We regularly pull together some great Canadian recipes from Canadian food bloggers around the web featuring one main ingredient or dish. Today it's time to celebrate our nation's birthday with some great red and white Canada Day picnic and potluck recipe ideas!

Over 10 Canada Day Picnic and Potluck Ideas | Food Bloggers of Canada


Editor's Note: This article is sponsored by Half Your Plate. Filling half your plate with fruit and veggies at every meal or snack is an oh so easy way to help ensure a healthy diet!

Canada Day is fast approaching and what better way to celebrate our nation's birthday than with a party?! Canada Day always feels like the official start to summer. And you can't have summer without picnics and potlucks!

For your Canada Day event you have to think red and white! We've got lots of red and white dish ideas here for you but you can also get creative on your own with cherries, red peppers, a plethora of tomato varieties, strawberries, raspberries, rhubarb, radishes and cauliflower (just to name a few)!

The Keys To A Great Picnic Dish

There are three keys to a great picnic dish:

  • it's portable - it packs up easily with no muss or fuss
  • you can eat it with your hands!
  • it's food safe

For portability think about items that pack up nicely in containers.  Instead of a whole cake, make little single serve desserts like the Canada Day 3 Milk Strawberry Cake - it turns into parfaits you can pack in individual containers. Pack salads and dressings in separate containers so you can drizzle the dressing on just before eating. Get creative and turn recipes on their heads. The Caprese Bites turn a Caprese Salad into cute little portable bites on skewers.

Think of what you can eat with your hands. Fresh fruit and veggies with dips are a great choice.  Roasted Pepper Hand Pies and Roast Veggie Wraps are heartier items that are still easy to eat with your hands. Maple Leaf watermelon slices are so easy to make and they pack up in a container with no fuss.

Remember to be food safe.  Pack picnic items that need to stay cool in a cooler that's got lots of ice. Thermoses will keep cold drinks cold outside of a cooler.  Avoid foods that use mayo or eggs which can can spoil very quickly in hot weather if you don't have immediate access to a fridge.

The Keys To A Great Potluck Dish

For potlucks think of casserole style dishes that are easy to serve family style.  It makes life so much easier for your hosts if all they need to do is put your dish out on the table with a serving spoon.  And it makes cleanup easier if all they need to do is hand you back your dish at the end of the night with any leftovers still in it.  Salads like the Cherry Walnut Couscous Salad are a good fit, or a Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp for dessert.

Pack salad dressings on the side so your salads don't get soggy.  Avoid dishes that need to be reheated for a summer potluck. Nobody wants to turn the oven on when it's 30 degrees outside.

Think food safe for summer potlucks as well. If it's a great party and people are busy enjoying themselves it can be easy to forget to pop a mayo based dish in the fridge after an hour - and people have a tendency to graze all night long at a potluck.  You don't want anyone to get sick.

If your dish has common allergens like nuts in it, make a little label or card for your hosts to put out next to it.  If it's a vegan or gluten-free dish you can do the same thing - those guests will appreciate it!

Make the Most of Summer Fruits and Veggies

We all need we need to be eating more plants. Even Canada's Food Guide has told us bring more plants into our diets and if there's ever a time where it's so easy to fill Half Your Plate with vegetables and fruits at every meal, it's summer.  Local produce is at it's peak in Canada.

Fruits and veggies are the perfect portable snack for taking with you on a picnic - whether it's a handful of BC cherries or a juicy Ontario peach or a container of cucumber slices (don't forget, most fruits and veg come in their very own packaging provided by Mother Nature!).

Go beyond the green salad and get wildly creative with salad dishes during the summer - they're great for a potluck or a picnic.

Happy Canada Day!

1. Strawberry Watermelon Vanilla Popsicles

by Half Your Plate

Strawberry Watermelon Vanilla Popsicles

These cheerful Strawberry Watermelon Vanilla Popsicles by Half Your Plate are the perfect colour combo for a Canada Day potluck - and what's a summer celebration without a popsicle?

2. Cherry Walnut Couscous Salad

by The Food Blog

Cherry Walnut Couscous Salad | The Food Blog

Canada Day lands right smack in the middle of cherry season in Canada so now is the time to make the most of these summer jewels! This fresh Cherry Walnut Couscous Salad from The Food Blog made with fresh BC Cherries is a perfect portable picnic dish!

3. Canada Day Three Milk Cake With Strawberries

by In The Kitch

Canada Day Three Milk Strawberry Cake | In The Kitch
This is how you serve cake at a potluck - in single serve glasses! We love this red and white Canada Day Three Milk Strawberry Cake from In The Kitch!

4. Roasted Veggie Wraps

by Food Bloggers of Canada

Roasted Veggie Wrap | Food Bloggers of Canada

Wrap up some wraps! Roll up our Roasted Veggie Wraps in some parchment paper for a fun picnic entree. Drizzle them with tahini sauce just before eating for a finger friendly dish!

5. Focaccia With Cherry Tomatoes and Oregano

by SugarLoveSpices

Focaccia with Cherry Tomatoes and Oregano | SugarLoveSpices

This is an example of a simple dish that soars when you use the best quality ingredients. Make the most of summer cherry tomatoes with fresh oregano in SugarLoveSpices Focaccia with Cherry Tomatoes with Oregano.

6. Caprese Salad Bites

from Food Meanderings

Caprese Salad Skewers | Food Meanderings

Make Caprese Salad portable with these really fun Caprese Salad skewers from Food Meanderings.  They're cute, tasty and the perfect colour combo for Canada Day!

7. Red Pepper Dip

by Tea & Mangos

Syrian Muhammara Red Pepper Dip | Tea and Mangoes

Every party needs a good dip and Tea & Mangoes Syrian Muhammara Red Pepper Dip will fit the bill - perfect with veggies, crackers, a baguette... and easy to transport to your potluck.

8. Strawberry Caprese Salad

by The Food Blog

Strawberry Caprese Salad | The Food Blog

Here's a fun twist on the traditional Caprese Salad - a Strawberry Caprese Salad from The Food Blog. It's still the perfect Canada colour scheme!

9. Quick Roast Pepper and Tomato Hand Pies

by Half Your Plate

Roated Pepper and Tomato Hand Pies | Half Your Plate

When it comes to picnics and potlucks, portability is key but so is being able to eat with your hands! These flaky Quick Roast Pepper and Tomato Hand Pies from Half Your Plate are a great choice!

10. Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

by The Kitchen Fairy

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp | The Kitchen Fairy

Strawberries and Rhubarb are the quintessential fruit combo for Canada Day and they pair together perfectly in a Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp like this luscious one from The Kitchen Fairy!

11. Maple Leaf Watermelon Slices

by Food Bloggers of Canada

Maple Leaf Watermelon Slices | Food Bloggers of Canada

This is the easiest picnic dessert ever - just use a maple leaf shaped cookie cutter and use it to cut out watermelon pieces. Pack them in a portable container and hand them out for a refreshing and hydrating dessert or snack! It's part of our FBC Canada Day menu.


For more great plant forward recipe ideas as well as information on Canada's new food guide and tips for buying, storing and using produce head over to Half Your Plate!

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