Planning your Memorial Day party? Here are the best Memorial Day recipes for you! You can plan a whole menu or just grab a few favorite recipes to include.
Memorial Day is usually called the unofficial start of summer for those of us in the United States. Since I’m writing this in 2021, this year makes it even more special than usual, as we are finally starting to come out of lockdown and have gatherings again. Let’s face it, the best part about Memorial Day weekend is coming together with friends and family and enjoying some good food! Not being able to do this last year makes me even more pumped for this year’s long weekend!
You might not think of “healthy” when you think of a backyard BBQ, but I’d love to share some Memorial Day menu ideas that will keep your food delicious and even a little on the healthy side.
The key to a successful Memorial Day party is having plenty of options for both the kids and the adult. Most of the recipes I’m going to share with you today call for common ingredients, pantry staples, and are not too complicated. Whether you just need a simple recipe to bring to a friend’s or you need a whole smorgasbord, I hope these easy menu ideas will be helpful!
Best Memorial Day Recipes
I want to help you plan your comprehensive menu so you have everything you need for the big day. You can pick 1-4 recipes from each category and you’re all set!
I know hot dogs and juicy burgers are the standard options for Memorial Day recipes. You can definitely include those for your gathering! Just because I advocate for eating healthy doesn’t mean I don’t believe in balance and moderation. Demonizing foods can be more damaging than just eating them once in a while!
Whenever I serve hot dogs, and yes, I do serve hot dogs occasionally, I will look for the healthiest hot dogs I can. I like these organic, uncured all-beef hotdogs from Applegate. Lots of brands now offer uncured hot dogs, which is a better option than standard hot dogs.
Keep things fun and interesting by including a hot dog toppings bar for your guests! It’s also a great way to add veggies and fresh herbs (aka NUTRITION!) to your hot dogs.
Remember how I mentioned having plenty of options? Let’s look at some ideas that extend beyond the burger and hot dogs!
These meatless burgers are vegan and gluten-free, providing an option for those with dietary restrictions. Even better, they are delicious! Even some of the meat lovers might choose these babies! Unfortunately, these aren’t sturdy enough for the grill, so plan on grilling these on your stovetop grill pan or cast iron skillet.
You need to have a delicious chicken option, and this is the best grilled chicken recipe! You’ll want to marinate your chicken for at least 2 hours, so make sure to plan ahead for this menu idea.
You’ll never think of tofu the same way after you try grilling it with barbecue sauce! This is a delicious option to include for vegans or anyone who just loves mixing up their diet. You can use a store-bought barbecue sauce, or this homemade Bourbon Barbecue Sauce.
Turkey burgers don’t have to be dry or boring. I have a few good options including this Teriyaki Turkey Burger. You can go with a store-bought teriyaki sauce or make my homemade Healthy Teriyaki Sauce. Either way, these burgers will be a hit!
I’m a sucker for the flavor fresh herbs bring to a dish, and especially fresh basil. These Mozzarella Stuffed Turkey Burgers don’t disappoint. No need to worry about adding the cheese to your burgers as it’s already in the patty when you put these on the grill!
Fish might not be a traditional choice for a Memorial Day recipe, but why the heck not?! These Grilled Salmon Kabobs are a stunning addition to your menu.
This one makes me drool just thinking about it. Yep, this is another one the meat lovers will eat without complaint. This Portobello Mushroom Burger is just SO GOOD.
Clearly, I have a thing for meatless burgers. This one is another one of my all-time favorites! Make the mixture for these Beet Burgers ahead of time to save time on the day of your gathering.
Is anyone else even more into the side dishes at summer barbecues than the main dishes? I can’t be the only one. I could fill my entire plate with alllll the delicious side dish options. And I often do. Let’s find your favorites in this list of menu ideas!
Jalepeno Cole Slaw
This is a flavorful upgrade from traditional coleslaw. Ditch the boring standard recipe and try this spicy variation! This Jalepaño Coleslaw includes pickled jalapeños, corn, and red onion.
This is a perfect side dish that goes with pretty much any main course. There’s that fresh basil making an appearance again. Can’t go wrong!
Notice a trend here? I take the classics everyone is used to and add a twist or make them a bit healthier. If you’re an adventurous foodie, you’re in the right spot! This Roasted Sweet Potato Salad is a huge upgrade from your grandma’s potato salad. Sorry, Gram.
This is a tremendous combination of sweet and salty flavors and is always a big hit. Nothing says let’s get summer started like watermelon, but nobody will be expecting it served in this way! Be bold.
If you haven’t tried brussels sprouts on the grill, you’re missing out. If you have a grill basket, you can cook so many vegetables on your grill and they taste amazing.
If you have a backyard barbecue and don’t serve pasta salad, did it even happen? This Pesto Pasta Salad is healthier and lighter than most recipes, but is definitely not lacking in the flavor department.
This pasta salad is another option. Instead of pesto, the flavor is coming from Italian dressing. Chicken adds some more protein, or you can leave that out.
Everyone loves a good Strawberry Spinach Salad. This one is a must-have on your Memorial Day menu! With red onions, strawberries, toasted pecans, and balsamic dressing, it’s a winner. You can also add goat cheese or feta cheese to this one!
I’m obsessed with this unique and refreshing combination. You’ll LOVE this cucumber salad!
