Because this year’s 4th of July celebration lands on a Thursday, we are all in for an extended holiday weekend. And that’s fine by me. We have a party to attend every night, beginning Wednesday through Sunday. Naturally, I have been tapped to bring desserts to two of the four gatherings and I am currently debating my options.
This blueberry crisp is mighty fine and celebrates the colors of the season, but these key lime pie popsicles always steal the show. Considering most adults don’t enjoy the revelry of a popsicle often enough, this seems like a mandatory choice for the smaller gathering and the crisp is likely better for the larger event. But, then again, these raw, vegan blueberry tartlets are mind-blowingly simple, made into individual servings and something everyone always flips for.
These decisions have been weighing heavy on my mind as the holiday inches closer and I am betting many of you are also wondering “what the hell am I going to make for the 4th of July celebrations?” Recipes that are simple and don’t require much heat. Recipes that are good + good for you and ones that will offer something for everyone, including omnivores, gluten-free eaters, paleo types and vegans.
For you (and me), I have compiled 28 of my favorite recipes featured on the blog that respond to these high demands of assorted eaters and promise to add a sparkling contribution to any 4th of July holiday gathering.
28 Dishes to Spark Fireworks
Over the last 10 years of this blog, I have featured dozens of illuminating recipes. Any of these would be the perfect dish to take to your events or make for your loved ones at home as you celebrate our country’s independence.
Red, white and blue are the primary colors, but these recipes span the rainbow of colors and day parts. Look for simple and sensational options for good + good for you breakfasts, beverages, soups, salads, sides, sauces and vinaigrettes and burgers, as well as popsicles and desserts.
Whether you are a wake-up and slave away in the kitchen person, a short order cook or one who likes to have everything made in advance so your guests and family can serve themselves, here are some of my favorite breakfast recipes that are sure to please a crowd.
No party is complete without a variety of sips for the guests which includes children and adults. On a hot summer day, cold beverages are the main priority. All but one of these drinks are alcohol-free, but, if needed, a splash of this or that can easily be added to make the day more tolerable. The white sangria uses lots of fruit that marinate in the wine, which will make everyone a tad bit happier.
What’s better on a hot day than a cold soup? I have always been a cold soup fan and see them playing a more prominent role in restaurant menus as well. What I love best about a cold soup, it that is can be sipped rather than spooned. Serve in a cup and let everyone sip away the heat. Because one sip of any of these chilled soups will make everything better.
In the summer months, I live on salads. Perhaps that’s why there are so many salad options for you to choose from. I selected these because they focus on seasonal ingredients, which requires little work on our part and the ripe produce is the shining star. Tomatoes to peaches, watermelon to slaw, any of these salads will ensure your dish goes empty long before everyone has eaten.
Sauces, Salad Dressings and Vinaigrettes
No party is complete without a few sauces, salad dressings and vinaigrettes that elevate standard dishes to new heights. These do it, hands down. Add the green harissa to any and all grilled meats or burgers. Use the Italian dressing on a tossed salad and drizzle the basil vinaigrette over a plate of juicy, ripe tomatoes dotted with mozzarella and more basil.
Corn is in full force these days, so why not make it one of the stars of the 4th of July feast? And since the grill is already in action, grill the corn. Either with or without the shuck.
Is there anything else to serve on the 4th of July but burgers and hot dogs? I think not. These classic American staples are adored by all and make cooking for a large group easy.
Fire up the grill, open a cold beer and sit back as everyone gathers around to see what’s cooking. And be ready for them to beg for samples. Maybe you want to offer traditional burgers with cheese, lettuce and tomato. Or perhaps you are up for something a little bit more flavorful and global? Try the Argentinean burger out for size as it will not disappoint. The trick is this sensational chimichurri sauce and, once you try these, it may be the only burger you ever want from now on. Tuna burgers are favored by pescatarians, while the vegetarian burger featuring eggplant is the one vegetarians and vegans will fight for. If you do have a few vegans in the group, be sure to use dairy-free cheese and gluten-free breadcrumbs are always preferred.
Because summer is for kids, so are these popsicles, but beware that the adults may steal them before the kids can get their sticky little hands on them.
Always saving the best for last, these desserts are quick to make, lean in to being good for you and will ensure your group ends the party on a sweet note.
If you are feeling particularly daring, the Paleo chocolate chip cookies can be the base for a smashingly memorable and delicious DIY ice cream sandwich bar. Because who doesn’t love ice cream sammies? Offer a selection of dairy and dairy-free ice creams to choose from and watch the real fun commence.