Memorial Day is almost here so I’ve rounded up 27 recipes that are perfect for the start of summer. I’ve got you covered from appetizers to desserts with plenty of main dishes, salads, and side dishes to choose from, too. There are some classic dishes everyone knows and loves and some unexpected dishes if you are looking to switch things up this year.
Whether you’re planning a Memorial Day party for a crowd or looking forward to a low-key get-together with just a few friends, I’ve got plenty of delicious main dish recipes for you to browse. Chicken wings, tacos, and simple sandwiches are just a few to give a try plus a few low-carb options so no one has to miss out!
Brisket Tacos with Red Cabbage Slaw |These brisket tacos are great for a party because you can cook the brisket ahead of time so you don’t have the stress of same-day cooking or dealing with the grill while trying to chat with your friends. Plus, it’s fun to set up a taco bar so guests can build their own tacos. I also have a Fish Tacos with Avocado Sauce recipe that’s great for parties, too.
Avocado Burger Buns | My least favorite part of a burger is the bready bun so I like to offer these fun avocado burger buns as an alternative. They’re a fun twist and great for guests who are eating low-carb.
Korean Style Grilled Wings | We love these chicken wings because you make them on the grill or in the oven. The wings are coated with a savory and sweet sticky glaze inspired by Korean BBQ flavors. Be sure to check out my tangy and spicy Crispy BBQ Chicken Wings, too!
Lobster Rolls | I look forward to lobster rolls during the summer and my homemade lobster rolls have the slightest bit of mayonnaise, some celery for crunch and color and, of course, a lot of lobster chunks.
Cauliflower Bread Buns | Another low-carb alternative to regular hamburger buns are these cauliflower bread buns. They’re gluten-free and sturdy enough to handle burgers or other sandwich fillings.
Chicken Teriyaki Pineapple Bowls | If you want to switch things up this year for Memorial Day, these Chicken Teriyaki Pineapple Bowls are a summery tropical-themed dish to serve. I show you how to serve the chicken in pineapple bowls which make for a really fun presentation.
Japanese Egg Salad Sandwiches | Egg salad is a classic summer sandwich and these soft and fluffy Japanese-style egg salad sandwiches, also known as Tamago Sando, are easy to make and fun to serve. I’ve also made Avocado Egg Salad Sandwiches, which are a twist on the Japanese version.
Memorial Day is the official start of summer and I’ve got lots of easy-to-make salads that are perfect for BBQs and potlucks. Creamy potato salads, refreshing watermelon salad, and crisp and cool cucumber salads are just a few of the favorites I’m sharing.
Avocado Watermelon Salad | This salad is so light, refreshing and perfect when the weather is warm. Plus, it takes less than 30 minutes to make! It’s one of my favorite summer salad recipes.
Sweet and Sour Dill Cucumber Salad | This cucumber salad is cold, refreshing and easy to make. It’s tangy, sweet and flavored with fresh dill. Or try my Chinese Spicy Cucumber Salad or Smashed Chinese Cucumber Salad – all of them are a great side dish salads.
Asian Potato Salad | This is a potato salad I grew up eating in the summer and I still love it! It’s a great side dish for BBQs and potlucks.
Cauliflower Potato Salad | This “potato” salad has all of the flavors of a classic one but it doesn’t have any potatoes! It’s made with cauliflower instead and is a great low-carb and healthy side dish for summer.
Avocado Potato Salad | Avocado takes the place of mayonnaise in this potato salad. It’s so creamy and full of flavor you won’t even miss the mayo.
Tomato and Avocado Salad | An easy tomato and avocado salad that is flavorful and perfect for summer. This salad only takes a few minutes to make and is great for a quick meal or to bring to a Memorial Day BBQ or party.
Side Dishes & Appetizers
Fresh corn, pulled pork, and foil-pack fries are easy and delicious side dishes and appetizers for parties. They’re so good, you might find yourself making them on repeat all summer long.
Mexican Style Grilled Corn | This grilled corn on the cob is inspired by Mexican corn. The corn is dressed up with butter, cotjia cheese, chipotle powder and lime juice. It’s a delicious summertime dish. Be sure to try my Parmesan Chipotle Corn on the Cob which is another way we like to grill corn.
BBQ Pork Nachos | These loaded nachos are topped with tender, fall-off-the-bone BBQ pork rib meat, a spicy BBQ sauce and all the usual nacho fixings. It’s the perfect summer BBQ party dish.
Foil Pack Garlic Fries | I love foil-pack dishes because the clean-up is so easy. You can make these garlic fries in the oven or pop them on the grill instead. Either way, they’re a great side dish for a Memorial Day party.
BBQ Tofu Fries | Or, for a twist on French fries, try these BBQ tofu fries instead. They’re grilled until they turn crispy and then brushed with a tangy BBQ sauce.
I love serving fun and festive drinks for parties and the recipes I’m sharing are great for all sorts of summer events and celebrations.
Iced Tea Sangria | I love sangria, and this version with an iced tea twist is so delicious. The drinks are so pretty served with seasonal fresh fruit.
Snow Cone Drinks | These four-ingredient snow cone drinks are a grown-up twist on the cold summer treat I loved growing up.
Watermelon Tequila Jello Shots | These aren’t the jello shots you remember from your dorm room days! Fruity tequila is served up jello-style in cute little lime shells so they look like little watermelons. I also have a recipe for Margarita Jello Shots that are served the same way. They are so fun for summer parties and you can easily make them ahead.
Fruit Ice Champagne Cocktails | These festive drinks are made with frozen fruit puree and champagne for a fun and patriotic drink.
Sparkling Iced Tea | Iced tea is combined with sparkling water for a light and refreshing summer drink. These are so quick to put together and a great alcohol-free drink option for Memorial Day get-togethers. My Thai Iced Tea recipe is another refreshing drink that’s very easy to make, too.
It’s always nice to have something sweet for your guests and these desserts are all about summer! Want more summer desserts recipes? Be sure to check out my round-up of Popsicle Recipes and No-Bake Desserts, too.
Watermelon Lime Ice Pops | I love watermelon during the summer and am always looking for new ways to serve it. These watermelon popsicles are a refreshing treat and look so cute, too! For another popsicle recipe try my Fruit Bars.
No Bake Avocado Cheesecake | This creamy avocado cheesecake is a lighter twist on the classic. It doesn’t require any baking and is best enjoyed chilled, making it the perfect make-ahead dessert for a summer party.
Watermelon Sorbet in Lime Shells | I don’t know what I love best about these cute little sorbet treats- the easy sorbet or how cute they look on a serving plate! My Watermelon Sorbet Slices are another fun way to serve this dessert (and a little less work) or check out my Lemon Coconut Sorbet served in lemon shells. All of these recipes are fun desserts for parties.
Blueberry Cobbler Dump Cake | I don’t know about you but I love low-maintenance desserts for summer parties and this blueberry cobbler or my Chocolate Cherry Crisp Dump Cake are two of my favorites. All you do is add all of the ingredients to a baking pan – no mixing, stirring, or lots of steps required! Get the recipe and then check out my cookbook, Dump Cakes from Scratch*, which is full of easy-to-make dump cake recipes.
Iced Tea Sangria Popsicles | These popsicles are what happens when you take the refreshing Iced Tea Sangria I already shared and freeze it with some fruit. I also love making Mimosa Ice Pops for parties – they’re a boozy and refreshing way to serve a cocktail in dessert form.
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