We’re a week away from Memorial Day, which means we should all be putting finishing touches on our menu. (Or, if you’re like me, you’re thinking about it for the very first time!) If you still need to fill your list of things to fix or if you’re just looking for inspiration for flavorful sides, use this easy Memorial Day barbecue menu to help shape your day’s best dining experience. I picked recipes that help make your cooking as easy as possible. I kept cooking time short and ingredient lists shorter so you can focus on spending time with your family and friends and less time scrubbing pans and grills. Enjoy!
Zucchini Oven Chips
While everyone’s arriving, grabbing beers, mixing and mingling, have some crispy oven-baked zucchini chips sitting out for those who might already be hungry. You’ll only need about 30 minutes per batch, which leaves you time to whip up a dip or two. I like to serve these with warm marinara sauce (maybe too much for a hot May day), but you could use any number of dips: guacamole, sour cream-dill dip, even a little Green Goddess Dip would be good.
Tequila-Glazed Grilled Chicken Thighs
Sure, grilling plain chicken breasts would be easier, but we wanted to make your main as exciting as the ribs, burgers, and brats you’ll be seeing plenty of this weekend on Instagram. Enter: Tequila-Glazed Chicken Thighs. The sweet heat of the spice rub and the tangy zip of the pineapple juice, tequila, and lime juice will turn heads and make eyes roll. The cook time says 1 hour, but these are all easy tasks (boiling, marinating, and basting) you can do while getting the rest of the menu ready.
Tomato Salad with Herbed Ricotta and Balsamic Vinaigrette
Sliced heirloom tomatoes are wow-worthy on their own–a simple vinaigrette and dollops of basil-flecked ricotta take them over the top. There’s no cooking, so this side will come together in a flash. Serve with toasted baguette slices to sop up any tomato juices.
Quick Summer Squash and Bell Pepper Gratin
If your farmers’ market is swimming in zucchini and summer squash, here’s a great way to use up a basket or two. This 25-minute side is one the whole Memorial Day crew will love. If you don’t have squash and bell peppers, you could layer sliced tomatoes in between the onion mixture and the squash a bake a few minutes longer. We like the look of a baking dish (it’s also easier to carry), but you could use an ovenproof or cast-iron skillet.
Sour Cream-Dill Potato Salad
Potato salad is a barbecue necessity. If it’s not there, then you’re really just not doing the party right. We’ve got more than 40 potato salad recipes, but I’m partial to this Sour Cream-Dill Potato Salad because it’s tangy, sweet, and creamy fresh. Thanks to short ingredient list and minimal chopping, this potato salad is ready in 20 minutes.
2-Ingredient Banana Bread Cookies
If you’re short on sweets and also on time, this supereasy dessert will come to your rescue! It really is just 2 ingredients, bananas and oats, but you can customize a bit if you want. I love adding a few dark chocolate mini chips. They’re perfectly portioned, too, so they make a great grab-and-go treat as everyone heads back outside to soak up some early summer sun.
Don’t fret over blended drinks and margaritas (but if you’re offering, we’ll take one!). Instead, mix up a big batch of Honey-Lemon Spritz, and sip slowly all day. You’re using honey in the chicken recipe, too, so make sure you get a good local one. While you’re at the farmers’ market picking up all your produce, grab some lemon verbena. It’ll be easier to find there, but you can check your grocery store, too. That floral herb is key to making these sippers sing.