Well-Prepared: Garden Lunch Recipes (2024)

Well-Prepared: Garden Lunch Recipes (1)

Who says a picnic has to involve baskets, blankets and buckets? These delicious dishes are elegant enough to serve on your finest china -- indoors or out!

Advertisem*nt - Continue Reading Below


Dreaming up the menu

Well-Prepared: Garden Lunch Recipes (2)

A designer of diverse talents, Ryan Gainey delights not only in creating a garden setting and charming earthenware dishes, but also in collaborating with friends to concoct a meal around it. "It's all about serendipity—combining people and things to create something that is so much more than the sum of its parts," he says.

Advertisem*nt - Continue Reading Below


Arugula Salad

Well-Prepared: Garden Lunch Recipes (3)

Ryan Gainey created this recipe. He also oversaw garden and event design for the party.

Serves 6


1 garlic clove, peeled
1 small red onion, peeled and minced
3 ripe tomatoes, diced
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
sea salt, preferably gray, to taste
freshly ground pepper, preferably a mix of black, red and white peppercorns
6 cups arugula, washed, thoroughly dried and coarsely torn
½ cup olive oil, preferably DaVero or Moulin Jean-Marie Cornille


wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano to grate at table


1. Crush garlic clove in wooden salad bowl. Add onion and tomatoes; dress with vinegar, herbes de Provence, salt and pepper. Let marinate at least ½ hour at room temperature. When ready to serve, add arugula and olive oil to bowl; toss thoroughly to coat. Serve immediately. Pass wedge of cheese with coarse grater or vegetable peeler so guests may add desired amount.


Creamy Artichoke Soup

Well-Prepared: Garden Lunch Recipes (4)

Alison Lueker, owner and executive chef of Sun in My Belly Café in Atlanta, created this recipe.

Serves 6


1 tablespoon butter
1 small yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup dry vermouth
16 ounces canned artichoke hearts, drained
3 cups low-salt chicken broth
2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest
¼ cup whipping cream
¼ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, shredded (about 2 ounces)
salt and freshly ground black pepper



4 fresh baby artichokes, washed
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
fresh chives, chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add vermouth and simmer until all liquid evaporates, about 4 minutes. Add artichoke hearts, broth and lemon zest; simmer until artichokes begin to fall apart, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and cool slightly. Working in batches, purée soup in blender until smooth. (This recipe can be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead. Purée should be covered and refrigerated.)

2. Over medium heat, warm soup and whisk in whipping cream and cheese, stirring constantly until cheese melts and soup is smooth, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Slice artichokes thinly and sauté over medium-high heat in 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil until golden brown on both sides. Season lightly with salt—artichokes are already salty—and pepper.


Ladle soup into heated bowls. Add the artichoke slices if using. Garnish with chives. Serve immediately.

Advertisem*nt - Continue Reading Below


Ingredients make for an eye-catching centerpiece

Well-Prepared: Garden Lunch Recipes (5)

Artichokes, asparagus, and eggplants provide lush color for the center of the table. It's an easy way to celebrate the meal's seasonal ingredients while decorating the space.

Gainey calls this area his "Temple Garden," which he fashioned from the ruins of an old greenhouse. The dining room is loosely created from an iron gazebo and potted boxwood in terra cotta pots on a gravel floor.

Advertisem*nt - Continue Reading Below


Melanzane Pie

Well-Prepared: Garden Lunch Recipes (6)

Penelope Smith created this recipe for the luncheon.

Serves 6



8 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
32 ounces canned, chopped tomatoes in juice
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, crushed
½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground


1. In large saucepan over medium heat, heat olive oil and sauté onion, stirring occasionally, until transparent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes, reducing heat if needed to prevent burning. Stir in tomatoes and juice, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes and black pepper; bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened, about 15 minutes. (Recipe can be made in advance up to this point. Refrigerate up to 2 days.)



2-3 medium eggplants, about 3 pounds, tops and bottoms removed, sliced lengthwise into ¼" slices
5 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
sunflower oil


1. Lightly salt both sides of eggplant slices. Place in shallow pan 15 minutes to draw out moisture. Beat eggs lightly. Place eggs and flour in separate shallow pans. Remove eggplant and wipe with paper towel to remove moisture; set aside.

