Three months ago, we never dreamed we would celebrate Memorial Day by ourselves or with a limited group of those we have been sequestered with for the last two months. This year’s kick-off to summer is anything but normal and certainly one we soon won’t forget. No big gatherings. No neighborhood celebrations. None of that. But let’s not let the non-gathering issue deflate our enthusiasm. Instead, let’s do everything we can to make it extra special with a menu that sparks a serious flame for everyone at the table. Even if it’s a table for one.
Memorial Day Menu Ideas
As we plan our own menus for the three-day holiday, I have been scouring the more than 500 recipes on this blog and curated a collection of 27 classic Memorial Day recipes that may give you some new ideas. Look for easy breakfast options to more laborious ones and a few jewel-toned sips of summer to get the party started. Add a splash of vodka and these drinks are for the adults.
If you are the sipping kind, it’s officially the start of cold soup season. These two vibrant green soups are made in the blender. For the mains, it’s burger time. I’ve selected three different burgers and six sides someone can make a meal on. There are always plenty of sweet treats in my world, so I would never leave the last course off the menu. With these 27 good + good for you recipes, you are sure to find a few ideas to put on a sensational spread that makes everyone feel like it’s a big deal. Because when the food is the centerpiece, everything else falls right into place. Even when it feels a little off-center.
These recipes promise to lure everyone out of bed at a reasonable hour. Using one batter that comes together in a blender, you can offer your loved ones the choice of pancakes or waffles that happen to be paleo. The ultimate banana bread really is the ultimate and all you need are five rotting bananas. The gluten-free and paleo blueberry coffee cake can and should be made in advance because it’s better the next day after it’s melded and chilled in the refrigerator. If you prefer something everyone can grab-and-go, these baked oatmeal-blueberry muffins are the only ones you need.
Every party needs a signature drink and, with your herb garden in full bloom, these drinks feature summer’s favorite herbs, basil and mint. Basil combines with ripe strawberries and chia seeds for this colorful and fun strawberry-basil tropical cooler that appeals to kids of all ages. For the tea lovers, kick it up with this matcha-mint tea. Both drinks are made even better with a splash of vodka for the adults, so treat yourself. It’s a holiday. After the last few months, you deserve it.
Choose appetizers that won’t weigh you down, but rather whet your palate for the Memorial Day buffet. Deviled eggs have never gone out of style and this version will make you love them even more. A touch of tuna gives a Spanish flair to one of America’s more traditional holiday appetizers and makes them shine. The brief season for sugar snap peas is upon us and these charred snap peas need merely a castiron skillet and requisite aioli to make them disappear. Put together a beautiful cheese tray and surprise your guests with these homemade toasted sesame-brown rice flour crackers.
Served in small juice glasses, soups help us slow down and enjoy the moment and it’s time to enjoy cold soups. Whether a silky smooth zucchini-leek soup or spring pea soup is more your style, both come together in no time and are equally delicious served cold or hot.
The star of the show. The main event of the Memorial Day holiday. Burgers and hot dogs are the classic American option, but why not try something a little different? This Argentinean burger is the one everyone will talk about for years to come. Tantalize the pescatarians with a tuna burger or a shrimp salad sandwich. Serve these eggplant burgers and you’ll be a rock star with the vegetarians.
From my vantage point, as one who prefers to be a vegetarian, sensational sides are the most important focal point of any celebration. They can often be a way to get people to eat their vegetables. They also supply a wide range of flavors, colors and textures that complement the mains but can also stand-alone, if needed. Choose from creamy coleslaw or a more hearty tomato, hearts of palm and avocado with grilled corn salad. Beloved by everyone, the watermelon, feta and mint salad can be both a side or a healthy dessert. Vegans will dive into the veggie-packed quinoa salad and dijon green beans, and the bean lovers will flip for these homemade New England-style baked beans.
And, last but certainly not least, the obligatory sweet ending will set the final tone for the holiday. Vegans, raw foodies, fruit lovers, chocolate addicts, paleo and ice cream lovers will be grateful for any and all of these options as we wrap-up another memorable and delicious Memorial Day celebration.
As we navigate this new world, may we find joy spending more time in our kitchens. Planning meals together. Sitting around the dinner table more often and lingering longer. Making new dishes. Taking a few risks. Using an herb or spice for the first time. May any and all of these recipes inspire you to try something new this holiday weekend and spice things up. Ready or not, summer’s here.
From my quarantined casa to yours, Happy Memorial Day, amigos.