In D.I.Y., Local Eats + Drinks, local.eats,

The Perfect Picnic {DIY Recipe}

I’m a little obsessed with the Hollywood Bowl, and pretty much any event that involves live music, a picnic basket, and wine-to-go.Β  And, it’s even better when I’m there with a large group of friends and family.

Instead of grabbing pre-made salads at the grocery store deliΒ (hello, that stuff gets expensive!), I usually like to make my own picnic dinner — and it’s only fair to bring enough for everyone, after all πŸ˜‰ #sharingiscaring

Here’s my go-to “Picnic Salad for a Group” {also great to bring for potlucks!}


Ingredients {salad}:

  • 1 package tortellini [any flavor] — {can substitute 2 cups cooked quinoa or cous cous}
  • 1-2 big bags of baby spinach
  • 1 smaller bag of arugula [or mixed greens]
  • 1 tub feta cheese
  • 1 cup Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
  • 1Β – 1 1/2 cups marinated artichoke hearts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 pack cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup thinly shaved red onion (optional)
  • 1 loaf rustic bread
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, meat pulled from bones into bite-sized pieces {Costco has great ones, that are cheaper, bigger, and tastier than the grocery store version, in my opinion πŸ˜‰ }

:: Cut rustic bread loaf into slices, brush with olive oil, and grill on a panini press under lines appear.Β  When cooled, cut bread into bite-sized pieces. ::
:: For optimum picnic packaging, place kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and feta cheese in a large Tupperware.Β  Separately package rotisserie chicken, tortellini/cous cous/quinoa, rustic bread pieces, and spinach/greens into their own gallon Ziplock bags.Β  This keeps things from getting soggy! ::


Ingredients {dressing} [adapted from Emeril Lagasse’s recipe]:

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp chopped/minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt & 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 shallot, finely minced

:: Pour all ingredients into a mason jar with a tight-fitting lid.Β  Shake vigorously before dressing salad. ::


Other necessities {pinic dinner must-haves}:

  • Large salad bowl (the bigger, the better!)
  • Salad tongs
  • Paper plates
  • Plastic forks
  • Napkins
  • Trash bag
  • Wine & wine opener [don’t be that person that forgot the corkscrew!]

Β ::: Β  Β  ::: Β  Β  :::

How-To {pack your picnic}:

Pack your salad ingredients inside aΒ cooler bagΒ [they sell them at Trader Joe’s for a few bucks!] with an ice pack or a bag of ice.Β Don’t forget the dressing!

Grab a reusable bag and pack your paper plates, plastic silverware, napkins, trashbag, corkscrew, plastic wine cups.Β  {See what I did there? I’m making myself feel better about using disposable everything by suggesting a resuable shopping bag. #gogreen}

Have a friend bring a side dish, such as watermelon slices, fruit salad, or another side salad of their choice.Β  And, of course, everyone should bring some wine πŸ˜‰ [teamwork makes the dream work!]

Side note —Β I’m seriously considering investing in a couple of these bad boys:


Genius right?

I digress.


Now, for the fun part: PICNIC TIME.Β  Lay out a few of your trusty blankets [we have a great blanket seen below,Β like this one, that is water resistant on one side and zips up into a smaller size],Β and throw all of your ingredients into your large salad bowl.Β  Toss, and serve to your hungry friends πŸ™‚


What picnic necessities do you bring along?



Happy picnicking!

~ Nicole {Local Love 805}

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  1. Sue Sprigg
    4 years ago

    Hey Nicole-
    Love your new blog! We are going to the Hollywood Bowl soon to hear James Taylor and I will try this salad. Sounds delicious!

    1. locallove805
      4 years ago

      Thanks so much! I LOVE James Taylor – so jealous! Hope you enjoy it (and the salad, too!!) πŸ™‚

  2. This Week's Edition {Eat.Shop.Play.Explore} - all things local in 805
    4 years ago

    […] a picnic dinner (great DIY picnic recipe here!) and head over to Conejo Community Park for the first Concert in the Park of the season! {see […]


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