It’s the best time of year for picnics. Eating indoors is out and soaking up the sun’s Vitamin D is in. Grab your basket, blanket, and prepare your picnic pickings. You’re going to need something savory, something sweet, and, of course, sandwiches. Here are 6 simple sandwich formulas you can whip up on the run, because no one wants to waste time in the kitchen when the sun is shining and the weather is warm. These simple yet satisfying sandwiches are classic, but still manage to be a step up from a standard PB&J.
1. Ham and Cheese Picnic Sandwiches
First up we have a sandwich from Real Mom Kitchen that eaters of all ages will enjoy. The classic ham and cheese combination never gets old, and with a little extra effort, you can take your lunch favorite up a notch. Instead of relying on typical sandwich bread, enlist croissants for a sophisticated twist, and make sure you don’t forget the Italian dressing.
- 1 to 2 tomatoes thinly sliced
- ½ cup Italian dressing
- 6 croissants
- ½ container garlic and herb spreadable cheese
- ½ pound thinly sliced deli ham
- ½ pound thinly sliced hard salami, cut circles in half
- 6 slices provolone cheese, cut circles in half
- 6 leaves of red lettuce
Directions: Place tomatoes in a small container along with Italian dressing. Place in the fridge and allow to marinate for at least 1 hour.
Slice croissants in half. Spread top half of each croissant with the garlic and herb spreadable cheese. On the bottom half, layer sandwich ingredients beginning with provolone followed by ham, salami, and lettuce. Place top of croissants on each sandwich. Wrap each sandwich well with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to eat.
2. Mediterranean Pressed Picnic Sandwich
If you have some vegetarians on your hands, try out these Mediterranean Pressed Sandwiches found on Vegetarian Times. They’re meat-free but still packed with filling (and fibrous) ingredients, and they’re perfect to enjoy outdoors in the sun. Travel time actually makes these sandwiches better as it lets the flavors marinate together, so take your time setting up camp and then enjoy your packed picnic lunch in all its glory.
- 1 small eggplant, cut lengthwise into ¼-inch slices
- 1 small zucchini, cut lengthwise into ¼-inch slices
- 1 small yellow squash, cut lengthwise into ¼-inch slices
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 large loaf ciabatta bread, halved
- ⅓ cup prepared pesto
- ⅓ cup prepared tapenade
- 2 jarred roasted red peppers, sliced
- 1 (8-ounce) package fresh mozzarella, drained and sliced
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Directions: Heat grill pan or grill to medium-high heat. Brush eggplant, zucchini, and yellow squash with 2 tablespoons olive oil, and grill 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until charred and softened. Transfer to plate.
Hollow inside of bread to make room for vegetables. Spread pesto on one side of bread. Spread tapenade on other side of bread.
Layer eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, roasted red peppers, and mozzarella on one side of bread. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Press top and bottom of sandwich together, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Place on baking sheet, and weigh down with heavy skillet or two large cans. Refrigerate 2 hours or overnight. Unwrap before slicing and serving.
3. Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Prepare your chicken salad ahead of time and enjoy these Chicken Salad Sandwiches from Food & Wine in the sun. Chicken salad is always a crowd pleaser, and it couldn’t be easier. Just mix your cooked chicken with mustard, mayo, onions, celery, and a handful of seasonings and you’re good to go. Enjoy the crunchy goodness of chicken salad on whole-wheat bread or plain.
- 1½ pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon minced red onion
- 2 medium celery ribs
- 1½ tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
- 3 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
- 2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 12 slices grainy whole wheat bread, lightly toasted
Directions: In a large saucepan, cover the chicken breasts with water. Bring to a very slow simmer and cook over low heat until white throughout, about 18 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and let stand until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Cut the chicken into ½-inch dice.
In a large bowl, mix the mayonnaise with the mustard and season with salt and pepper. Fold in the onion, celery, parsley and chicken until evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes. Spoon the chicken onto 6 slices of the toast. Top with the lettuce and tomato, close the sandwiches and serve.
4. Reuben Sandwich
If you want to go for a classic, make your own Reuben Sandwiches. This recipe from Chow will yield the perfect Reubens, and it’ll only take you 15 minutes. The great thing about these sandwiches is that they are just as tasty cold as they are warm, so feel free to prepare these ahead of time and dig in once you’re hungry. This recipe makes 1 sandwich.
- 3 tablespoons Thousand Island Dressing
- 2 slices rye bread
- 1½ ounces sliced Gruyère or Swiss cheese
- 1 cup sauerkraut, drained and squeezed of excess moisture
- 4 slices pastrami or corned beef
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
Directions: Spread 1 tablespoon of the dressing on one piece of bread and top with half of the cheese, half of the sauerkraut, and all of the meat. Spread another tablespoon of the dressing over the meat and top with the remaining sauerkraut and cheese, in that order.
Spread the remaining tablespoon of dressing on the remaining piece of bread and place it on top of the cheese, dressing side down. Press firmly to close the sandwich, then evenly spread the butter on the outside of the sandwich.
Heat a heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium heat, place the sandwich in the pan, and press down on the sandwich with a spatula. Cook until the bread is crisp and golden brown, about 4 minutes. Flip and cook until the second side is golden brown, the cheese is melted, and the sandwich is warmed through, about 4 minutes more.
5. Almond Butter and Jelly Sandwiches
We’ve all heard of PB&Js but have you tried your hand at an AB&J? As its name suggests, almond butter is made from ground-up almonds, and some consumers prefer the salty goodness of almond butter over the original. The nut butter also pairs perfectly with fruit jelly and boasts a solid sandwich. If you’re tired of the old peanut butter and jelly combination, try your hand at this easy Almond Butter and Jelly Sandwich formula found on Food.com and see if you have a new favorite on your hands.
- 2 slices whole grain brain
- 1 tablespoon almond butter
- 1 tablespoon fruit jelly
Directions: Spread one slice of bread with almond butter and fruit spread. Put other slice on top and cut sandwich in half. Serve.
6. Turkey Caprese Sandwiches
Last but not lease, Turkey Caprese Sandwiches from Taste of Home. Your picnic spread just got a little more sophisticated. On their own, caprese sandwiches are good, but when turkey is added to the mix, they’re even more satisfying and satiating. Even better, this recipe has you putting the good stuff on Asiago cheese bagels, so you really know you won’t be walking away from your picnic lunch hungry. The food formula yields 12 sandwiches.
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
- 12 Asiago cheese bagels, cut in half and toasted
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 36 slices deli turkey
- 24 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
- 6 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
- 12 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
Directions: Rub garlic cloves over cut sides of bagels. For each sandwich, spread 1 teaspoon mayonnaise over bagel bottom. Layer with three turkey slices, two cheese slices, two tomato slices, four onion slices, and one sliced basil leaf. Sprinkle with salt; drizzle with olive oil. Replace tops.