2. In skillet over medium heat, pour sunflower oil to cover bottom; heat. Dip 2 or 3 eggplant slices in beaten eggs; dip in flour to coat, and fry until brown on both sides. Remove from oil and drain between layers of paper towel. Wipe skillet clean. Add oil between each addition of eggplant slices. Repeat until all slices are browned.


olive oil
5 whole large basil leaves
3 ounces grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
16 ounces large, fresh mozzarella balls, packed in water, drained and sliced ¼" thick
3-4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil


1. Preheat oven to 450°. Use olive oil to grease ovenproof ceramic or metal dish at least 8" in diameter and 6" deep. Arrange basil leaves on pan bottom.

2. Layer enough eggplant slices over basil leaves to cover bottom of pan completely, filling in gaps by slightly overlapping with smaller slices or cut pieces. Spread about 2½ tablespoons tomato sauce over eggplant. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Top with portion of mozzarella rounds. Sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon chopped basil. Repeat layering, beginning and ending with layer of eggplant and pressing lightly each time, until layers reach top of pan. (Recipe can be prepared up to this point 1 to 2 days ahead and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before cooking.)

3. Bake eggplant at 450° until sauce bubbles around the edges and the top is brown, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven. Cool for 30 minutes.


Run knife around edges to loosen pie completely. Place serving platter on top; turn over to unmold and remove pie. Cut into serving pieces with serrated knife.

Advertisem*nt - Continue Reading Below


Well-Prepared: Garden Lunch Recipes (7)

"In all things, I work in a rustic vernacular," says Gainey, who draws upon his upbringing in South Carolina and passion for plants when designing tableware and events.

Advertisem*nt - Continue Reading Below


Fresh Blackberry Shortcake

Well-Prepared: Garden Lunch Recipes (8)

This is a variation on a recipe from the book The Gift of Southern Cooking (Knopf) co-authored by Edna Lewis and Scott Peaco*ck. Chef Peaco*ck makes his own baking powder.

Serves 6


¼ cup cream of tartar
2 tablespoons baking soda


Sift both ingredients together 3 times. Transfer to jar and seal tightly. If made in advance, store at room temperature away from sunlight.


2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon Homemade Baking Powder (see recipe above)
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ cup unsalted butter, cut into ½" pieces
¾ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar cubes (about 4 cubes), crushed


1. Preheat oven to 450°. In mixing bowl, combine flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt; stir well with wire whisk to blend. Using fingers or 2 forks, quickly work butter into flour mixture until roughly the texture of oatmeal with some larger lumps remaining. Make a well in center of flour mixture; pour in cream. Stir until just blended, adding a little more cream if dough is too crumbly and dry.

2. Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface; knead briefly but assertively 5 or 6 times. Roll out dough to ¾" thickness. With floured fork, prick surface of dough all over at roughly 1" intervals, taking care that fork goes all the way through dough.

3. Stamp out rounds of dough using 3" biscuit cutter, plunging straight down through dough and not twisting. Set aside rounds. Press scraps together and cut more rounds, making total of 6. Place rounds close together on parchment or Teflon-coated baking sheet. Sprinkle crushed sugar cubes over the top.

4. Bake in middle of preheated oven until cakes are light golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Cool briefly on wire rack.


1½ cups heavy cream
1½ tablespoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Pour all ingredients into cold mixing bowl. Using handheld whisk, whip in circular motion only until cream thickens to soft consistency that barely mounds and holds shape. It should not form peaks. Use immediately.


3 cups fresh blackberries, rinsed and drained
granulated sugar to taste
pinch of kosher salt


1. Reserve a few blackberries for garnish. Sprinkle sugar and salt over remainder; toss gently. Cover and let sit 10 minutes to dissolve sugar and release some juice.


Split warm cakes. Divide remaining blackberries over bottom half of each cake. Cover generously with whipped cream and top with remaining cake half. Garnish with reserved blackberries. Serve while cakes are still warm.

Well-Prepared: Garden Lunch Recipes (2024)


What should I serve for a garden party? ›

Garden party recipes
  • Vegan burger. A star rating of 3.7 out of 5. ...
  • Virgin piña colada. A star rating of 4.4 out of 5. ...
  • Vegan pulled BBQ jackfruit. A star rating of 4 out of 5. ...
  • Sticky chicken drumsticks & sesame rice salad. A star rating of 4.7 out of 5. ...
  • Raspberry sorbet. ...
  • Ginger spritz. ...
  • Easy vegan tacos. ...
  • Vegan sausage rolls.

What can be prepared for lunch? ›

Lunch Recipes
  • Biryani Rice Recipe (Kuska Rice)
  • Veg Biryani | Vegetable Biryani.
  • Ghee Rice Recipe.
  • Mango Rice Recipe.
  • Pudina Rice | Mint Rice.
  • Tomato Rice Recipe (Indian Style)
  • Akki Roti (Rice Flour Roti)
  • Tomato Bath Recipe.

