By Ro Kalonaros
Updated: October 06, 2017
Love and Lemons

During summer, we want to dine al fresco every chance we can get, but trying to get dinner reservations outside can be frustrating and expensive.

Our solution? A picnic! Grab some friends, lay out a blanket, and mix and match a few of these simple recipes to create a portable meal with something for everyone. (With 40 different options to choose from, you can bring the rest to the endless succession of summer barbecues.)

Crostini

1. Whole-Wheat Crostini with White Beans

Rosemary and citrus zest add the perfect kick to the nutty crunch of this Italian-inspired crostini.

2. Avocado and Pomegranate Crostini

Jewel-red pomegranate seeds atop lush, green avocado give these picnic-perfect apps a Christmas-in-July feel.

3. Goat Cheese and Mushroom Crostini

Garlicky sautéed mushrooms and fresh chives (which are easy to grow in your garden!) make this wholesome crostini a whole lot to gush about at any picnic.

4. Crostini with Prosciutto, Goat Cheese and Fig Jam

Sweet fig jam (or fresh figs if you can get them) and salty prosciutto mix perfectly with creamy, tangy goat cheese for a simple and delicious bite.

5. Beet Greens and Goat Cheese Crostini

This fresh, green recipe will make you think twice about ditching the tops of beets. Velvety goat cheese perfectly sets off the bitterness of the beet greens for a flavor you've never dreamed of.

6. Eggplant "Crostini" with Red Pepper Relish and Feta

Ditch the bread and use grilled eggplant as a base instead! Top it with fiery-hot red pepper relish, and your mouth will thank you. Or curse you. Probably both.

7. Crostini with Peaches, Blue Cheese, and Honey

The combination of syrupy peaches and salty, crumbly blue cheese will make your guests ignore everything else on the picnic blanket.

8. Creamed Kale Crostini

Think you hate kale? Try these parmesan- and gruyere-soaked greens and get back to us. Paired with zesty Dijon mustard, you won't be able to resist.

9. Artichoke Olive Crostini

Capers and green olives provide the salty pep to garlicky artichoke hearts that will have your family and friends begging for the recipe.

10. Roasted Grape Crostini

Roasting the grapes and pairing them with savory ricotta balances their sweetness, while thyme lends freshness.

11. Avocado Crab Crostini

Salty bacon and smooth avocado take already delicious crab to the next level. Do we really need to say more?

12. Chickpea Vegetable Crostini

It can't get much more fresh than this! Crispy radishes and cucumber combined with nutty, buttery chickpeas will make you think twice about settling for store-bought hummus.

13. Strawberry and Brie Crostini

Pairing sweet, juicy strawberries with warm, melted brie-then drizzling with honey and topping with fresh basil? Our mouths are watering.

14. Tri-Tip Crostini with Chimichurri Drizzle

Tangy and earthy chimichurri sauce on tender tri-tip steak will make you want to skip the main course at the barbecue and just have more of this app.

Spreads

15. Baba Ganoush

This super simple version of the traditional eggplant spread combines lemon, tahini and sea salt into creamy, tangy goodness.

16. Smoked Salmon Spread

Craving a bagel with lox? Get your fill of lush cream cheese spiked with smoky salmon and a trio of sauces (Tabasco, worcestershire, and horseradish) with this spread.

17. Sundried Tomato and Basil Spread

With both cream cheese and shredded cheese (and just three other ingredients), this indulgent-tasting spread topped with fresh, peppery basil is as easy to make as it is delicious.

18. Ginger-Miso Edamame Spread

Edamame and miso go together like peanut butter and jelly. Nutty, starchy edamame contrasts with salty miso to lend depth of flavor-and vibrant color-to this Asian-inspired spread.

19. Jalapeño Jelly

Always been a bit canning-curious? Start with this spicy jelly peppered with, well, peppers, and perfect for perking up a cheese plate.

20. Tzatziki Sauce

Go Greek with this cool and tangy traditional spread. The key is in cucumbers.

21. Taramasalata

Another traditional Greek dip, this one's smooth, light, and bursting with onion and tart lemon flavor. And, bonus: It calls for stale bread as an ingredient, so you can use the leftovers from one picnic to prep the next.

22. Fruited Feta Spread

This combination of savory feta and sweet grapes and apples will have your guests begging for more (and they'll have no idea it was so easy).

23. Oven-Roasted Tomato Jam

Sweet, juicy tomatoes take on a smoky, burnt flavor after being baked and roasted.

24. White Bean, Sage, and Roasted Garlic Spread

Slow-cooking with sage, bay leaf and garlic gives silky puréed white beans a burst of flavor.

25. Smoked Salmon with Dill Spread

Smoky salmon, creamy Greek yogurt, and zesty lemon create a light, refreshing spread you'll want to bring to keep all to yourself.

26. Sicilian Caponata

This vibrant combination of fresh sweet and sour vegetables makes a tangy, flavorful topping for bread.

27. Tuscan Roast Garlic and White Bean Spread

For a quicker take on white bean dip with all the roasted-garlic goodness, try this recipe using canned beans. (And bring gum!)

28. Tomato-Artichoke Bruschetta

This classic, rustic spread is made fresh and earthy with parsley and walnuts.

29. Fig and Olive Tapenade

Succulent figs add the perfect amount of sweetness to set off salty olives.

30. Sundried Tomato and Kalamata Olive Bruschetta

Rich, slightly sour sundried tomato and briny olives atop a mixture of silky feta and cream cheese is absolute heaven.

31. Green Olive Tapenade

Your guests will devour this fast, delicious tapenade full of salty capers, fresh herbs, zesty garlic, and refreshing lemon.

Pate

32. Porcini and Pecan Pâté

Make this earthy, nutty mushroom spread a day before to really bring out the flavors. Bonus: It's vegan.

33. Fresh Herb Pâté

Earthy, peppery lentils and protein-packed brazil nuts add creamy texture to this simple, flavorful spread.

34. Raw Almond-Pumpkinseed Pâté

Velvety avocado studded with veggies, seeds, and nuts makes for a spread that not only looks striking, but tastes incredible.

Dessert

35. Blueberry-Orange Spiced Preserves

Combining in-season blueberries with citrus, cinnamon, and cloves makes for a mouth-watering and gorgeously deep-purple topper for toast points.

36. Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

This homemade version has the richness and texture the supermarket version is missing, and it's dairy-free.

37. Sweet and Spicy Fruit Chutney

Tangy, sweet fruit mixed with fiery peppers dole out a punch of flavor.

38. Berry and Mascarpone Crostini

Smeared with creamy white mascarpone cheese and topped with juicy red raspberries and blueberries, this dessert crostini is patriotic and scrumptious.

39. Chocolate with Olive Oil and Salt Crostini

We're ecstatic that someone thought to combine peppery olive oil, bittersweet chocolate, and briny sea salt for this incredible sweet-and-savory creation.

40. Chocolate Bean Butter

Sounds a little weird, but white or kidney beans create a buttery, creamy spread that absorbs cocoa powder and coconut sugar for a dessert with more fiber and less fat.

Photo credits (in order of appearance): The Italian Dish, Bev Cooks, Culinary Bro Down, Foodie Crush, My Greek Dish, Cooking Spree, Garnish with Lemon, Ricki Heller, Ecurry

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