It’s finally nice outside—or, if you live in a more fortunate climate than us New Yorkers, it’s even nicer than it is the rest of the year. It’s picnic season! Sandwiches are the perfect food for a picnic, since they’re so quick to make, and are about as portable as a meal can be. From the ultimate BLT to a towering muffuletta, these are our eight favorite sandwiches to eat at the park on a big blanket, or at the end of a hiking trail. Hoping to impress your picnic date, or otherwise? You can make the multigrain or whole wheat sandwich bread yourself.
We all love bacon, but in this iconic sandwich, it plays a supporting role: The tomatoes are the star of the show. Ideally, you’ll get your hands on some super-sweet, vine-ripened tomatoes, salt them liberally to bring out their flavor, and stack them on bread with crunchy bacon, sweet iceberg lettuce, and creamy mayo.
This sandwich might not be quite as easy to prepare as a BLT, but it’s well worth your time. It’s made with grilled pork loin, miso slaw, and a sweet plum chutney to offset the rich pork. As long as you’re outside grilling, use the heat to toast your bread, and char the plums, scallions, and jalapeños for the chutney.
There are few things more beautiful than the cross section of a muffuletta. Our version of this New Orleans classic features a mountain of soppressata, capicola, mortadella, and provolone, plus a briny olive salad made with capers, roasted red peppers, giardiniera, garlic, and a mix of oil-packed olives. This sandwich is ideal for a relaxed picnic or long hike, because it’s best after the garlicky salad has had an hour to soak into the bread.
This bahn mi might be vegan, but it’s got just as much flavor—and texture—as its pork-filled counterpart. We ensure the tofu gets extra crisp by drying it thoroughly and cooking it over indirect heat. The sandwich bread is smeared with vegan mayo and loaded up with pickled carrots and daikon, fresh cucumber, jalepeño, cilantro, and the tofu.
As much as we love a classic tuna salad sandwich, it’s not ideal picnic food. The mayo mixture quickly works its way through the bread, making for just-a-bit-too-soggy sandwiches. So when our sandwich has to last through a little bit of travel, we make this mayo-free Mediterranean tuna salad sandwich. It features flakey, high quality oil-packed tuna, red wine vinegar-soaked red onions, and a splash of fish sauce or a hit of minced anchovies to bump up the savory flavors.
Roasted beets might not be the most conventional sandwich filler, but you’ll get it once all the components come together. They add a juicy bite, and are balanced by the additions of fresh ginger, raw scallions, tart goat cheese, and a fennel salad. It’s a light, bright sandwich perfect for a picnic.
Building a steak sandwich before you head to the park or on a hike is a true act of self-love. This particular one is layered with a roasted cherry tomato jam, a creamy anchovy- and cheese-spiked sauce, a light salad, pickled onions, and parmesan. It doesn’t come together quite as quickly as some of our other favorites, but you’ll thank yourself when you unwrap it and take your first enormous bite.
As long as you’re on a steak sandwich kick, you might as well—really, you should—try your hand at this Chilean steak and green bean one. It’s simple, featuring only a handful of non-pantry ingredients, making it a great choice for a spontaneous, last minute outing. Gently tenderized steak is slathered with a mayo mixture before it’s grilled, and green beans are blanched until soft but not mushy, then mixed with peperoncini and their flavorful liquid. The steak and green beans are stacked on sturdy sandwich rolls (such as telera or ciabatta) along with juicy tomatoes.
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