Cream cheese tomato and basil sandwich

*Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by BlogHer & Kettle Brand Chips. I was compensated for creating a summer inspired recipe that pairs with the chips. As always, content, photography & opinions are my own.

This cream cheese tomato and basil sandwich is the perfect summertime picnic lunch.

Cream cheese tomato basil sandwich

I grew up a deprived child. My mother hated (and still hates) peanut butter. Do you know what that meant for lunch time in elementary school? No PB&J sandwiches. Ever. Instead, I was the weird kid with cream cheese & jelly sandwiches, on wheat bread and usually with a piece of fruit in my lunchbox instead of whatever cool, highly processed snack was in at the moment. Thanks, mom.

Cream cheese and tomato sandwich

Come the summer time though, jelly got replaced with tomatoes and without any lunchtime kids around to judge the weird creation, I openly loved it.

I have memories of bare feet, swimming pools, playing soccer in the yard and these sandwiches all woven together somewhere in the back of my head. So when I got the chance to talk about what I pack in my summer time picnic basket with Kettle Brand Chips, this combination was the first thing to come to mind.

Except this time, it has an edge of maturity with the addition of basil & balsamic vinegar.

In fact, a few weekends ago we decided to take advantage of the state park not even 5 miles from our house that we’ve never been to in the almost 4 years of living here and packed up a quick lunch to eat on the picnic tables there.

In my bag, a cream cheese, tomato & basil sandwich. In Ulysses’, a peanut butter & jelly. What I used to wish for as a kid now has nothing on my cream cheese combination, go figure.

For Ginger, a lot of pathetic whimpering wishing for a bite of either. And for both of us, a big bag of Sea Salt Kettle Brand Chips.

Kettle Brand Chips are one of the few potato chips I’ll actually eat. Why? Simple, they actually taste like potatoes.

The Sea Salt are my favorite because the ingredient list has 3 things.

Potatoes, salt & oil.

Crazy huh?

A chip whose ingredients you can actually understand. What a novel idea. They were the perfect accompaniment to the cream cheese sandwich with their hint of salt and perfect crunch. Too bad mom didn’t know about these back in the day because I’m pretty sure they would’ve met her “whole” foods/all natural standards for lunch box inclusion.

I’m betting the jealousy roles at the lunch table would have been reversed too.

Chips > handi snacks.

Cream cheese sandwich with tomatoes and basil




    1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

      Sorry, Jan! It’s through Blogher so I don’t have control over that part of it unfortunately.

  1. Ally

    Picnics are the best!!! Especially if you can actually pack everything in a basket and sit on a blanket (as opposed to a park bench and walmart sacks).

    My favorite thing to bring on picnics:
    -Grilled Chicken Wraps
    -Sweet Potato Fries
    -Fruit Infused Water

    Chicken Wraps

    -Whole Gran Tortillas
    -Deli Chicken Breast
    -Fat Free Ranch Dressing
    -Grated Cheddar Cheese
    -Olive Oil

    Heat olive oil in a grill pan (skillet with grill lines, used often to make panini’s) on medium heat. While the skillet is heating, lay the tortilla flat and sprinkle the cheese over the entire thing. Next, place the deli meat throughout the center of the tortilla. Add chopped tomatoes and lettuce along side the chicken. Add a line or two of ranch across the top. Place the tortilla with all of its toppings on the heated pan. When the cheese becomes melted, carefully remove the tortilla and place it on a plate. Once the tortilla has cooled enough for you to touch it, take the bottom end of the tortilla and fold it up about a quarter of the length of the tortilla, followed by rolling one side until you have a “burrito” fold. Place the wrap back on the pan, fold side down, just for a minute or so to ensure the wrap holds closed. Wrap in foil and place in your basket!

    Note: A regular skillet or pan can be used to make these, I just really enjoy the crispy grill lines :)

    Sweet Potato Fries:
    I have made so many different recipes for these fries trying to find the perfect ones, and I think that I have recently found it! I like my fries to be more on the crispy side as opposed to the soggy or soft side, and this recipe is it!
    View it here:

    Make sure to wash the grapes before you pack them, and cut your watermelon (cubed watermelon tends to be less messy than slices). Add some lemon, berries, mint, or cucumbers to your water before you head out and by the time you reach your destination your water will be flavourful and refreshing!


