As Labor Day approaches, so does the opportunity to gather with friends and family for a final summer hurrah. Whether you’re firing up the grill, organizing a picnic, or hosting a backyard potluck, no Labor Day celebration is complete without a spread of mouthwatering side dishes to complement the main course. From traditional classics to innovative creations, these labor day side dishes will add a burst of flavor and color to your festivities.
Grilled Corn on the Cob with Herb Butter
A quintessential summer treat, grilled corn on the cob is a must-have for any Labor Day gathering. Brush each ear of corn with a mixture of melted butter and chopped fresh herbs like parsley, thyme, and chives. Grill the corn until it’s charred and slightly caramelized, and serve with a sprinkle of salt and a squeeze of lime for an irresistible burst of flavor.
Caprese Salad Skewers
Capture the essence of summer with these elegant Caprese salad skewers. Alternate fresh cherry tomatoes, mozzarella balls, and basil leaves on skewers. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and a touch of olive oil to create a delightful combination of flavors that’s as beautiful as it is delicious.
Creamy Coleslaw with a Twist
Put a creative spin on a classic coleslaw by incorporating unexpected ingredients like grated apples, dried cranberries, and toasted walnuts. Toss them together with a creamy dressing made from Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and a splash of apple cider vinegar. The result is a crunchy, tangy, and sweet coleslaw that pairs perfectly with grilled meats.
Mediterranean Pasta Salad
Bring a taste of the Mediterranean to your Labor Day celebration with a vibrant pasta salad. Combine cooked pasta with cherry tomatoes, Kalamata olives, diced cucumbers, red onion, feta cheese, and fresh herbs like parsley and oregano. Toss everything with a zesty lemon vinaigrette for a refreshing and hearty side dish.
Grilled Vegetable Platter
Take advantage of the grill by preparing a colorful assortment of grilled vegetables. Slice zucchini, bell peppers, eggplant, and red onion, then marinate them in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and herbs. Grill until tender and slightly charred, and serve as a visually appealing and healthy side option.
Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers
Add a touch of heat to your Labor Day spread with these delectable bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers. Halve and deseed jalapenos, then stuff them with a mixture of cream cheese, shredded cheddar, and chopped scallions. Wrap each jalapeno half with a slice of bacon and bake until the bacon is crispy and the filling is melted and bubbly.
Quinoa and Black Bean Salad
For a nutrient-packed and protein-rich option, whip up a quinoa and black bean salad. Combine cooked quinoa, black beans, corn, diced bell peppers, red onion, and cilantro. Toss with a lime-cumin vinaigrette for a refreshing and satisfying dish that’s perfect for vegetarians and omnivores alike.
Watermelon and Feta Salad
Embrace the sweetness of summer by creating a watermelon and feta salad. Cube fresh watermelon and combine it with crumbled feta cheese, thinly sliced red onion, mint leaves, and a drizzle of balsamic reduction. The contrasting flavors and textures make this salad a true crowd-pleaser.
Garlic Parmesan Grilled Potato Wedges
Upgrade your typical potato side with these indulgent garlic parmesan grilled potato wedges. Parboil potato wedges until slightly tender, then toss them in a mixture of melted butter, minced garlic, grated parmesan, and chopped parsley. Grill until crispy and golden brown, and serve with a side of sour cream or dipping sauce.
Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Tortilla Chips
End your Labor Day feast on a sweet note with a refreshing fruit salsa and homemade cinnamon tortilla chips. Dice a variety of colorful fruits like mangoes, pineapples, strawberries, and kiwi. Toss with a touch of honey and lime juice. Cut tortillas into wedges, brush with melted butter, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, then bake until crispy. The combination of fruity and crispy flavors will leave your guests craving more.
Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad
Create a vibrant and sophisticated side dish by roasting beets until tender and pairing them with creamy goat cheese, arugula, candied pecans, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. The earthy sweetness of the beets complements the tanginess of the goat cheese perfectly.
Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
Transport your guests to the tropical flavors of Hawaii with a creamy macaroni salad. Combine cooked macaroni with diced pineapple, ham, shredded carrots, and chopped scallions. Bind everything together with a mayonnaise-based dressing and a touch of apple cider vinegar for a hint of tang.
Garlic Butter Grilled Mushrooms
Elevate your grilling game with garlic butter grilled mushrooms. Toss whole mushrooms in a mixture of melted butter, minced garlic, thyme, and rosemary. Grill them until tender and flavorful, then serve as a savory and aromatic side dish that pairs wonderfully with grilled meats.
Mediterranean Hummus Platter
Offer a healthy and flavorful option with a Mediterranean hummus platter. Arrange a variety of hummus flavors – classic, roasted red pepper, and garlic – alongside an assortment of colorful crudites, olives, marinated artichokes, and pita bread for dipping.
Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salad
Capture the essence of summer with a roasted corn and black bean salad. Roast corn kernels until charred and combine them with black beans, diced red onion, bell peppers, and cilantro. Toss everything in a lime-cumin dressing for a burst of zesty flavor.
Lemon-Herb Grilled Asparagus
Take advantage of asparagus season by grilling them with a lemon-herb marinade. Drizzle fresh asparagus spears with olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, and a medley of fresh herbs like thyme and parsley. Grill until tender and slightly charred for a delightful side dish.
Spinach and Strawberry Salad
Craft a refreshing and nutritious side dish by combining baby spinach leaves with sliced strawberries, crumbled goat cheese, toasted almonds, and a light vinaigrette made with balsamic vinegar and honey. The sweet and savory balance makes this salad a crowd favorite.
Baked Three-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese
Indulge your guests with a comforting classic: three-cheese baked macaroni and cheese. Combine cooked macaroni with a rich and creamy cheese sauce made from cheddar, Gruyere, and Parmesan. Top with breadcrumbs and bake until golden and bubbly.
Pineapple Fried Rice
Give a tropical twist to your Labor Day feast with pineapple fried rice. Sauté cooked rice with diced pineapple, peas, carrots, scrambled eggs, and a soy-ginger sauce. The sweet and savory combination is a delightful departure from traditional fried rice.
Pesto Pasta Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Arugula
Elevate your Labor Day side dishes with a vibrant pesto pasta salad. Cook your favorite pasta and toss it with homemade or store-bought basil pesto. Add sun-dried tomatoes for a sweet and tangy twist, and incorporate fresh arugula for a peppery bite. Top with shaved Parmesan cheese for a burst of umami flavor that will leave your guests craving seconds. This pasta salad is a harmonious blend of flavors and textures that perfectly embodies the spirit of summer.
This Labor Day, impress your guests with an array of delectable side dishes that celebrate the flavors of summer. From grilled vegetables to creative salads and indulgent treats, these options are sure to elevate your celebration and make it a day to remember. Enjoy the festivities, good company, and, of course, the incredible food!