7 Recipes That Will Totally Change How You Picnic

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Picnic food presents a unique challenge: You need a menu that is easily portable, can survive a bit of a journey and be flexible under less-than-ideal conditions (i.e., far from your air-conditioned kitchen). These recipes check all of those boxes but are far more surprising than turkey sandwiches and chips — we suggest you set your #picnicgoals way, way higher.

Your goal: Satisfy like a steakhouse.

Make this: Steak and Horseradish Pressed Sandwich (above)

This sandwich gets wrapped in parchment and pressed to melded-flavor perfection — making it perfect for an on-the-go meal. Plus, it’s super-hearty; all of your favorite steakhouse flavors fit within the loaf of rye bread.

Your goal: Bring a watermelon.

Make this: Jicama and Watermelon Salad

Lugging a giant melon (plus a knife big enough to slice it) to the park is no, um, picnic. But you can make the ultimate summer fruit more manageable by making ahead of time Bobby Flay’s salad, which gets extra crunch from jicama.

Your goal: Pack up the grill (without, you know, actually packing up the grill).

Make this: Summer Layered Salad with Grilled Chicken and Tomato Vinaigrette

Layered salads are inherently packable, and this one maintains its smoky charred flavor even after it’s chilled. So you can do all the prep at home and skip the hassle of toting a mini grill to the park.

Your goal: Layer on tons of flavor.

Make this: Picnic in a Jar

Melissa d’Arabian proves that even a well-rounded meal can fit in a jar. Rice, chickpeas, eggplant and a bunch of punchy spices fill handy single-serving containers, and you won’t need to crowd your basket with plates or a serving spoon.

Your goal: Keep things crunchy.

Make this: Black Bean and Corn Salad

‘Tis the season for all the freshness nature can offer, but only sturdy veggies can stand up to being dressed well in advance of the meal. The frozen corn in Rachael Ray’s recipe even helps chill this salad as it defrosts.

Your goal: Pack a pie.

Make this: Cherry Hand Pies

Lugging an entire Thanksgiving-sized pie to your picnic spot is likely not practical. But this hand-held version is just as delicious, requires zero utensils to eat and is just plain fun.

Your goal: Go bolder than cold cuts.

Make this: Fried Chicken Sandwiches

These insanely good (trust us) chicken sandwiches are far superior to any takeout option, even when wrapped in foil to eat outside.