I think I have tried at least half of these picnic bowl recipes listed. All so wonderful, I can never get enough of your ideas! Have a lovely holiday!

Katie @ Whole Nourishment

Your Summer Picnic Bowls should be a book in itself if it isn’t already. Think of all the glorious photos!

Rita Calvert

If you’re heading my way (Lake Tahoe), the weather is fine! Enjoy your weekend 🙂


All of these are so lovely! Thanks for posting them. The Heirloom Tomato Salad will surely be finding its way on our table soon!

Kari @ cooking with toddlers

This would use all the stuff I’m getting in my share! Thank you!


I want to eat every salad on the list! hope there are enough picnics in my future this summer…
Have a great holiday!


I wish it was summertime in Australia! Will save thus for the warmer days…


I don’t think there is a salad on this list that I haven’t made and inhaled. I love your salads!


Thank you for this great list Heidi. So very helpful for our summer get-togethers! Enjoy your adventures at the cabin – we’ll be doing the same 🙂


I made one of my favorites, your Orzo Super Salad, for a camping trip last weekend! It kept nicely in a cooler overnight — I layered all of the ingredients and added the dressing just before serving as you suggested.


Great list Heidi! Your shaved fennel salad is one that is on regular rotation in our house – it is so quick and easy to make and super tasty. To the list I would also suggest your brussel sprout salad – another one on high rotation in our house and the left overs are great for lunch the next day!


You had me at bare feet, now that’s Summer all right, and I wish it wasn’t something that mostly only children did. Feeling the grass under your feet, and take in the fresh air – mmmm, sounds like you have an amazing holiday ahead!
The Calofornia Barled salad and Buttermilk Farro salad sound especially tasty, but they all look great 😀 This post is really handy, not only for prepping post-tripping, but also just for lovely Summer inspiration 🙂 Thank you! x

Jules @ WolfItDown

Just what i was looking for, great timing. Thanks for the list.


Yum! Thanks for the convenient round up.


Gorgeous list – I have saved it! Thank you!

Lindsay is Broke

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