As the temperature continues to rise over the summer, many sun-lovers will be heading outdoors at every given opportunity to make the most of the warmer weather.

When you walk into any park during lunch or at the weekend, you will likely see hordes of people enjoying food-filled picnics with family members and friends.

While picnics may often consist of dishes such as ham sandwiches, chorizo and barbecued burgers, there's no reason why a picnic cannot be enjoyed without the presence of meat.

Download the new Independent Premium app

Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

From halloumi to courgette, aubergine and turmeric-roasted cauliflower, there is a multitude of ingredients which can be utilised to create a range of delicious vegan and vegetarian dishes.

Here are 12 vegan and vegetarian recipes which will definitely please the masses during summer picnics:

1. Vegan: Grilled tahini, aubergine, chickpea and cherry salad

Grilled tahini aubergine, chickpea and cherry salad

This tasty salad of red cherries, aubergine, courgette, chickpeas and more is an ideal picnic offering.

The finishing touch to this dish is a tahini and pomegranate-molasses drizzle, giving it a flavoursome kick.

Here are the ingredients you'll need:

  • 100g fresh red cherries
  • ½ shallot
  • 1 aubergine
  • 1 tbsp dukkah
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 200g courgette
  • 20g walnuts
  • 240g chickpeas (drained)
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 40g rocket
  • Medium handful of flat leaf parsley
  • Medium handful of fresh mint

For the method, click here.

2. Vegan: Moroccan-inspired lentils with roasted cauliflower

Moroccan-inspired lentils with roasted cauliflower

Cauliflower and turmeric are a succulent combination, made especially apparent in this recipe for Moroccan-inspired lentils with roasted cauliflower.

This recipe is ideal if enjoying a picnic in the park on a cool summer's evening.

Here are all the ingredients you'll need:

  • 1 cauliflower
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 20g flaked almonds
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 brown onion
  • 180g cherry tomatoes
  • Large handful of fresh coriander
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 240g black beluga lentils (drained)
  • 23g Moorish Moroccan spice paste

For the method, click here.

3. Vegan: Basil pesto tofu, courgetti and black olives

Basil pesto tofu, courgetti and black olives

This recipe is a creative take on a classic pasta dish, swapping spaghetti for courgetti and ragù for a sun-dried tomato variation.

Here are all the ingredients you'll need:

  • ½tsp red chilli flakes
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 3tbsp oil
  • 200g passata​
  • 2tbsp vegan basil pesto
  • 2tsp dried oregano
  • 2tsp sunflower seeds
  • 300g courgette
  • 300g firm tofu
  • 30g pitted black olives
  • 40g spinach
  • 60g sun-dried tomatoes

For the method, click here.

4. Vegan: Spicy tofu summer rolls

Spicy tofu summer rolls

No summer picnic is complete without a dipping station in the centre of the group.

This spicy tofu summer rolls blends a variety of appetising flavours, from soy sauce in the marinade to bunches of crunchy vegetables for the fillings.

Here are all the ingredients you'll need:

(Makes eight to 10 rolls)

  • 8-10 x 22cm rice paper wrappers

For the tofu:

  • 1tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 300g firm or extra-firm tofu

For the marinade:

  • 50ml Chinese black rice vinegar, no substitutions, this ingredient is amazing
  • 1tbsp sesame oil
  • 2tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1tsp light soy sauce
  • 25g piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 3 fat garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-2tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • Squeeze of lime

For the summer roll fillings (your choice of the following):

  • Small bag of salad leaves, roughly chopped if too large
  • 9-10 breakfast radishes, sliced into matchsticks
  • 3 spring onions, sliced lengthwise into fine shreds
  • 1/2 medium cucumber, seeds removed and sliced into batons
  • 1/4 red cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1/3 each of red, green, yellow and orange peppers, sliced into thin lengths
  • 1 medium carrot, sliced into matchsticks
  • Handful of baby corn, sliced lengthways into 4 or 6
  • 5 asparagus spears, woody part removed, halved lengthways if too thick
  • Handful of sugar snap peas, halved lengthways
  • Small bunch mint, leaves only
  • Small bunch coriander, leaves and stalks

For the method, click here.

