5 Easy Picnic Recipes for the Busy Host


Spontaneous picnic? Planned BBQ with the family but been busy as a bee? Simply forgot about Saturday lunch plans? Here are five quick and simple recipes to make your event a hit, without sacrificing days of preparation for the menu…

So you’ve had a crazy week and no time to prepare for the picnic this weekend. Lunch at the park sounded like a good idea until work got busy, chores piled up, the kids got sick, and the list goes on. We’ve all been there. Don’t fret – we’ve got you covered.

These five recipes are simple and quick to whip up, plus they’re so super tasty that your family and guests will be reaching for seconds! No one has to know how long you actually spent on these dishes… 😉

One-Pan Apricot Chicken Couscous

Recipe and image from bbcgoodfood.com


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • Fresh root ginger
  • 1-2 tbsp harissa paste, plus extra to serve
  • 10 dried apricots
  • 220g can chickpeas, drained
  • 200g couscous
  • 200ml chicken stock
  • Handful of coriander, to serve


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and cook the onion for 1-2 mins just until softened. Add the chicken and fry for 7-10 mins until cooked through and the onions have turned golden.
  2. Grate over the ginger, stir through the harissa to coat everything and cook for one more minute.
  3. Tip in the apricots, chickpeas and couscous, then pour over the stock and stir once. Cover with a lid or tightly cover the pan with foil and leave for about five mins until the couscous has soaked up all the stock and is soft.
  4. Fluff up the couscous with a fork and scatter the coriander over to serve.
  5. Serve with extra harissa, if you like.

Watermelon & Feta Salad

Recipe and image from Jamie Oliver.


  • 700g watermelon
  • 1 small red onion
  • 180g feta cheese
  • 1 bunch of fresh mint
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Black pepper (optional)


  1. Chop the watermelon flesh into cubes, discarding the peel.
  2. Peel and finely slice the onion
  3. Crumble the feta and pick the mint leaves, tearing any larger ones.
  4. Place it all into a bowl and combine.
  5. Drizzle over a little oil and season with black pepper.

Bacon Ranch Chicken Pasta Salad

Recipe and image from Yellow Bliss Road.


  • 2 cups small, dry pasta, cooked to al dente
  • 2 cups shredded chicken
  • 1 cup frozen peas, cooked
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked and diced
  • ½ cup bottled ranch dressing
  • 1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper


  1. Cook the pasta to al dente and leave to cool in a bowl.
  2. Add chicken, bacon, cooked peas and tomatoes and toss to combine.
  3. Add one teaspoon of fresh cracked pepper to the ranch dressing and stir until combined.
  4. Pour ranch dressing over pasta mixture and gently fold together.
  5. Top with more bacon crumbles!

Avocado, Pancetta & Pine Nut Salad

Recipe and image from Jamie Oliver.


  • 12 slices pancetta
  • 50g pine nuts
  • balsamic vinegar
  • good-quality extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 ripe avocados , stoned, peeled and quartered
  • 4 big handfuls baby spinach, washed


  1. Heat a frying pan and lightly oil. Fry the pancetta slices till crispy. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. In the same pan, lightly toast the pine nuts. Be careful with the pine nuts – they toast quickly!
  3. Combine one tablespoon of balsamic vinegar with two tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Taste your dressing to ensure it’s balanced – add a little more oil or vinegar if you need to.
  4. Toss the avocado, spinach leaves, pancetta and toasted pine nuts in a bowl and season well with salt and pepper.
  5. Drizzle with dressing. This one’s great served with some warm crusty bread!

10-Minute Prawn Pad Thai

Recipe and image from bccgoodfood.com


  • 200g raw prawns
  • Small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
  • 2 x 200g packs straight-to-wok Pad Thai noodles
  • 85g beansprouts
  • 1 egg, beaten with a fork
  • Lime juice, with lime wedges to serve (optional)
  • 1tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp crushed peanuts


  1. Dry-fry the prawns and coriander in a non-stick frying pan for 1-2 mins until the prawns are just pink.
  2. Add the noodles, beansprouts, egg, lime juice, fish sauce and sugar.
  3. Quickly toss together until the egg is just cooked and everything is well mixed – using a pair of tongs will make this easier.
  4. Remove from the heat, mix in most of the coriander leaves, then divide between two bowls.
  5. Scatter with the remaining coriander and the peanuts, and serve with lime wedges.

Natalie Milad is a content and blog writer who studied journalism at the University of Technology, Sydney. Since her graduation in 2016, she has landed a gig at Zanui. Her days not writing are usually filled with DIY projects, floury benchtops and tending to her bunny. Natalie loves animated short films, animals and Christmas. She has experience in script writing, news reading and interviewing. Among her favourites was interning for The Bridal Bazaar.