15 On-The-Go Summer Dinner Recipes
Summertime is the right time for dining al fresco — especially after an entire spring in quarantine. But if you're tired of soggy poolside PB&Js and pretending like watermelon counts as dinner, these 15 summer dinners you can have on the go will ensure that your family enjoys a balanced meal on your next outing.
Although they may taste delicious, sand-covered chips and dip at the beach is hardly a "meal." (I say this as someone who has let my definition of that word slip quite a bit lately.) Outdoor dinners are an easy way to get everyone out of the house, but the activity isn't without its challenges. Namely, what the heck do you make to take with you?
When it comes to packing up a dinner to enjoy outdoors, I've personally found that having the right equipment is key. An insulated picnic bag, segmented storage containers, and reusable silverware go a long way to ensuring your dinner can be easily enjoyed outdoors.
Sure, you could throw a package of crackers, an assortment of fruits and veggies, and some cheese slices into a picnic basket and call it dinner, but if you're looking for something with a bit more substance, these dinner recipes have you covered.
1. Easy Chicken Gyro Recipe
Looking for a riff on a the traditional picnic sandwich that is just as easy to put together and take outdoors? Look no further than this recipe for chicken gyros from Foodie Crush. Complete with tzatziki sauce and plenty of veggies to give your gyros some zing, you can pack each ingredient in separate containers so your family can build their own gyros to their liking.
2. Ranch BLT Pasta Salad
Finding a salad that my kids will actually eat is sometimes a challenge, but ranch and bacon are definitely two ingredients that can sway them into salad-eating submission. This recipe for Ranch BLT Pasta Salad from Wholefully is easy to throw together before you head out for a dinner outdoors, and your entire family is sure to enjoy the twist on a traditional sandwich fave.
3. Deconstruct To Reconstruct Picnic Sandwich
If you're bored of eating generic ham and cheese on bread, this picnic sandwich recipe from Food Nasty should definitely top your list of new things to try. Complete with packing instructions to keep your ingredients from getting smashed or soggy, this recipe features grilled chicken you can make ahead of time, as well as topping suggestions to make a scrumptious sandwich that is anything but boring.
4.Summer Cheese Board
Serving up a spread of charcuterie is an easy way to please a variety of palates on the go. You can pretty much add anything you'd like, but this Summer Cheese Board recipe from Damn Delicious features fresh berries, various cheeses, olives, figs, and an array of crackers perfectly paired to pack for your next outdoor dinner.
5. Italian Chopped Salad With Marinated Chickpeas
A nice, cool salad makes for a refreshing dinner that can easily be enjoyed outside. This recipe for Italian Chopped Salad with Marinated Chickpeas from Foodie Crush is a healthy and tasty one to make for your next adventure. Pack it up in an insulated bag or cooler (you could even make and take individual servings if you have the right containers) and head out to the park, the beach, or anywhere you want to be outdoors this summer.
6. Bubbly Taco Salad Bowls
This recipe for Bubbly Taco Salad Bowls from A Spicy Perspective is easy to make and take if you want to enjoy dining outside. I know not everyone is going to take the time to fry up their own tortilla bowls, but even if you choose store-bought shells, they're edible, meaning one less thing to pack and clean up after your picnic dinner.
7. Rotini Pasta With Artichoke & Walnut Pesto
You can totally get your greens in during your next summer dinner picnic with this recipe for Rotini Pasta with Artichoke and Walnut Pesto from Climbing Grier Mountain. Made with a zesty pesto, pasta, and fresh spinach, this dish can be served hot or cold, so it's easy to transport and serve once you've reached your destination.
8. Avocado Summer Rolls
Here's a recipe you can make and take on an outdoor adventure that is quite a departure from your typical sandwich and salad lineup. Avocado Summer Rolls from Love & Lemons are packed full of healthy and fresh avocado, mango, and watermelon radishes bundled together in spring roll wrappers. Dip these refreshing rolls in basil coconut dipping sauce for a summer dinner to remember.
9. Cucumber Caprese Salad
Not only is this recipe for Cucumber Caprese Salad from Gimme Some Oven perfect for outdoor dining, with only six ingredients, it's super simple and quick to make. The blog also suggests adding cooked pasta to turn this meal into a heartier dish that can go just a bit further, but still tastes absolutely refreshing.
10. Sweet & Spicy Tuna Salad
Traditional tuna salad is a picnic staple, but I'll be the first to admit that my own go-to recipe could use an update. This Sweet and Spicy Tuna Salad recipe from Budget Bytes is perfect to pack for your next dinner outing. Eat it with crackers, veggies, or on a sandwich — you really can't go wrong.
11. Buffalo Chicken & Avocado BLT Wraps
Wraps are so easy to eat on the go because all of the ingredients are packaged nice and neatly inside of an edible package. This recipe for Buffalo Chicken and Avocado BLT Wraps from Half Baked Harvest is perfect to make ahead of time, throw in a picnic basket, and enjoy the next time you want to have a tasty dinner outdoors.
12. Italian Sandwiches
When your go-to cold cuts just won't cut it, you can put together this recipe for Italian Sandwiches from Good Life Eats for a welcomed change of pace that's filling enough to make for a hearty meal on the go. To pack for a picnic, make these tasty sandwiches at home, slice them up, wrap in butcher paper, and secure with a toothpick.
13. Vegan Poke Bowls
So, you want to serve fruits and veggies for dinner on the go this summer, but want to get creative about it? This recipe for Vegan Poke Bowls from Love & Lemons is just about the coolest idea to help turn a seemingly inoccuous array of avocado, watermelon, and cucumbers into a tasty dinner. Bonus points if you have actual chopsticks to pack in your picnic basket.
14. Sriracha Chickpea Salad Wraps
Siracha Chickpea Salad Wraps from Budget Bytes are an easy-to-make option for your next dinner on the go. This healthy, vegetarian recipe is served cold, so it is a cinch to pack in a cooler or insulated bag and because everything is wrapped up together, they travel nicely.
15. Greek Orzo Salad
Yes, I know — another salad — but I promise it's worth it. This tasty Greek Orzo Salad from Simply Scratch just screams summer, so you really can't pass it up. Fresh spinach, bell peppers, olives, feta, and a zippy greek dressing make this recipe perfect for dining outside on a hot summer day.