5. Vegan: Sweet potato and walnut koftas

Sweet potato and walnut koftas

These koftas are sure to be a hit at your summer picnic, whether they're served as finger food or stuffed into pittas.

While koftas are typically made from minced or ground meat, this recipe proves meals can be just as delicious when made from plant-based ingredients.

Here are all the ingredients you'll need:

(Makes 12)

  • 1 small sweet potato, halved
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp milled flaxseed
  • 100g lightly toasted walnuts
  • 50g panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
  • Small bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • 1 spring onion, very finely chopped
  • Sea salt flakes and black pepper

For the method, click here.

6. Vegetarian: Aubergine, mozzarella and tomato pasta bake

Aubergine, mozzarella and tomato pasta bake

For all you cheese lovers out there, this dish is sure to tantalise your taste buds.

Take aubergine, tortiglioni pasta, tomatoes, cheddar, mozzarella and what do you get? A winning pasta bake.

Here are all the ingredients you'll need:

(Serves two)

  • 1 aubergine
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 150g tortiglioni pasta
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 40g mature cheddar
  • 125g mozzarella
  • 125g cherry tomatoes
  • 10g basil
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 15ml balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil, pepper, salt, and sugar

For the method, click here.

7. Vegetarian: Spinach, olive and feta tart

Spinach, olive and feta tart

For those who don't fancy picking who would rather not bring another salad dish to a summer picnic, making a nutritious tart is a creative alternative.

While you can vary the ingredients of this dish to your choosing, the combination of spinach, olive and feta in this recipe is very pleasing to the palate.

Here are all the ingredients you'll need:

(Serves six to eight)

For the pastry

  • 250g plain flour, plus a little extra for rolling out
  • 150g cold unsalted butter, diced, plus a little extra for greasing the tart tin
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 large egg, yolk and white separated

For the filling

  • Small knob of butter
  • Splash of oil, for frying
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 300g spinach, leaves stripped from their stalks
  • 3 large eggs
  • 200ml crème fraîche
  • 200g feta
  • 100g pitted black olives
  • 1 tbsp chopped dill leaves, or 1 tsp dried dill
  • Salt and pepper

For the method, click here.

8. Vegan: Jackfruit tacos

Jackfruit tacos

When you think of tacos, your mind is probably drawn straight to traditional tacos filled with fillings such as beef, pork or seafood.

Nonetheless, there is a vegan variety you can try instead – jackfruit tacos.

Here are all the ingredients you'll need:

(Serves six)

  • 1 x serving guacamole (shop-bought or homemade)
  • 1 x serving salsa (shop-bought or homemade)
  • 1 x 400g tin young green jackfruit in water
  • 1 white onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 100ml vegetable stock
  • ½ tsp Tabasco sauce
  • 4 limes
  • 1½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½-1 tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Handful fresh coriander
  • 12 crunchy taco shells

For the method, click here.

9. Vegetarian: Grilled summer vegetables with creamy shallot dressing

Grilled summer vegetables with creamy shallot dressing

No matter what other dishes are served, no summer picnic is complete without a healthy serving of vegetables.

The dressing is what gives this recipe its flair, combining components including runny honey, Dijon mustard and diced shallots for a flavour-filled taste.

Here are all the ingredients you'll need:

(Serves four)

For the dressing

  • 60g echalion shallots, diced 
  • 125ml olive oil
  • 60ml white wine vinegar 
  • 2 tbsp runny honey or maple syrup 
  • 1 heaped tsp Dijon mustard 
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper 

For the vegetables

  • 3 large echalion shallots, sliced down the middle 
  • 2 fennel bulbs, cut into large wedges 
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper 
  • 3 leeks, cut into 10cm lengths and sliced down the middle
  • 1 courgette, cut into large, diagonal slices
  • Packet of vine tomatoes
  • 125g asparagus spears, trimmed 

For the method, click here.

10. Vegetarian: Harissa potato, halloumi and asparagus with coriander and lemon oil skewers

Harissa potato, halloumi and asparagus with coriander and lemon oil skewers

If your summer picnic features a barbecue, then this dish is a delicious alternative to the typical burgers and hot dogs made on the grill.

