35+ Easy Vegan Picnic Ideas

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As the warm weather begins to beckon us outside and into the sunshine, it’s a perfect time to grab a picnic basket and pack it full of these deliciously portable Vegan Picnic Ideas that include sandwiches, sides, snacks, and even desserts!

vegan picnic foods photo collage

Whether you are headed for a day at the lake, park, mountains, or beach, these vegan-style healthy picnic foods will help you be prepared to enjoy the great outdoors whatever the terrain.

overhead shot of potato salad in white scalloped bowl and wooden bowl with wooden spoon

During the spring and summer, we spend a lot of time at the lake on our boat. Over the years, we’ve learned to keep it simple and healthy without having to skimp on taste. I kind of feel like we’ve turned this picnic thing into an art.

To share some of our favorite picnic foods with you, I’ve broken these recipes down into categories–vegan sandwiches, plant-based sides, snacks, and dairy-free desserts–to make it simple for you to pick and choose a few to give a try.

overhead of white bowl full of bean salad on dark wood table

Picnic Pro Tips

We learned a great deal about packing food for picnics over the years because we spend so much time on the lakes here in the Carolinas. Though we aren’t experts, these are some of our top tips.

Keep food that would normally be refrigerated in a cooler with ice packs. Picnic baskets are fine for crackers, bread, plates, utensils, and such. However, if your picnic dishes would be in the refrigerator at home, then they should be kept cool.

blue cooler at lake with sun hat on top and flip flops with water bottle beside

Try to find a shaded area to put your cooler to help control the temperature well. If a cooler is left out in the sun, it heats up quickly.

Stick to foods that don’t necessarily need to be heated. Our favorites are sandwiches, beans salads, hummus, slaw, potato salad, etc.

Finger foods are really your best bet and foods that aren’t saucy and messy.

Don’t forget to pack some wet wipes because it’s often difficult or impossible to find a sink in some locations.

Remember to take a trash bag to clean up after yourself. Our rule of thumb is to leave the area better than we found it. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve taken off liter that other folks left behind. Not cool people!

If it’s not picnicking but traveling you’re doing, these Healthy Road Trip Snacks can help a lot.

For those of you new to the whole food plant-based lifestyle, we’ve created a FREE 7-Day Plant-Based Menu Planner to help you get started!

Sandwiches & Wraps:

Picnic Sandwiches

Sandwiches are the easiest main dish to pack for traveling. They are hand-held and don't require a spoon or fork which makes them much less messy. These are some of our favorite picnic sandwiches. Click on each of the photos, recipe titles, or 'Get the Recipe' buttons to see full recipes with ingredients, measurements, instructions, and a print button.

Sides that Pack Well:

Easy Picnic Sides

The best side dishes for a picnic are the simple ones that can be made in minutes and aren't too messy for travel. These delicious sides definitely fit the bill! Click on each of the photos, recipe titles, or 'Get the Recipe' buttons to see full recipes with ingredients, measurements, instructions, and a print button.

Desserts on the Go:

Perfectly Sweet Finger Desserts for Picnics

We all like a little something sweet to quit off on, and these are the ultimate travel desserts because they're sweet and travel-worthy. They will finish off your picnic by tantalizing your taste buds. Click on each of the photos, recipe titles, or 'Get the Recipe' buttons to see full recipes with ingredients, measurements, instructions, and a print button.

Snacks Made Easy:

Healthy Picnic Snacks

When it's not a meal but a snack you need for the beach or lake, these tasty savory dishes are great for dipping and smearing on crackers or crusty bread.

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  1. Just in time – headed on a two day road trip to see my parents and will take some of these on the road! Thank you – so many good choices here!

  2. I’m so grateful that you put this post together! This is exactly what I need to get the rest of my family on board. Thank you for taking the time to create these recipes, love it!

  3. This is great since we r currently traveling down to fla with our camper. Love all these ideas and will be trying them on this trip. These are substitutes for the unhealthy foods we ate all our lives and love but need healthier ideas for them now that we r trying to eat the plant based ones. Thank you!

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