Plan the Perfect Memorial Day Menu

Food, Menus


Though it technically does not begin until the end of June, everyone knows that Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer. Which means, it’s almost time to plan that Memorial Day menu.

Whether you’re enjoying the inaugural weekend of warm weather and sun with a cookout on the beach, picnic in the park or a simple spread on your two by four balcony, the days ahead of you probably entail celebration in some form.

If you don’t have a sprawling beach house to retreat to [and let’s be honest, most of us don’t] all you need is a little bit of green space and some delicious food to enjoy under the sun with your friends, family or special someone.

If you’re in charge of planning your Memorial Day menu,  all you need is this delicious guide to help you usher in the summer season in a tasty way.

cookout grill

From the Grill

The next best thing to dining alfresco?

Cooking alfresco. If you’re a carnivore, you’ll undoubtedly crave a burger – or one of its distant cousins – on the holiday weekend. With the smell of charcoal permeating the air no matter where you are, it will be hard to say no to second helpings.

feta stuffed turkey burgers

Photo: Leigh Loftus

Feta-Stuffed Turkey Burgers from In Good Taste

Photo: No Recipes

Photo: No Recipes

Pomegranate Lamb Kebabs from No Recipes

Photo: Leite's Culinaria

Photo: Leite’s Culinaria

Bacon Chicken Wings from Leite’s Culinaria

Photo: In Jennie's Kitchen

Photo: In Jennie’s Kitchen

Ginger Soy Marinated Flank Steak from In Jennie’s Kitchen

Salads and Side Dishes

From the lighter and refreshing to the more indulgent – can you say bacon and potatoes? – no Memorial Day menu is complete without a selection of side salads.

smoked mozzarella pasta salad

Photo: Leigh Loftus

Smoked Mozzarella Pasta Salad from In Good Taste

basic potato salad

Photo: Leigh Loftus

Bacon Potato Salad from In Good Taste

Photo: Kalyn's Kitchen

Photo: Kalyn’s Kitchen

Mediterranean Salad with Hummus Dressing from Kalyn’s Kitchen

Photo: Kelly Alesso

Photo: Kelly Alesso

Nut-Crusted Baked Chevre Salad with Summer Berries by The Pink Apron

Sauces and Toppings

Easy and time-efficient, a sauce, salsa or topping can take your Memorial Day meal to the next level. Add a little something extra to your barbecue mainstays, like onions on your favorite burger or a barbecue sauce with a special New England touch.

Photo: Mango & Tomato

Photo: Mango & Tomato

Pickled Onions from Mango Tomato

homemade salsa recipe

Photo: Leigh Loftus

Perfect Party Salsa from In Good Taste

Photo: Homemade Barbecue Sauce

Photo: Homemade Barbecue Sauce

Homemade Barbecue Sauce from The Perfect Pantry

Photo: Kiss My Spatula

Photo: Kiss My Spatula

Guinness Mustard from Kiss My Spatula

Photo: Sarah Walker Caron

Photo: Sarah Walker Caron

Spicy Mango Salsa from Sarah’s Cucina Bella

Beverages and Cocktails

When you’re sweating it out on the beach, there is nothing better than a cool cocktail to take the edge off of the summer heat. If you’re planning to entertain in your backyard, whip up a pitcher of something and your guests might never leave.

Photo: We Are Not Martha

Photo: We Are Not Martha

Tequila Thyme Lemonade from We Are Not Martha

strawberry mojitos

Photo: Leigh Loftus

Strawberry Mojitos from In Good Taste

Photo: Sharon Damelio

Photo: Sharon Damelio

Cucumber Lime Margaritas by Three Many Cooks

strawberry sangria recipe

Photo: Leigh Loftus

White Strawberry Sangria from In Good Taste

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  • Reply
    June 1, 2011 at 5:14 am

    This looks yummy….you have a lovely blog..

  • Reply
    May 30, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    Awesome round up! I love summer barbecues, and memorial day is always the big kickoff. I want to try the mediterranean salad with hummus dressing!