What to make for a lunch gathering? ›

Gathering Food to Feed a Crowd
  • Party Size Lasagna. ...
  • French Onion Beef Sliders For A Crowd - Host The Toast. ...
  • Strawberries and Cream Bars (+Video) ...
  • How to Make the Best Burger Board | Build-your-Own Burger Board. ...
  • Greek Chicken Skewers | Life Made Sweeter. ...
  • Baked Garlic Chicken Thighs in Creamy Lemon Sauce | Best Recipe Box.

How do you throw a garden party on a budget? ›

Hosting a potluck is a great way to throw a backyard party on a budget—and when guests bring their own food, there's sure to be something everyone will enjoy. Host a summer potluck and have your guests bring in a dish of their choice—this way, you'll save money and you won't have to worry about cooking up a storm.

What is a good finger food to bring to a party? ›

Easy Finger Food Recipes to Make Ahead
  • Fried Pickles. Treat your guests to fried pickles for fun finger food ideas. ...
  • Fried Mac and Cheese Rolls. ...
  • Deviled Eggs. ...
  • Honey Garlic Meatballs. ...
  • Garlic Breadsticks. ...
  • Salted Soft Pretzels. ...
  • Whipped Ricotta Crostini. ...
  • Vietnamese Spring Rolls.
Jan 10, 2024

What is the healthiest thing to eat for lunch? ›

Healthy People Usually Eat These 7 Things for Lunch
  1. Avocado and egg sandwich. ...
  2. Summer rolls with peanut sauce. ...
  3. Quinoa pear salad with spinach, cranberries and pecans. ...
  4. Protein Salad. ...
  5. Loaded Vegetable Sandwich. ...
  6. Lentil vegetable soup. ...
  7. Chicken burrito bowl with rice and beans.
Aug 30, 2023

Can you make a packed lunch the night before? ›

There's already lots of vegetables out, we simply add some fruit, a yoghurt, perhaps a sandwich and a treat stashed in the freezer and VOILA. We have a healthy lunch box packed and ready to go! Packing lunch boxes the night before to beat the morning rush is a game changer!

What do you serve for lunch for a crowd? ›

One-pot pasta dishes and charcuterie boards are solid choices too, as well as high-protein meals that call for minimal hands-on work, like whole roast chicken or Crockpot pulled pork. Many sheet pan and skillet dishes can also feed up to six people in one fell swoop.

How can I make my lunch in 5 minutes? ›

5-minute meals recipes
  1. Storecupboard pasta salad. A star rating of 4.4 out of 5. ...
  2. Pan-fried camembert sandwich. A star rating of 4.6 out of 5. ...
  3. Prawn & coconut soup. ...
  4. Classic French omelette. ...
  5. Chicken wrap with sticky sweet potato, salad leaves & tomatoes. ...
  6. Creamy tomato courgetti. ...
  7. Speedy tuna pasta salad. ...
  8. Easy pea & mint soup.

What food is served at a Royal garden party? ›

Try the queen's favorite treats are always served

The menu at Garden Parties always consists of cakes, tea sandwiches, and sweet and savory finger foods. According to former royal chef Darren McGrady, the Queen loves a British confection called jam pennies.

What are common party foods? ›

Some examples of party food include mini sandwiches, sliders, chicken wings, meatballs, cheese and charcuterie platters, vegetable and fruit skewers, and various dips and spreads.

What colors to wear to a garden party? ›

Pastel colours like pale yellow, light blue or pink are ideal for a spring outfit. Jeans are a great choice for a garden party as they will give you a smart casual look.

What is served at an English garden party? ›

Delight in Delicious British Fare

Serve a variety of finger sandwiches with classic fillings like cucumber and cream cheese, smoked salmon, and coronation chicken. Offer an array of savory and sweet treats, including scones with clotted cream and jam, Victoria sponge cake, and miniature pies and tarts.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Delena Feil

Last Updated:

Views: 6107

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (45 voted)

Reviews: 84% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Delena Feil

Birthday: 1998-08-29

Address: 747 Lubowitz Run, Sidmouth, HI 90646-5543

Phone: +99513241752844

Job: Design Supervisor

Hobby: Digital arts, Lacemaking, Air sports, Running, Scouting, Shooting, Puzzles

Introduction: My name is Delena Feil, I am a clean, splendid, calm, fancy, jolly, bright, faithful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.