Isn’t this Shaved Vegetable Salad just stunning? It’s a great choice to add to your side dish menu as it’s also super easy to throw together.
This White Bean Salad is super quick to make and have so many great flavors going on. Fresh basil (again!) and avocado make this a crowd-favorite.
My kids are always happy when fresh fruit is on the menu, and this fruit salad has a perfect, patriotic aesthetic for the holiday weekend! The citrus-honey dressing is amazing.
Homemade baked beans definitely take a little bit of time, but it’s worth it in the end! These are incredible. And even though they take a long time to cook, most of the time is hands off. Just let the oven do its job! And let’s face it, baked beans are a staple you need to be part of your Memorial Day recipes line up!
I use a yogurt dressing that lightens up this broccoli salad considerably. Once again, there are no flavor sacrifices though! This is incredible and gets rave reviews.
Finger Foods and Appetizers
Now that you have your main courses and side dishes sorted out, pick out a few finger foods and appetizers for your Memorial Day menu! Make sure you choose a few that you can make ahead of time so you aren’t trying to make a number of dishes right before the party.
Whipped feta cheese is creamy and tangy in this fun, summery recipe. It’s a perfect finger food to have when your hungry guests arrive!
You don’t have to live in Texas to put this delicious dip on your menu! This is another crowd pleaser where you’ll always get at least one request for the recipe.
Who doesn’t love onion dip and potato chips?! Kick your dip up a notch by using caramelized onions and you’ll make a name for yourself.
I just loved a unique deviled egg recipe, and I’ve got a whole list of the best deviled eggs recipes for you to choose from. This is great finger food idea to include with your Memorial Day recipes.
Another outstanding dip to go with the potato chips you’ll have out for your guests. Pickle lovers go crazy over this one!
While you’re exploring the best dips to include, consider this Feta Greek Yogurt Dip. It’s tangy, light, and flavored with fresh basil. This one is great for dipping fresh veggies!
Everyone loves this chocolate dessert hummus and it’s you can include a variety of foods to dip into it, from fresh fruit to pretzels. YUM!
You can’t have a Memorial Day party without a line up of desserts! Looking for some red, white, and blue dessert ideas? I’ve got a few of those! I’ve got some healthier-than-usual dessert recipes that your crew will love, too.
With a gluten-free chocolate crust, yogurt “frosting”, and fresh fruit toppings, this is not like any dessert pizza you’ve had. It’s such a tasty, nutrient-dense treat! Plus those fresh berries are the perfect color for patriotic holidays, making it the perfect one to include in your Memorial Day recipes.
These Blueberry Lemon Bars are stunning, delicious, and a healthy dessert option. You can cut them into smaller-sized bars for your party, making them a bite-sized dessert.
Oh, how I love a good fruit crisp. Any fruit dessert fits right in at a summer party and what better way to kick off summer than with this stunning Peach Berry Crisp? Your guests will love this! Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and you’re all set.
I’m not sure that this one actually falls in the “Patriotic dessert” category, but it most definitely is a perfect summer dessert! And who are we kidding? Having a chocolate dessert as part of your Memorial Day recipes line up is a really good idea. Everyone loves chocolate. Nobody will believe this one is made with tofu! You don’t even have to tell them. 😉
These are such a fun, healthy treat that the kids love. I had to include this older picture of my kiddos enjoying them. You can make them very festive by using red, white, and blue toppings!
Another fruit dessert ideas! Who doesn’t love fresh cherries in the summertime? Oh this one is so tasty! Of course, this one is also perfect with that scoop of vanilla ice cream.
These patriotic popsicles are SO easy to make! You just need some store-bought lemonade and fresh fruit. This is another healthy dessert option that the kids love. You can keep them in a cooler and the kids can grab them whenever they get hot and want a refreshing treat.
This patriotic dessert is a coconut lovers dream! Cool and refreshing, this cake is gluten free and vegan friendly.
Drinks and Cocktails
Round out your Memorial Day menu with some patriotic cocktails and summertime drinks!
This stunning summertime sangria recipe is as much a drink for your party as a decoration! This is a great choice also because you can make a big pitcher ahead of time, which is key when prepping for any party.
Trust me when I say your guests will appreciate a lighter cocktail option. And these Watermelon Margaritas don’t sacrifice flavor at all. Want to make them more patriotic looking? Add a blueberry to the garnish!
It doesn’t get any better than this frozen wine slushy recipe! It’s fruity and just lightly sweet. Use your favorite rosé wine and it’s a winner. Again, add a blueberry garnish for a patriotic look!
For the rum drinkers, this Watermelon Daiquiri with Basil is where it’s at. It’s such a great combination of flavors. Fresh herbs in cocktails is one of my favorite things. You’ve got to try this!
No summer party is complete without a classic Margarita on the menu. Yes, that’s my humble opinion. But I know my parties always have this gem! It is for sure the best Margarita recipe out there. Again, my opinion. But many, many people agree with me! Try it to see if you agree!
It’s a good idea to include a non-alcoholic option for younger guests, pregnant guests, and non-drinkers. This Frozen Strawberry Lemonade will be a big hit! You might want to make a double batch.
There are more than enough Memorial Day recipes here for you to complete a menu that’s perfect for your party! I’d love to hear what you make! Snap a pic, share on your Instagram page and tag me on @happyhealthymama and I’ll feature you! Find me here on Instagram.