  2. Nikki

    My go to picnic meal these days is:
    – Smoked Salmon or Trout from the local smokehouse
    – Low Sodium Triscuits
    – Bag of baby carrots
    – apples
    – homemade pickle wedges
    – hunk of cheddar, gouda, or munster
    – bottles of cold water
    Nothing tastes better after a morning of hiking the shores of Lake Superior.

  3. Kayla

    My favorite picnic essentials are sandwiches stuffed with turkey, avocado, mixed greens, and tomato slices! I also love to pack homemade granola bars, apples, and Chobani greek yogurt cups! Water with fresh lemon or lime slices too!

  4. Sarah

    We always throw together sandwiches/wraps with whatever veggies we have on hand, but the one constant is popcorn! Sounds silly, but it’s the multi-purpose food – you can eat it and feed it to the ducks!

    We usually like to take some frozen strawberry lemonade with us, too (TJ’s low cal lemonade blended with frozen strawberries). Super easy!

  5. Lindsay

    When my friends and I picnic (or tailgate :)), we usually have sandwiches/wraps, veggies and fruit. Oh, and always pirate booty!

  6. Lisa Brown

    I would have sparkling water, potato salad, french bread, cheese, chocolate chip cookies, deli meats.
    jslbrown_03 at yahoo dot com

  7. Aparna B.

    I was the weird lunchbox kid too, but now I love it! I’m all about pairing a wheat cracker, slimwich, etc., laughing cow cheese wedge with tomatoes and a little cracked black pepper on top. Yum! My picnic basket go-tos? Anything you can eat with your hands and without cutting: grape tomatoes, cheese slices, crackers, wine (screw-top!), sweets!

  8. Emily M.

    My go to picnic lunch is turkey and avocado sandwiches. We usually do some fresh veggies and either tortilla or potato chips. Kettle Sea Salt potato chips are my favorite too.

  9. Christine

    My picnic basket has to include sparkling lemonade and sliced watermelon. Everything else in optional ; )

  10. Christine P

    No Peanut Butter as a child?!? I am so sorry! My picnic basket actually includes peanut butter… I up the typical PB&J sandwich by grilling it, like a grilled cheese sandwich (usually on the Foreman), so it all stays together and is a little crispy!

  11. Naomi M

    I don’t remember the last time I’ve been on a real picnic, but whenever I go hiking I usually pack myself a little snack/lunch to eat at some point. I love munching on carrots, apples, pretzels, and dried mangoes :)

  12. Nicole F.

    I’m a big fan of a snacking picnic so veggies and fruit, hummus and crackers, and a few different pasta, quinoa, or bean salads! Yet simplicity is easily just as yummy: baguette, cheese, and wine : )

  13. Christina K

    My basket would be filled with light, refreshing foods: salad, berries, sparkling lemon water, and some sweet treat!

  14. Brenda

    I used to live in Australia and we would always picnic after checking out the amazing farmer’s markets…the typical spread included seasonal fruits, yummy dips–sweet chili apricot was my favorite, and some turkish bread for dipping.

  15. kayla

    i include usually a salad, with some sort of meat, a fun drink like coconut water and some dark chocolate. mhmmm!

  16. Storme Dorenkamp

    Whole wheat bread, thin sliced turkey, lettuce, tomato, mustard, cheddar cheese…. we like to build our sandwiches fresh when we picnic… we do take peanut butter and jelly sandwiches too but they are for dessert :-) sometimes we take chips… I will be sure to try these kettle brand sea salt ones this Sunday. ..and we love to take watermelon too!

    Love your site! Thanks so much for your personality and your recipes!

  17. Allie

    I always bring lots of water that I flavor myself with limes and lemons, and a whole wheat turkey sandwich with brie!

  18. Katey

    A wrap. One of my favorites from school – I was often kid with weird food, but my friends loved it… they would trade me my real food for their processed food. To this day my favorite wrap is simple… made on a whole wheat tortilla with cream cheese slathered on, then some turkey breast, tomato, romaine, mushrooms, and pickle. hmmm!

