Summer is here and it's time to step your picnic and barbecue game up.

Getting 20 friends together for a garden party is not an option, but we can still enjoy the delights of food in the open air. We're here for you with with delicious picnic food and barbecue ideas that are kind to your pocket, the planet and a treat for the tastebuds. Get cooking and enjoy these warm weather winners at your local green space or in your garden.

Summer showpieces

Dirty mushroom burger (for filth with a friend)

Veggie burgers sometimes fail to live up to the task. This one doesn't. Two portobello mushrooms sandwiched around a tasty mix of herby goats' cheese, and golden breadcrumbs. It's genuinely delicious and isn't trying to be anything it's not. 

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Glamorgan sausage rolls (perfect for couples)

There's nothing worse than having a cold, stodgy shop bought sausage roll. Do yourself a favour and give these hearty vegetarian friendly rolls a go.

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Summer greens filo pie recipe (for a family feast)

This summer greens filo pie is a great way of using summer greens, spinach works well in early summer, kale is a great addition as we head towards autumn.

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Ital jerk tofu kebabs (for the barbecue pro)

Jerk is the taste of Jamaica, and its scent rides on the cooling breeze all around the island. Legend has it that the native people of the island used to smoke their food over the wood from the allspice trees that grow all over the island. The main flavour in a jerk seasoning is, therefore, allspice, but also ginger, lime, thyme, cinnamon and Scotch Bonnet chilli peppers.

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Did you know? A typical summer barbecue for four people releases more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than an 80 mile car journey

The good news is that you can reduce emissions with some simple switches. Get the delicious smokey flavour of coal from your ingredients such as the smoked paprika used in the Ital kebab recipe (above) or liquid smoke flavouring. And, switch some of the meat on the barbecue for delicious, lower carbon veggie options, such as with our dirty mushroom burger (at the top).

Salad as the star, not a sad side

Panzanella (for the conscientious cook)

A quick, simple and wholesome Italian salad that welcomes many a stray vegetable or crust of bread. In short, this panzanella recipe will provide a happy home for your leftovers.

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Warm new potato, broccoli and miso salad (for the adventurous foodie)

A ridiculously tasty salad, where the sweetness of new season potatoes plays against the saltiness of miso, the acidity of pickled shallots and the crispness of broccoli.

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Purple coleslaw (for those who eat with their eyes)

Liven up leftover cabbage and carrots with a delicious zingy plant based coleslaw dressing. This will be perfect with Ital jerk tofu kebabs.

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Sauces, marinades and dips

Burger sauce (for the fast food freaks)

Missing Maccy D’s? This homemade take on the famous burger sauce recipe will have you shouting ‘I’m lovin’ it.’ What’s more you will likely have most of the ingredients in your store cupboard ready to rock, including those sauce bottles with just a little bit left.

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Red pepper hummus (for some comfort)

This is a flexible recipe, where you can use roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes or some lacklustre parsley to add a burst of colour and flavour to your hummus. 

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Peri peri sauce (for those missing wings)

We like our fakeaway version of peri peri sauce over others we have seen, it uses 10 ingredients, whereas we have seen some that have 20. It uses the whole lemon to reduce food waste and the flavour really bangs. Use this sauce to marinade leftover veg, chicken or fish, nom nom nom.

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Sweet things

Yoghurt fruit ice lollies (for the young and young at heart)

Did you know? 80,000 tonnes of yoghurt is wasted in the UK each year, this is a tragedy, particularly when you think about how many of these delicious ice lollies we could make with it. These lollies are a great way to save yoghurt and fruit for a later date. An amazing treat to whip out of the freezer for you and the kids at a family BBQ or garden picnic.

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Feelin’ fly flapjacks (for the adventurers)

These flapjacks are the perfect waste busting, energy giving - sweet thing. They are flexible enough to include a range of ingredients depending on your tastes and what you have available. A delicious treat for a lunch box, long walk or picnic.

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Sticky lemon and rosemary polenta cake (for summer holiday vibes)

This lemon and rosemary cake uses the whole lemon (juice and zest) to make a zingy cake with a flavour combo that will leave you saying ‘one more slice.'

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Food savvy tip

A tasty way to liven up a limp salad is to mix a dressing in an old jam jar, put all the ingredients in and shake to create an emulsion (but don’t forget to put the lid on).

Quick guide to a vinaigrette dressing:

  • An oil for the base (oil type depends on flavours e.g. olive for European style salads and toasted sesame for Chinese style)
  • Vinegar of choice (e.g. red or white wine vinegar is great in a European style salad, rice wine vinegar would workweek in a Chinese style salad)
  • Mustard for some flavor complexity and creaminess (optional, used more in European style salads)
  • Something sweet (honey, date syrup, maple syrup or coconut molasses to balance the vinegar) 
  • Something for some oomph and texture (e.g. finely chopped shallot, garlic or capers)
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste (soy sauce also works well in Chinese salads)

Dressings are like fashion, change it up to suit your tastes, keep the ingredients sustainable and put it on (the salad) fresh.

Hungry for more?

If it isn't an eating in the garden kind of day, try one of our ten easy dinners. We’ve raided our fridges and spoken to expert chefs to come up with ten totally delicious, super easy dinner recipes. All of our meal ideas have an environmental twist, so get your apron on and we’ll polish your green halo while you’re cooking.

CHECK OUT TEN EASY DINNER RECIPES