Skip to main content

Treat Your Family to a Picnic with Savory Picnic Salads

family picnic

When you think about mouth-watering picnic foods, what comes to mind first? Hot dogs and hamburgers, hot off the grill? A bucket of fried chicken? A sizzling steak on the BBQ? Mmm!

But times are a-changing, including how and what we eat. In the same way we no longer regularly eat bacon and eggs for breakfast, ‘traditional’ picnic foods don’t always have to be on the menu.

picnic salads

Perhaps it’s time at your next picnic (maybe this Memorial Day Weekend?!) to eat a little healthier – with picnic salads! Think about having a selection of savory salads as the main course, accompanied by breads, cheeses, vegetable snacks and fresh fruit.

To get started with this novel approach to a picnic, here are a few recipes for savory picnic salads that would be perfect. All of these will excite your guests’ umami taste buds, and will help replace the usual meat or poultry entrees. In addition to the salad recipes below, you can find other savory salad recipes on this blog.

The bottom line when it comes to a picnic?: All that’s needed are family and friends, good conversation and delicious food – like appetizing picnic salads that are high in flavor and will satisfy the most discriminating tastes.

Enjoy the fresh air, and dig in!

A Few Savory Picnic Salad Suggestions

Thai sesame saladThai Sesame Red Cabbage & Carrot Salad




Russian potato saladRussian Potato Salad



Chicken Poppy Seed Salad

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 10 to 12


Salad Ingredients:

  • 8 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 heads lettuce
  • 6 bunches green onions
  • 1 large package sliced almonds
  • 2 packages Chinese rice noodles
  • 1/8 cup poppy seeds

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. MSG
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup oil


  1. Boil chicken breasts for 20 minutes; cool, then shred into bite size pieces. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Place almond slices in single layer on a foil-lined cookie sheet and bake 4 minutes or until browned. Immediately remove from baking sheet and cool on paper towels.
  3. Cut green onions on a diagonal into bite size pieces. Set aside. Tear lettuce into bite size pieces.
  4. To make the dressing, blend together dressing ingredients until thoroughly mixed. Set aside.
  5. Combine all salad ingredients in large bowl, then top salad with just enough dressing to moisten ingredients when tossed. Serve chilled.

Recipe Notes

Recipe courtesy of

Photo credit: Flickr user, Jodimichelle


Vermont Spinach Salad

Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 8


  • ½ lb. fresh spinach
  • 1 small onion sliced
  • ¼ cup celery diced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. tarragon vinegar
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 clove garlic pressed
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper ground
  • ¼ tsp. MSG
  • 4 large eggs hard-cooked, diced


  1. Tear spinach into bite size pieces in salad bowl. Add onion and celery.
  2. Toss spinach mixture with olive oil until leaves are well coated. Chill.
  3. In separate dish, combine vinegar, salt, garlic, pepper and MSG, blending well.
  4. Add eggs to spinach mixture before serving; toss well with vinegar dressing mixture. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Photo credit: Flickr user, Rian Lemmer

Spicy-Hot Cold Noodle Salad

Course Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword cold noodle salad
Servings 4


  • 1 lb. oriental noodles fresh
  • 4 each scallions spring or green onions or green onions, chopped
  • 2 tsp. hot chili pepper oil
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp. vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1-½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. umami seasoning MSG
  • 2 sweet red bell peppers chopped
  • 4 Tbsp. vegetable oil


  1. Cook the noodles in boiling water for 3 minutes, then drain.
  2. Rinse them in cold water until they are cool; set aside again to drain.
  3. Make the sauce by mixing together all of the other ingredients (except for vegetable oil).
  4. Heat about 4 tablespoon oil in a wok.
  5. When it is hot, pour in the sauce mixture, and then the noodles.
  6. Stir well to cover the noodles with sauce, then remove and cool.
  7. Serve chilled.

Recipe Notes

Photo credit: Flickr user, Alpha

Photo courtesy of Krisztina Papp on Unsplash

Kaye is an author and consulting nutritionist with more than 15 years’ experience representing clients in the food industry, providing strategic leadership and consulting on meal planning, recipe development, consumer-focused educational materials relating to food and nutrition, science-based communications, and media relations. Read more about her background on the About page.

Leave a Reply