  19. Rachel @ Baked by Rachel

    I can’t believe you were deprived of pb as a kid and didn’t even have an allergy to it. How awful! Glad you found love in another sandwich though. And even though I know this totally isn’t anywhere close to what you have pictured above – you have me craving a tuna sandwich so I guess that’s what I’d have to pack in my picnic basket (say it like yogi though k?) ;)

  20. Renee C.

    I love picnics!

    We like to bring wine, brie cheese, a baguette, grapes, figs and dates, dried apricots, hummus, crackers, and some type of pasta salad:)

  21. Meighan

    My picnic basket includes:
    – a cucumber and avocado lemon salad
    – grilled steak made from the night before
    – sweet potatoes
    – watermelon
    – water bottles

  22. Elaine

    I’m all about the pressed sandwiches for picnics myself; some crusty bread, a layer of pesto & mayo, boiled potato slices, hardboiled egg slices, tuna, olives, and greens all smushed under a cast-iron skillet for a few hours. Sandwich perfection!

  23. Liz

    Potato chips are a must for any picnic! A fun tradition my parents had (that I hadn’t thought about in ages) was stopping at the grocery deli to get a rotisserie chicken, mashed potatoes and corn for a quick and easy ‘picnic’ that required zero time or clean-up in their kitchen and was so fun to bring to state parks.

  24. Laura

    darn I’m canadian and can’t be entered in the draw, but we always had our tomatoes separate from our sandwiches so our bread wouldn’t be soggy by the time we went to eat!

  25. Jam

    I would definitely include some type of raw salad, like a romaine lettuce and celery salad with a vinegar mustard sauce/dressing. Maybe add some strawberries for some sweetness!

  26. Stephanie V.

    In my picnic basket is cheese, crackers, red wine, kettle chips (honey Dijon is my fave) and nuts and chocolate
    tvollowitz at aol dot com

  27. Priscilla P

    Picnics always make me long for hanami (flower viewing) picnics in Japan!
    I’d pack onigiri with various fillings (salmon, umeboshi, bonito flakes), croquettes, rolled egg omelet, and seaweed salad!

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  29. Kelsey

    my picnic includes a whole wheat sandwich with ham and turkey and veggies. then, a ton of fresh fruit to go with it!! :)

  30. charj

    I include veggie wraps or sandwiches with sprouts, lettuce, tomato, avocado and cucumbers; potato chips or tortilla chips and lemonade

  31. sarah

    muffaleta sandwiches! my mom always made them growing up and still does. we call them “muffies” :)

  32. Elena Vo

    An assortment of cheeses and meats, fruit, and when I’m feeling fancy, chocolate-dipped bananas (THE.BEST.).

  33. cw

    I always include something sweet (like summer fruit) and something salty (like chips), cheese, bread, and wine.

  34. Veronica

    ha i loved your story about pb + j’s. i never had them growing up either because my dad is from argentina (definitely never ate pb in his life). i usually had leftover dinners for lunch which, let me tell ya, were notttt impressive to other elementary kids! haha i love kettle chips too though! i would probably pack a sliced egg & veggie sammie :) + chips obvi

  35. Cait's Plate

    Oooh love this! I always have some type of chip/bread and a dip in my picnic basket – it’s the easiest thing to pack and you don’t need utensils!

  36. Janet

    I was a weird kid too! I took that only my sandwich was on white bread. Thanks for the giveaway! I usually pack things for a picnic like cheese, fruit, some type of chips, and water.

  37. Ashley C

    I include chicken salad sandwiches, fresh strawberries, chocolate milk boxes, and whole wheat crackers with white cheddar cheese!


  38. Anastasia

    On picnics with the kids, there are always PB&J’s, chips, fruit and soda :) Then we add other stuff based on what we have or what’s on sale :)

  39. sharonjo

    I would probably go pretty traditional—turkey sandwiches, chips of course, fresh fruit, brownies. Thanks!

  40. Tammy

    Egg salad (on toast, in a wrap, or on a bed colorful greens) is ALWAYS a must! I put celery, chopped dill pickles, green onions, avocado (sub for mayo), spicy mustard, pepper, a dash of cumin, and semi hard boiled eggs in it. I could eat this for days.

  41. Nadine L

    It varies, but the go to is usually cold grilled chicken, my homemade macaroni salad and a fruit salad

  42. Sarah

    We always have fruit, a mayo free salad and sandwiches. Thanks for the post, I am always on the lookout for a new sandwich. :)

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  44. Wild Orchid

    I would include fried chicken, coleslaw, potato salad, and kettle chips, of course!