  • Reply
    May 30, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Super round-up of dishes, Maris! I’m loving those bacon-wrapped chicken wings!
    Have a lovely Memorial Day!

  • Reply
    Blond Duck
    May 30, 2011 at 10:56 am

    I hope you have a great Memorial Day!

  • Reply
    May 30, 2011 at 7:16 am

    This is seriously a mouthwatering entry!
    Thanks for the roundup!

  • Reply
    Nami @ Just One Cookbook
    May 30, 2011 at 6:20 am

    What a great comprehensive post on Memorial Day Weekend Menu! I love it! I think it’s not easy to think of the entire course meal and your list is very nicely done! I didn’t know that Memorial Day Weekend separates spring and summer. San Francisco is still too cold to feel it’s summer, but I definitely look forward to more warmer days. Thanks for the great post and have a great Memorial Day tomorrow!

  • Reply
    May 30, 2011 at 5:01 am

    I shall be spending tomorrow on an airplane but the whole time I’ll be wishing that I was making one of these delicious recipes! Awesome roundup!

  • Reply
    May 30, 2011 at 2:51 am

    After reading this I am so hungry for Picnic food! Luckily tomorrow is Memorial day; I am hoping to see dishes as fantastic as these at my party!

  • Reply
    May 29, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    The Feta Stuffed Turkey Burgers and Smoked Mozarella Salad sound wonderful! I have been trying to get my family to eat ground turkey for soooo many years now. They just wont do it. Oh well..more for me he he 🙂 This is an awesome collection of recipes. Off to check out the other blogs.

  • Reply
    May 29, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    Perfect! You made me hungry…

    Have a lovely weekend!



  • Reply
    May 29, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Thank you for putting together such a tempting list of dishes! They all sound wonderful and I’m going to delve into a few 🙂

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend too, Maris!

  • Reply
    May 29, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    What amazing suggestions for a memorial Day food spread. All of these dishes are perfect to begin ringing the long summer days. Awesome. Thanks for sharing.

    Have a great weekend.

  • Reply
    Gina (The Candid RD)
    May 29, 2011 at 11:29 am

    Wow, thanks for the great collection of summer recipes! This weekend I will be making watermelon salsa (a favorite of mine, even though I’m not technically allowed to eat watermelon on my IBS diet!), and avocado burgers. I’m pretty excited. I think a bacon potato salad would go well with that too! And a strawberry sangria 🙂

  • Reply
    The Harried Cook
    May 29, 2011 at 3:08 am

    What an amazing roundup of recipes! Though we don’t have Memorial Day where I live, I am going to try & find an excuse to make some of these. Thanks for sharing 🙂 I love your blog…

  • Reply
    May 28, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    Thanks for the inspiration! Have a happy Memorial Day weekend!!

  • Reply
    Heather @girlichef
    May 28, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    Mmmmm…everything sounds amazing. I’m thinking I really need to try the smoked Mozzarella pasta salad. And though we have no beach house 🙁 …it has totally been beach-y weather around here lately. Thanks for the great menu ideas!

  • Reply
    Gina @ Running to the Kitchen
    May 28, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    What great recipes! They all look so good. After just getting back from an indulgent vacation, all I want are simple, green or grilled foods right now. So many to choose from!

  • Reply
    BBQ Memorial Day Recipe Round Up: Healthy Simple Food for Entertaining — Family Fresh Cooking
    May 28, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    […] Plan the Perfect Memorial Day Menu In Good Taste […]

  • Reply
    May 28, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Maris, I love all of your recipe suggestions. Hope you have a wonderful long weekend 🙂 xo

  • Reply
    May 28, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    What an incredible array of recipes! I don’t know which to choose first…but I better get off the computer and into the kitchen. Have a fabulous holiday weekend!

  • Reply
    May 28, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    What an incredible list of recipes…mmmmm….I don’t know which to try first. I better get off the computer and into the kitchen. Have a wonderful weekend~

  • Reply
    Blond Duck
    May 28, 2011 at 10:27 am

    I’m craving a burger and Mexican–what’s a girl to do!