The succulent taste of halloumi makes for a wondrous companion to asparagus, potatoes, and rose-petal-infused harissa.

Here are all the ingredients you'll need:

(Makes six to eight skewers)

  • 500g (1lb 2oz) Charlotte (or other salad) potatoes, sliced in half lengthways
  • 1 x 250g (9oz) bunch of asparagus, each stalk cut into 3
  • 2 x 250g (9oz) packs of halloumi, cut into finger-thick wedges
  • 2 tbsp rose harissa paste, or to taste

For the coriander and lemon oil:

  • 75ml (1/3 cup) extra virgin olive oil
  • A small bunch of coriander (cilantro), leaves finely chopped (save the stalks for another dish, they are full of flavour)
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • ½–1 tsp caster sugar, to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

You'll also need:

  • 6–8 kebab skewers, preferably metal ones

For the method, click here.

11. Vegan: Stuffed red peppers, black beans and lime

Stuffed red peppers, black beans and lime

While peppers are great when sliced up and served in big dishes, they're also very appealing when stuffed with a horde of tasty ingredients.

This Mexican-inspired recipe is a creative take on the stuffed pepper dish, which is often served with meat or cheese.

Here are all the ingredients you'll need:

  • 1½tbsp oil
  • ½ lime
  • ½ vegetable stock cube
  • 1tsp smoked paprika
  • 240g black beans (drained)
  • 2 red peppers
  • 2tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 2tsp chilli paste
  • 40g baby spinach
  • 4 spring onions
  • 80g quinoa

For the method, click here.

12. Vegan: Zesty hibiscus salad with red cabbage, chilli and orange

Zesty hibiscus salad

While you may usually associate hibiscus with being a flowering plant found in the garden, it can also be used as an ingredient in a refreshing summer salad.

Here are all the ingredients you'll need:

(Serves six)

  • ¼ of a medium sized red cabbage, sliced
  • 1 green serrano chilli, deseeded and sliced
  • ½ lime and zest
  • 1 orange and zest
  • ¼ red onion, sliced
  • ¼ bunch coriander

For the dressing:

  • 25ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 25ml vinegar
  • Sea salt
  • Sugar
  • 15g hibiscus
  • 100ml water

For the crisps:

  • Hibiscus from above (after hydration, dried then fried till crispy)
  • 100g pumpkin seeds, toasted

For the method, click here.

Support free-thinking journalism and subscribe to Independent Minds

To take a look at a variety of delicious recipes for you to try in the kitchen, click here.

Help prevent hay fever symptoms

While spring brings warmer weather it also marks the start of the hay fever season. If you’re one of the 18 million people affected in the UK, it makes sense to try to help prevent the symptoms of hay fever.  A single dose of Pirinase Hayfever Relief For Adults 0.05% Nasal Spray in each nostril once a day could help relieve sneezing, a runny nose, nasal congestion, and itchy and watery eyes. Find out more hereor click here to buy online

For the relief of allergy symptoms. Pirinase Allergy 0.05% Nasal Spray contains fluticasone. Always read the label.

Trademarks are owned by or licensed to the GSK group of companies.

Comments

Share your thoughts and debate the big issues

Learn more
Please be respectful when making a comment and adhere to our Community Guidelines.
  • You may not agree with our views, or other users’, but please respond to them respectfully
  • Swearing, personal abuse, racism, sexism, homophobia and other discriminatory or inciteful language is not acceptable
  • Do not impersonate other users or reveal private information about third parties
  • We reserve the right to delete inappropriate posts and ban offending users without notification

You can find our Community Guidelines in full here.

Create a commenting name to join the debate

Please try again, the name must be unique Only letters and numbers accepted
Loading comments...
Loading comments...
Please be respectful when making a comment and adhere to our Community Guidelines.
  • You may not agree with our views, or other users’, but please respond to them respectfully
  • Swearing, personal abuse, racism, sexism, homophobia and other discriminatory or inciteful language is not acceptable
  • Do not impersonate other users or reveal private information about third parties
  • We reserve the right to delete inappropriate posts and ban offending users without notification

You can find our Community Guidelines in full here.

Loading comments...
Loading comments...