How is Labor Day here already? It feels like just yesterday we were dusting off our grills and taking our first trips to the farmer’s market, and now fall is nearing. (I said nearing, people. It is much, much too early to start grabbing for Pumpkin Spice-anything. Let’s all relax.)
Though Labor Day is the unofficial end to summer, the season’s produce is still plentiful, and we’re looking forward to celebrating its delicious bounty all weekend long.
Here are our top recipes for enjoying a Labor Day celebration that’s low-stress, highly-seasonal, and ultra-delicious.
This speedy, 20-minute salad is absolutely bursting with peak-season produce. Simply combine the ingredients with a dash of olive oil and sprinkle with cheese. This recipe serves 8 but is easily doubled for a large crowd. For an extra punch of flavor, toss in a few minced garlic cloves and a teaspoon or two of chili powder. That’s a summer side made simple!
Do yourself a favor: Step away from the heavy, mayo-drenched potato salads from your potluck nightmares and serve this lighter option that uses new potatoes, bright herbs, and a light but creamy dressing for a 132-calorie side dish that’s anything but bland.
Berries are colorful, fresh, and some of the delicious gems summer has to offer, so all you need is a few ingredients to showcase their natural sweetness in this simple fruit salad. Sugar, lime, and gin soften and infuse the berries, while extracting their natural juices to become a syrupy sauce.
This isn’t your usual green bean casserole. Loaded with cheese and sour cream, it may just become your new favorite. I recommend using fresh green beans in place of frozen here.
Mac and cheese is a potluck staple, and you won’t regret taking the time to whip up our easiest, cheesiest version. Make sure to whisk warm milk into the flour mixture to ensure a lump-free sauce. I suggest skipping the bag and shredding your own cheese for fuller flavor and a creamier texture.
Grilled chicken and classic backyard burgers are the traditional entrée selections for Labor Day celebrations, so why mess up a good thing? Here, honey, ketchup, cider vinegar, and a handful of spices yield a deliciously sticky-sweet honey-chipotle BBQ sauce that’s perfect for basting bone-in chicken thighs or legs.
If a juicy burger is more your thing, you can’t go wrong with this standby recipe. Sink your teeth into a succulent, stacked burger, surprisingly featuring lean ground beef. I’d highly suggest skipping the prepackaged patties and taking the extra time to craft up your own. That little extra effort will be well worth it.
Kids and adults alike will love this 3-ingredient, refreshing lemonade that’s just as much about the strawberries as it is about the citrus. If you want to save time, you can replace the freshly-squeezed lemon juice with prepared frozen lemonade concentrate.
I’ve talked about this easy margarita recipe several times this summer, but I really cannot get enough of this party-perfect pitcher. To me, this recipe was a revelation. The secret ingredient is a can of frozen limeade concentrate which, once emptied, doubles as a measuring cup for the remaining ingredients. These margaritas are potent, slightly (but not overly) sweet, and have the perfect note of orange flavor to balance. I prefer to serve them in a large glass drink dispenser with plenty of limes on the side. Don’t be surprised if your guests beg for the recipe.
#10. Easy Peach Cobbler
No party is complete without dessert, and our Easy Peach Cobbler is the perfect sweet note to complete a satisfying Labor Day feast. It’s the most popular peach cobbler on our site, and with over 300, 5-star reviews, you really can’t go wrong. The acidity of the lemon juice paired with the bright sweetness of the fresh peaches is perfectly balanced by the buttery crisp topping. Want to make dessert even better? A dollop of fresh whipped cream or cold vanilla ice cream truly makes this the perfect way to celebrate the end of summer.