Most of the dishes in this menu can be made a day ahead and kept in the fridge until picnic time. You’ll want to fry the eggplant for the sandwiches and mix the cherry salad the same day, however, so they don’t get soggy overnight. Get a head start on the salad by pitting the cherries the night before.
While the pita bread calls for grilling, it can also be baked in an oven and finished in a grill pan on the stovetop—or, you can substitute store-bought pita or other flatbread.
Pack the ingredients for the sandwiches in separate containers, then assemble them on-site.
The real beauty of this menu is its versatility. For more recipe ideas, see our collection of Middle Eastern meze »