If you’re looking for some inspiration for outdoor cooking and meal ideas, then take a look at our guide. We’ll be suggesting some of the best meals for al fresco dining, as well as serving ideas, and drinks for entertaining. Keep reading if you want to find out more.
The Benefits Of Outdoor Eating
Firstly, what are the benefits of outdoor eating? Choosing to host a meal outside is a great way to get more use out of your land and open it up for entertainment. Outdoor spaces are generally more spacious than trying to host inside your home, so you can cater for larger gatherings of friends and loved ones. If you get good weather, it’s also a way to make the most of this and enjoy the sunshine. It’s been proven that being outside is good for our mental health, so why not combine open and green spaces with socialization and good food? Keep reading to find out more about some of the best meals for outdoor eating.
Tapas is a great way to provide an outdoor meal that can cater to a larger number of people. It originates from Mediterranean countries such as Spain, Italy, and Greece, due to their great weather and love of al fresco dining. The dishes are generally simple but satisfying, making them great options for hosting a party or smaller gathering. It generally consists of lighter snacks, appetizers, and small plates of different dishes. There are different recipe options depending on the region from which you take inspiration for your tapas. Spanish dishes include options such as tortilla de patatas, olives, cured meats, and cheeses. Italian options cover things such as bruschetta, olives and feta, and grilled seafood.
For a simple, easy-to-make meal option that will be likely to keep everyone happy, homemade pizzas are a great option for an outdoor meal. You can even get people involved in choosing their own toppings, and it makes for a great way to entertain children. An outdoor pizza oven from Ooni makes a fantastic addition to your outdoor space. Allowing you to create pizzas quickly and easily. Even better they are portable and easy to use, making them extremely versatile. Making homemade pizzas also gives you the opportunity to help cater to certain dietary needs, such as vegetarians and vegans, as well as using gluten-free dough for those that are gluten intolerant. Having a table of ingredients will allow people to custom design their pizza so you can provide a meal that you know everyone will be happy with.
Barbeque And Grilled Food
When we think of outdoor dining, most of us will automatically think of classic barbeque food, and for good reason. Cooking outside on a grill makes cooking simple, quick, and easy, and allows you to be outside socializing with guests while preparing meals. You are also able to cook larger quantities in one go, which makes it perfect for hosting a party. We all know about the classic burgers and hot dogs, but you could also consider other food options to cook on the grill too. For example, seafood and shellfish can be cooked easily in this way and give another dimension to the classic options. You could even cook vegetarian options such as corn on the cob, and grilled veggies to make kebabs.
During the warmer weather, many of us don’t feel like eating heavier meals outdoors and prefer something a little lighter on the stomach. While many of us might consider salads boring, there are ways to help make them a delicious option for a summer meal. Adding grilled chicken, vegetables, and flavourful dressings can help turn a dull salad into a delicious and filling meal.
Buffets And Self-Serve
If you’re hosting a number of people, then it could be simpler to create a buffet rather than a sit-down meal. This not only makes the process of hosting easier for you but also allows guests to pick and choose what they would like to eat, so they’re more likely to be happy with what they get. Some good options for buffet food include:
- Meats and seafood
- Salad dishes
- Baked potatoes
- Hot dogs
- Pulled pork
It also avoids the issue of overserving as people are able to choose how much they would like to take. The majority of buffet-style food can keep should you find it doesn’t all get used, so there is likely to be wastage.
You’ll also want to provide your guests with something to wash down their meal. Remember to offer non-alcoholic options such as mocktails as well so that nobody feels left out. For a cooling summer cocktail, you could offer drinks such as mojitos or watermelon daiquiris. If you’re having an outdoor party in the cooler months or around Christmas, hot cider and hot chocolates make for a warming and comforting drink.
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