Gluten-Free Picnic Foods

Whether you’re with your best friends or your significant other, spending quality time with your family, or simply treating yourself to some much-needed solo R&R, throwing a picnic is one of the dreamiest ways to enjoy a tasty lunch out in the sunshine. 

There are also so many different ways to throw a picnic that go far beyond the basic sandwiches and finger foods, especially if you happen to be gluten-free! Read on for inspiration and recipes the next time you throw a gluten-free picnic. As an added bonus, all of these recipes are also vegan!

Gluten-free appetizers & bites 

  • Vegan Southern Potato Salad - Few things scream outdoor eats quite like a good potato salad! This recipe has everything you love about a classic Southern-style potato salad, but is made with plant-based ingredients and is gluten-free to boot. 
  • Stuffed Mushrooms - Another delicious party favorite, minus the gluten! These tasty stuffed mushrooms are made with a healthy mix of gluten-free bread crumbs, veggie sausage, and a fresh mix of veggies for taste and texture. 
  • Peatos - Sometimes, nothing will do like a good, flavorful chip. But unfortunately, so many of them contain gluten that it can be hard to satisfy that craving! Luckily, Peatos chips were specially designed to be the healthy but tasty alternative for your deepest chip cravings.
  • Savory Vegetable Muffins - If you’re craving something on the denser and more satisfying side, these savory vegetable muffins are an excellent side and breakfast option that you can make in advance and transport easily to your picnic. 
  • BBQ Grilled Tofu Pineapple Kebabs - Your favorite sweet & tangy barbecue flavors, but in picnic-friendly skewer form for fewer utensils and less mess!
  • Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip - If you’re looking for an appetizer that’s as satisfying as it is delicious, spinach dip is your new best friend. This one is creamy, satisfying, and best served warm with the gluten-free vessel of your choice (corn tortilla chips are a great option). 
  • Greek Salad Dip - Fresh veggies? Check. Tangy olives? Check. Dairy-free feta? Check. This delicious layered spread has everything you love about a Greek salad -- but in a super-snackable form! Make sure to pair it with a gluten-free pita chip so that everyone can enjoy this tasty dip. 
  • Gluten & Dairy-Free Charcuterie Board - Finally, if you want that picture-perfect picnic spread, you can’t go wrong with a good charcuterie board! This particular spread is grain-free, gluten-free, and vegan, making it an excellent option for light and delicious bites with a variety of sweet and savory flavors. 

Gluten-free mains for picnics

  • Pea Pesto Grilled Cheese - You don’t have to give up your favorite picnic sandwiches -- you just need to change up the bread! This grilled “cheese” sandwich is made with gluten-free bread and the vegan, dairy-free cheese of your choice, which makes it a perfect sandwich for people with a variety of dietary restrictions. It also features a highly nutritious and easy-to-make pea pesto for the ultimate flavor bomb. 
  • Sun-Dried Tomato, Basil, and Spinach Pinwheels - Pinwheels are a perfect picnic food: they’re light, handheld, and don’t need to be warmed up to enjoy! This recipe is made with a ton of fresh, tangy summer flavors, plus a filling white bean spread to bring it all together. Make sure to use a gluten-free tortilla to wrap it up rather than the usual flour tortilla option. 
  • Mediterranean Quinoa Wraps - Wraps are an excellent alternative option to sandwiches, and are portable enough for any remote picnic locations. This one is made with gluten-free tortillas and is light but satisfying, and packed with nutritious ingredients like quinoa, veggies, and hummus.
  • Cold Italian Gluten-Free Vegan Pasta Salad - Pasta salads are a quintessential picnic favorite since they don’t have to be warmed up to be enjoyed at their fullest. This recipe uses gluten-free pasta to make it friendly for everyone at your picnic. 

Gluten-free desserts 

  • Paleo Pancake Skewers  - These adorable pancake skewers are an excellent option for a brunch picnic, and they’re made with both vegan and gluten-free ingredients! Layer with your favorite fruits for a dessert everyone is sure to love. 
  • Vegan Lemon Bars  - Lemon bars are an excellent picnic dessert because they’re light, zingy, and perfect for enjoying while you’re out soaking up the sun. This recipe is made using a gluten-free flour blend for all the deliciousness without the risk of triggering gluten or wheat sensitivities. 

    If you would like something that is pre-made, you can order ready-to-eat energy bars.

  • No Bake Snickerdoodles - Perfectly spiced with cinnamon and dusted with sugar, snickerdoodles are tried-and-true favorites for taking on your picnic. This recipe is made with only five simple ingredients, none of which contain grains or animal-based ingredients, so it’s a great option no matter what your dietary needs may be. 
  • Gluten-Free Vegan Apple Hand Pies - You can’t get much more adorable or delicious than these! These gluten-free apple hand pies are showstopping and tasty to boot, plus they’re a lot easier to make than you might think. They also require zero utensils, so they’re great for a picnic! 

FYI: What you should know about gluten 

Gluten is a type of protein found in certain grains like wheat, rye, and barley. It’s an important structural component of the foods that it’s found in; for example, gluten is the protein responsible for allowing bread dough to rise and “stretch” during the baking process. 

Unfortunately, some people have medical conditions that result in adverse reactions when eating gluten. For example: 

  • Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disorder in which your body can’t tolerate any gluten. If you have Celiac disease and eat gluten, your immune system sees gluten as a threat and causes a harmful inflammatory reaction. 
  • Gluten sensitivity, or gluten intolerances, are also an issue for some people. In these cases, people might experience uncomfortable reactions like nausea, headaches, bloating, and “brain fog” upon eating gluten. 

Avoiding eating gluten

If you find that you have an adverse reaction when eating gluten, it’s best to avoid it altogether, which means that you should get to know what kinds of foods and ingredients contain gluten in the first place. 

Some of the most common ingredients you should be on the lookout for that contain gluten include: 

  • Wheat 
  • Barley
  • Rye 
  • Wheat berries
  • Couscous
  • Farro
  • Spelt 
  • Wheat flour 
  • Bread (especially whole wheat, flatbreads, and flour tortillas) 
  • Crackers 

It’s especially important to keep an eye out if you’re buying processed foods, since they may contain gluten somewhere in the ingredients! For the best results and the ultimate peace of mind, look out for gluten-free labels and certifications. 


There are few things quite as nice as grabbing a delicious spread and enjoying a relaxing day out in nature. With these gluten-free picnic recipes, you’ll be able to throw a gorgeous and tasty picnic without compromise! 

Featured image credit: Photo by Olya Kobruseva:


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