Summer is in full swing in Denver, Colorado. Which means retreats to one of the many city parks and weekend escapes to the mountains.  All of which are perfect for picnics. Being gluten free it can be a little intimidating to pack a picnic. The go to ham and cheese sandwiches just don’t seem to do the trick. I have put together my ultimate gluten free picnic packing list with recipes to share ideas of how to pack a healthy picnic with all the indulgent, delicious flavors you want when enjoying an afternoon hang on a summer’s day.  This list is a great spring board to show how to put a picnic together, and there is a lot of room for creativity. You can really use any mason jar salad, or salad from ATC as your main course.  I am a big fan of this chicken BLT salad with creamy honey mustard dressing as you get all the flavors of indulgent sandwiches without the carbs. The watermelon caprese is my go to picnic and summer potluck recipe. Tomorrow I am taking it to a girl’s pool day, with a lovely bottle of rose’. So summery. The veggie crudités are really refreshing and crunchy.  They feel fresh out of the garden. In my case the green goddess hummus is straight from my garden as are the carrot.  But even if they are store bought, you will feel like you are eating out of a summer garden.  For a sweet note, I like having the blueberries and goat cheese with my favorite gluten free crackers. 

For this picnic my dear friend, Claire, and I headed to Denver’s Cheesman park for a shady reprieve from the summer heat. Complete with our lovely straw picnic basket and blanket from West Elm, we cozied up to a tree in the park with a crisp chilled bottle of rose.

Below are some photos from our magical bestie picnic, along with recipes and a packing list for the perfect gluten free picnic. 

What do you pack in your picnics? Where are your favorite places to picnic? Can’t wait to hear of your adventures.

Picnic basket and blanket both from West Elm. 

Picnic basket and blanket both from West Elm. 

The Gluten Free Picnic Packing List

  • picnic basket and blanket (ours are from West Elm.)
  • rose’ or white wine, really chilled. (throw in freezer for 15 minutes before you leave for added chill factor)
  • sparkling waters or regular waters. Previously chilled.
  • plates, forks, and wine glasses.
  • napkins
  • a tray to set wine and drinks on. (this clear acrylic tray is from West Elm.)
  • Cutting Board and cheese knife. (This cutting board from Crate & Barrel.)
  • mason jar salads and snacks.  (These are labeled with chalk top mason jar lids from Amazon.)
  • goat cheese, blueberries and gluten free crackers.

Non-food Items to Pack

  • paper towels
  • sunscreen
  • bug spray
  • wine opener
  • sunglasses or hats

Chicken BLT Salad with creamy honey mustard dressing

makes 2 mason jar salads.

  • 1/2 a rotisserie chicken, pulled apart.
  • 4 pieces of cooked bacon, torn.
  • 3/5 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half.
  • 2 cups of green lettuce, washed and chopped.
  • honey mustard dressing (recipe below)

Assemble all ingredients from bottom of jar. First put dressing, then tomatoes, lettuce, chicken and finally bacon.  Shake up the jar before serving.

Creamy Honey Mustard Dressing

makes about 1 and 1/4 cups. I use it on salads for about a week or so after this recipe. It’s great with almost any summer salad.

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup dijon mustard 
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • juice of half a lemon.
  • salt and pepper to taste.

Mix all ingredients by a whisk or fork. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Watermelon Caprese Salad

makes two mason jars.

  • 2 cups of chopped watermelon chunks.
  • 1/2 cup of feta, crumbled.
  • 1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half.
  • 1/2 cup of fresh basil leaves.
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil.
  • 2 tablespoons of sherry vinegar. 

Mix the oil and vinegar together. Pour half into each jar. Fill the jar first with tomatoes, then watermelon, then basil. Top with feta cheese. Shake up the jar before serving.

Vegetable Crudités with Green Goddess Hummus

Makes two small mason jars with leftover hummus.

  • 1 cup snap peas
  • 4 heirloom carrots, cut in halves.
  • 2 pieces of celery, cut in half, and thinly sliced.
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, washed and rinsed.
  • 2 tablespoons of tahini.
  • juice of a lemon.
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup tarragon
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1/2 cup parsley

Wash vegetables, chop appropriately, and set aside. Place all remaining ingredients in a food processor and mix. You can add a dash of water for desired thickness. Place 1/4 cup hummus in bottom of each jar. Place veggies inside. (Making a group of these at the beginning of the week makes for an easy grab and go snack.





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