As summer comes around, it brings with it the perfect chance to get outdoors and enjoy a picnic in the sunshine. But this year, why not move away from the traditional triangle sandwiches and sausage rolls when it comes to packing your hamper, and opt for lighter, healthier dishes that’ll bring a whole host of flavours to your picnic basket!

Spring tabbouleh

Light, flavoursome and full of goodness, tabbouleh is a traditional Lebanese salad full of healthy ingredients.1 This tabbouleh can be whisked up in no time at all and offers you the perfect main course for your picnic. This recipe is vegan, but it would make a lovely accompaniment to grilled chicken.

What you’ll need

  • 2 x large bunches of parsley, chopped
  • 1 x cucumber, peeled, deseeded and diced
  • 6 x Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 x small red or brown onion, chopped
  • 1 x clove of garlic, crushed
  • Several leaves of fresh peppermint, chopped
  • 225g bulgur (cracked wheat)
  • Olive oil (just enough to spray over the salad)
  • Juice of one lemon (or more), squeezed
  • Allspice (to taste)
  • Sea salt (to taste) – optional

  1. Finely chop the onion and pour the salt and allspice over the onion, mixing well
  2. Soak the bulgur wheat in around 600ml of boiling water and cover for 30 minutes, draining out the excess water (add in some lemon juice for a sharp, citrus flavour if you wish)
  3. Chop the remaining ingredients and spray with olive oil, then toss all the ingredients together
  4. Serve with pitta breads, and enjoy!

Spinach & pepper frittata

Bring a taste of the Amalfi Coast to your picnic basket, thanks to this Italian dish that’s bound to have everyone coming back for seconds.

What you’ll need

  • 2 x red peppers, deseeded and diced
  • 2 x potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 x red onion, finely chopped
  • 6 x medium sized eggs, beaten
  • 100g of shredded spinach

  1. On a low heat, put the diced peppers, potatoes and onions into a pan with two tablespoons of cold water. Cover the pan and cook for 10-15 minutes, until the potato has turned golden and is cooked through
  2. Add the spinach into the pan, and cook until wilted
  3. Pour the 6 beaten eggs on top of the cooked vegetables and mix in. Use a fork to lift the mixture to the edges of the pan, allowing the egg to run through to the base of the mixture. Cook for five minutes
  4. Pre-heat the grill on your oven, then place the frittata underneath for three minutes until it’s golden and crispy
  5. Once cooled, it can be refrigerated up to a day

Pastry-less pork pie

For a healthy take on a picnic classic, instead of encasing the pork in pastry, ribbons of courgette are used as a healthy substitute.

What you’ll need

  • 5 x large courgettes
  • 1 x small bunch parsley
  • 1 x large egg
  • 1 x red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 x garlic cloves, crushed
  • 500g of minced pork
  • 290g jar of red peppers, drained and chopped
  • 50g of dried breadcrumbs
  • 1 x tbsp of olive or rapeseed oil
  • 2 x tsp of chilli flakes
  • 2 x tsp of fennel seeds
  • Zest of one lemon

  1. Thinly slice the courgettes lengthways (use a mandolin if you have one), stopping when you reach the seedy middle (set this aside). Heat a griddle pan, then toss the sliced courgettes in a little oil to coat. Cook in batches until soft and grilling marks are visible
  2. Pour a drop of olive oil into an 18cm springform tin and brush all over the base and sides, before lining the base with a circle of baking parchment. Use the courgettes to line the tin, overlapping them across the base, up the sides and over the edge – you need enough overhang to cover the top and the filling, so you may need to double up on slices up the sides
  3. Cook the chopped onion for five minutes in a large frying pan. Next, finely chop the leftover seedy middle of the courgette, and add to the pan with garlic, cooking until softened and then leave to cool
  4. For your filling, mix together the pork, egg, chilli, fennel seeds, breadcrumbs, zest, pepper and cooled veg, before packing the mixture into the courgette-lined tin. Fold any overhanging courgette to cover the top of the pie
  5. Heat your oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4, then place the pie onto a baking tray and cook for 1 hour 15 mins. Once cooked, leave the pie to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing – pour away any excess juices

Veggie Mediterranean wraps

Simple yet oh-so-good, these healthy vegetarian wraps are a great replacement for sandwiches – plus, you’ll be able to knock them up in no time at all.

What you’ll need

  • 2 x wholegrain wraps
  • 1 x red onion
  • 1 x red pepper
  • 1 x small courgette
  • A large handful of baby spinach
  • 180g of hummus
  • 2 x tbsp of feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 x tsp of sliced back olives
  • 1 x tsp of dried oregano

  1. Thinly slice the red onion, red pepper and courgette, then sauté in a pan for five minutes
  2. In a separate frying pan, lightly heat the wholegrain wraps
  3. Once the wraps have been lightly toasted, evenly spread the hummus down the middle of each of the wraps. Split the spinach between the two wraps, before topping with the sautéed vegetables, feta cheese, oregano and olives
  4. To finish, fold the wraps up and cut into small sections

Now, all you need to do is find the perfect picnic spot! The National Trust has listed some of the best picnic hotspots in the UK to help give you a little inspiration.

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