16 Yummy Vegan Picnic Salads
Picnic season is upon us! Looking for some tasty ideas for vegan salads that will pack well for a picnic? I’ve got 15 vegan picnic salads that run the gamut from a classic vegan pasta salad to a creamy dill pickle salad and a delectable cold soba noodle salad with an almost drinkable ginger sesame dressing!
I LOVE picnics. Food just tastes better outdoors, it’s scientifically proven, ha!! Plus, when you’ve got kids, it’s a lot more enjoyable to eat and chat with friends when your kids can run around on hop on a nearby swing set instead of squirming in their seats constantly. When it’s hot out, I love a salad-heavy picnic so you can enjoy plenty of different flavours and keep your cool. But not all salads travel well: leafy salads can be a challenge…so the picnic salad is a definite thing.
What to pack for a vegan picnic
I like food you don’t have to fuss with too much. Nothing too messy. Or too melty. This is what we like to pack:
- plenty of salads (duh! hence the round up ha ha)
- easy to pack plant-based proteins like roasted chickpeas or baked tofu
- some whole or chopped fruit (watermelon is always a fave)
- a dip like salsa or hummus
- chips or crackers
- a water bottle for each of ice, filled half with ice
- canned flavoured bubbly water
And of course, unbreakable plates and utensils – either melamine or compostable as well as plenty of paper towels in case something spills!
How to keep food safe at a picnic
Eating plant-based meals takes a bit of the worry out of packing a picnic! No raw meat or egg-based mayo to worry about…but you still want to be mindful of picnic food safety.
- Carry everything in a good cooler or cooler bags. Pack the cooler with WAY more ice packs than you think you need. If you can, keep the cooler in the shade and your chill will last longer.
- Make sure everything is well-chilled before you place it in the cooler, so the cooler doesn’t have to work to chill those items.
- Wash or at least sanitize your hands before serving the food.
- Bring all the cold items out so everyone can serve themselves and try to keep food out for a maximum of 30 minutes before placing back in the cooler.
Some more dietitian-y picnic food safety tips here.
16 Yummy Vegan Picnic Salads
As promised, most of these salads are built of either sturdy greens or crunchy vegetables to minimize wilt. However, I did include a couple of leafy salads so the secret to keeping them fresh is to dress them just before serving! Just bring the dressing in a resealable jar and pour it on when you’re ready to eat.
Vegan Picnic Salads: Sugar Snap Pea Salad
- 1 pound Sugar Snap Peas, finely sliced
- ¾ cup dry buckwheat groats
- ⅓ lightly packed cup fresh mint leaves, finely sliced
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Ginger Cashew Dressing
- ¼ cup cashew butter
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 tablespoons water
- 4 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon salt
- dried chile flakes, to taste
- immersion blender
- Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit (175° Celsius). Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, toss buckwheat with olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Spread on baking sheet and place in oven.
- Roast for 15-16 minutes, until buckwheat is a deep golden colour, stirring half way through cooking as the edges will roast faster than the middle. Remove from oven and set aside.
- Meanwhile, mix up the dressing. Add the cashew butter, lime juice, water, ginger, sesame oil, maple syrup, salt and chile flakes to a wide mouthed jar and blend with an immersion blender until smooth.
- To assemble, arrange the snap peas, buckwheat and mint in a shallow serving dish. Drizzle with dressing and serve.