    Thanks for the chance to win!
    wildorchid985 at gmail dot com

  45. Kim Bozinoski

    A picnic always needs to have my granny’s cornbread salad and Asian slaw! And of course some kind of delicious handheld dessert. Cookies or a bar of some sort :)

  46. Barbara Montag

    In our picnic basket – Hummus crackers chips salsa fresh fruit and flavored water.
    Thank you.

  47. Marcia Goss

    I like to have fresh fruit (cantaloupe, grapes, watermelon), along with deli meat and cheese for sandwiches.

  48. Michelle S.

    I like to include simple things that pack well and that most everyone likes, Sandwiches are usually good, chips, and lots of cold drinks.

  49. maureen

    Fresh fruit, cut up veggies, artichoke dip , chips and cookies and sandwiches. With pop and juice boxes.

  50. Ashley

    My son is a fruit-a-holic, so fresh fruit is a must in addition to hummus, whole grain pita chips, cheese, nuts, and some turkey.
    ashaldridge at gmail dot com

  51. Margot C

    I like the look of your sandwiches; we usually make sandwiches, pack salads, some fruit and always pack chips!

  52. Henria O.

    Tortilla wraps and lots of fresh fruit and especially watermelon during the Summer!
    sazzyfrazz at gmail dot com

  53. rebekah arnold

    we include cold cuts, fruit, chips ,drinks , bread and what ever else anyone wants to bring along

  54. Adrianne B

    In my picnic basket, I include fresh fruit, crudite & hoummous, prosciutto, sharp cheddar, napkins, cutlery, and WINE!!!

  55. Lorena Keech

    When it isn’t spur of the moment, the basket includes fried chicken, mom’s potato salad, homegrown tomatoes and homemade lemonade.

  56. Sonya Morris

    I include sandwiches (the kids still love pb&j, lucky me!), chips, fruit and drinks in our picnic basket.

  57. Cheryl Christian

    Love chilled chicken salad, crusty bread, fruit, and a great bottle of wine minus the ants. Garden veggies if we have them. I love picnics!!

  58. Amy Tong

    I always pack my picnic with potato chips, fruit, veggies and dip, iced tea and juice, sandwiches or wraps. It’s just so much fun to go on a picnic.

    amy [at] utry [dot] it

  59. Pauline M

    I never leave for a picnic without my deli salad…. I found this recipe out of my taste of home magazine and it’s become a favorite in my house!

  60. ky2here

    Depends on what’s around the house. I’m a stingy recycler. Perhaps fruits, veggies, something with quinoia and homemade sparkling limeade.

  61. tina reynolds

    I would have sandwiches, hummus, fresh fruit especially pinapple its my familys favorite and sweet tea./water

  62. Lisa Garner

    We always have sandwiches, fresh fruit, corn on the cob and chips in our picnic basket.
    lisalmg25 at gmail dot com

  63. Jackee

    I always make hummus for our picnics. It tastes great and it good for you too. I make a basic recipe then add jalapenos and roasted pasilla and bell peppers.

  64. Shea Balentine

    We love Kettle chips… hubby would make sure they were the first things in the basket! =) Gotta have apples and water too!

  65. Betty C

    I love a basket with fried chicken, potato salad, deviled eggs, chips, fruit, cookies and so much more

  66. Maggie M

    My family is all about sandwiches so that’s usually what goes in our picnic basket. Fruit juice and plenty of water too!

  67. cc april

    One of my family’s favorite foods inside my picnic basket is Chicken and Slaw wraps! They are so easy to make epecially if you use rotisserie chickens. Mix the chicken with some coleslaw, ranch dressing and sweet pickle relish, place on a wrap and roll it. your family will love it!

  68. Ramelle Richardson

    No matter if our picnic is a simple sandwich affair or a gourmet BBQ with skewers of teriyaki steak or chicken, we always include our vintage tablecloths in our picnic basket. I have several wonderful old tablecloths from the 1950s splashed with colorful flowers and designs (and a few indelible stains) that always conjure fond memories and bring back the happy Ghosts of Picnics Past.

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