3 Easy Recipes for a Foolproof Outdoor Feast

Whether it’s a casual spread in the park, on your roof, or on a beach, here are a few of our favorite recipes and tips to create an amazing outdoor feast.

Few settings are better for a dinner party than the plain old outdoors. Whether it’s a picnic in the park, an urban picnic on your roof, or a casual beach spread, here are a few of our favorite recipes and tips for serving a crowd dining al fresco.

The biggest obstacle to the perfect outdoor feast? Transporting your food without it getting soggy or leaking in the process—or losing any of its deliciousness. The keys to successful outdoor dinner parties is choosing the right recipes (ones that can sit well and don’t need to be best enjoyed piping hot or freezing cold), and that aren’t too messy or have too many elements to be assembled later. You’re looking for low-cleanup recipes that can be packed in the fewest amount of containers.

Keep it casual with classic favorites like meats and cheeses packed up with a baguette, chips and crudites with dip, pastas and grain salads, and easy desserts, like cookies. And have plenty of sturdy tight-fitting plastic containers, napkins, plastic cups, and thermoses of cocktails on hand…

To get you started, here are three of our go-to favorites!

Crudites with Greek Yogurt Ranch

2 pounds assorted vegetables for dipping (think carrots, green beans, cucumbers, bell peppers—anything crunchy)
¼ bunch chives
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup Greek yogurt
⅓ cup mayonnaise

1. Cut the vegetables into one or two-bite pieces: for carrots, ½-inch wide sticks or slices on a diagonal, ¼-inch rounds for cucumbers, or ¼-inch strips for bell peppers. Pack these up in their own airtight container, and refrigerate until go-time.

2. Thinly slice the chives. In a medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk, Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, and chives until smooth. Taste and add kosher salt and black pepper as needed. Pack into an airtight container with a good lid, and refrigerate until go-time.

Summer Pesto Pasta

1 pound of your favorite pasta (we love tube pastas like rigatoni and penne for trapping sauce)
½ cup pesto
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 yellow summer squash
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
4–5 sprigs mint

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Halve the cherry tomatoes. Halve the squashes lengthwise, then cut crosswise into ¼-inch half-moons. Roughly tear the mint leaves, discarding stems.

2. When the water is boiling, add a generous amount of kosher salt and the pasta. Cook until al dente, according to package instructions, then drain the pasta. Drizzle pasta immediately with 1 tablespoon olive oil and toss to coat to prevent sticking.

3. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add squash and crushed red pepper. Season with ¼ teaspoon kosher salt and black pepper. Sauté until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook until beginning to soften and pesto is warmed through, 2-3 minutes more. Remove from the heat and stir in the pasta.

4. Allow the pasta to cool to room temperature, then transfer to a portable container. Toss well with pesto and mint, then refrigerate until you’re ready to go.

Whole Wheat Cranberry Dark Chocolate Cookies

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons dark chocolate chunks or chips
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon oats
¾ teaspoon baking powder
6 tablespoons dried cranberries
3 egg yolks

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Set aside butter to soften at room temperature until ready to use. Separate 3 eggs, reserving yolks.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together sugars, butter, egg yolks, and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. Add flour, oats, and baking powder and stir to combine. Stir in cranberries and chocolate.

3. Scoop cookie dough into 1-tablespoon balls and place, spaced about 2 inches apart, on baking sheet. Transfer to oven and bake until edges are just golden and centers are set, 10–12 minutes. Remove cookies from oven and using a fork, gently flatten each to about .25-inch thickness. Remove from baking sheet and allow to cool completely.

Pack up and hit the road!

Find fun recipes, and get everything you need to make them delivered to your door. Get a free dinner for two with your first Plated delivery.

in Nourish


On the List?

Subscribe to Plated's Newsletter

Thanks for signing up!

There was an error signing you up.
Please check that your email is valid. Try again