One of my favorite things about spring and summer is that I can take my meals outdoors. There is nothing more fun to me than being surrounded by my family and friends in an outdoor setting, talking and sharing a good meal. Middle Eastern cuisine has some excellent choices for picnic foods. I've compiled a list of my favorites that are simple to cook and stay fresh and tasty outside. This list only goes to show that Middle Eastern cuisine can be enjoyed both indoors and out!
1. Pita Bread
Sure, Pita Bread is one of the most popular Middle Eastern foods, but it really is one of the best foods to take outdoors or on the go. Use it to make the perfect sandwich, or dip it in hummus for an easy appetizer or snack.
With all the different varieties, hummus is always a winner at an outdoors picnic. Serve it with pita bread, or pita chips as a snack that can be set out to eat whenever anyone wants some. Hummus can also be used as a spread on sandwiches in place of mayo or mustard.
Kisir is a much spicier version of tabouleh. Made with a red pepper paste, this will certainly kick start your picnic with some flavor. Kisir can be served with pita bread as a snack, appetizer, or even a small meal in itself.
Israeli salad is a delicious salad to take on a picnic. This is extremely easy to make and can whipped up in a pinch. Salads are a great item to take outdoors as they can be chilled in a cooler until ready to use. I love this salad as it doesn't use require a heavy salad dressing from a bottle.
This is a great dish that can be taken hot from the stove directly outdoors. Kept in a proper container, stuffed grape leaves will stay warm and fresh until ready to be eaten. Although it's not the easiest dish to make on your own, as stuffing the leaves can be time consuming for one person, it is the perfect meal to be made in bulk to serve to many guests. If your picnic is a small affair, have your friends or family help you prepare to save time and allow everyone to enjoy a meal they all took part in to make.
This is a hearty dish, and quite filling. Served warm, it makes a great picnic food as it can keep fresh stored in a proper container. If you're looking for something different than the same old sandwiches at your picnic, you can't go wrong with this.
Nothing is more refreshing to me on a hot day than some fruit salad. This dish from Algeria includes spices that really make this stand out from your standard fruit salad. This includes melons, oranges, apples, and bananas, but the fruit can be changed up based on your tastes.
If I'm not serving sandwiches at a picnic, I always like to include a kind of bread. It keeps well during the day outdoors. If you're looking for a hearty bread full of flavor then look no further. Authentic orange flavors and nuts make this sweet tasting bread perfect for any occasion.
Watermelon is a very popular summertime fruit, so while you're eating it, why not make use of the seeds! Roasted watermelon seeds are very easy to make and the perfect snack for a picnic. When eating outdoors, I like foods that can sit out so that my friends and family can munch whenever they feel the urge to, and these seeds are perfect for just that.
At a picnic, you cannot forget the drinks! On very hot, dry days in the Middle East, nothing will quench your thirst more than a tall glass of lemonade. Lemonade in the Middle East is prepared a little differently than traditional western lemonade, but is very popular among westerners.