There’s something about a picnic in the park or enjoying a lunch at the beach that makes everything taste better. With this warm weather, now is the season to head outside for mouth-watering al fresco dining. As picnicking embraces the splendid outdoors, it’s nice to have a menu reflect the same. So, let’s check out three simple, make-ahead barley dishes that are ideal for your next picnic or outdoor dining experience.

Barley Granola Bars

Barley granola bars are a simple, nourishing snack that will keep the kids energized at the park as they play Frisbee, soccer or explore. Prepared with barley flakes, coconut, dried cranberries and dark chocolate chips these bars can be made in bulk, then portioned and frozen until the day of the picnic. These portable essentials go well with seasonal fruit, berries, and even artisan cheeses for the grown-ups at the picnic too. Enjoy them as you listen to music and read in the shade under trees in the park.

Jane’s Meal Planning Tip
As you plan a menu for your picnic, figure out exactly what foods, like these barley granola bars, are al fresco dining friendly and portable.

Crunchy Barley Salad with Ginger Sesame Dressing

This refreshing, cool and fragrant recipe can be prepared in advance for a ready-to-go picnic entrée. Made with whole grain barley, celery, green onions, sweet pepper (I like to use a yellow one for extra colour), and grated carrots, this salad is both crunchy and chewy—and a great option for vegetarians too. The Asian-inspired dressing is light and fresh with Crunchy Barley Salad with Ginger Sesame Dressing minced ginger, sesame oil and rice vinegar. Grain-based salads hold up well in the warm weather and this one always taste better the next day!

Jane’s Meal Planning Tip
Keep food safety top of mind. If you don’t already own a portable cooler and ice packs you’ll want to buy them or borrow them before the day of the picnic.

Prairie Streusel Topped Cake

Summery standouts like this streusel cake with Saskatoon berries and sliced rhubarb reinforce seasonal deliciousness and are a must-have for any picnic. This sharable dessert is packing some tasty antioxidant action with four cups of Saskatoon berries and one cup of sliced rhubarb. This cake is made with whole barley flour, which gives the streusel Prairie Streusel Topped Cake 2 topping a richer, nuttier flavour. An easy to make cake with 10 servings, it can be enjoyed at room temperature or even chilled.

Jane’s Meal Planning Tip
Whether your picnic is a romantic date or a fun-filled family event, take advantage of healthy and colourful seasonal ingredients by including them on your menu.

Barley Bottom-line
Pack up these scrumptious barley bars, salad and cake, along with your favourite drinks, picnic essentials, sunscreen and games, and then head outdoors for a lovely al fresco meal.