  • Reply
    May 28, 2011 at 1:53 am

    What a fantastic collection of recipes for Memorial Day! There are several I see myself trying out ASAP.

  • Reply
    Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen
    May 28, 2011 at 1:03 am

    I’m thinking I might just need the grilled bacon…without the chicken wing. 🙂

  • Reply
    Maria @ Scandifoodie
    May 27, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    Great round-up! Have a great long weekend!

  • Reply
    May 27, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    With all those lovely choices, it will be possible for anyone reading your blog to have a feast on Memorial Day. I hope you enjoy the long weekend. Blessings…Mary

  • Reply
    Betty @ scrambled hen fruit
    May 27, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    That’s a tasty round-up of tempting picnic treats! I hope you have a wonderful safe weekend! 🙂

  • Reply
    Christina @ Sweet Pea's Kitchen
    May 27, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    So many yummy recipes to try! I am so super excited for summer. Time to fire up the grill! 🙂

  • Reply
    May 27, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    Yum!!! Great list!

  • Reply
    May 27, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    Have a wonderful day! With this line up it is bound to be very satisfying.

  • Reply
    May 27, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    I love smoked mozzarella, haven’t had it for ages. Now you’ve reminded me I’m going to have to hunt some down. Thanks for all the links and have great weekend!!

  • Reply
    May 27, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Well, it looks like Lauren and I are set for our Memorial Weekend BBQ! Thanks for the great ideas and links!

  • Reply
    Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen
    May 27, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    Ahh that first pic makes me want to be outside. So many good recipes…I’m off to check them out! Mmm

  • Reply
    May 27, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    Thanks for all of the great recipe ideas, everything looks/sounds amazing! Hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. 🙂

  • Reply
    Kate (What Kate is Cooking)
    May 27, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    The best part about Memorial Day is definitely grilling! I can’t wait to grill tofu 🙂

  • Reply
    emily (a nutritionist eats)
    May 27, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    Great links – I hope you have a lovely long weekend!

  • Reply
    May 27, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Great collection on wonderful recipes from my fave blogs (incl yours!) Have a wonderful weekend! Cheers to fun time and delicious food!

  • Reply
    May 27, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    What a round up! Guinness mustard. Yum.

  • Reply
    May 27, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    Great collection of outdoor holiday meals. Thanks for compiling them and making it easy for us. The smoked mozzarella salad is definitely making it to my BBQ this weekend. Have a great long weekend!

  • Reply
    May 27, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    Great menu! I’ll definitely be making several of your chosen recipes this weekend!

  • Reply
    May 27, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    Now if only I could get someone else to make all of this for me 🙂 Everything looks great – thanks for the links!

  • Reply
    Beth @ DiningAndDishing
    May 27, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    Great guide!! That Smoked Mozzarella Pasta Salad looks amazing. Nothing can beat soft little bites of super fresh Mozzarella!

  • Reply
    May 27, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    it all sound so delicious. I can’t just pick one from each category. The pasta salad is my favorite I think though. Great post, perfect for this weekend or any get together you have this summer! Have a great memorial day

  • Reply
    Lucy @ The Sweet Touch
    May 27, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    This list is making my mouth water at 7am! Saving your recipe for white strawberry sangria, hope you have a great long weekend!

  • Reply
    McKayla @ Green Groats
    May 27, 2011 at 11:33 am

    What a thoughtful collection of Memorial weekend eats! Love it 🙂

  • Reply
    A Plum By Any Other Name
    May 27, 2011 at 11:28 am

    I’ve been trying to conquer making mustard for over a year with less than tasty results. The Guinness recipe sounds amazing. (I should have known Guinness would be at the bottom of a good mustard.) Can’t wait to give the recipe a try. Happy Memorial Day!

  • Reply
    Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)
    May 27, 2011 at 11:24 am

    So many great ideas here, and of course I’m a last-minute menu planner so I’m glad to have a starting point. Thanks for including one of my recipes, too.

  • Reply
    May 27, 2011 at 9:39 am

    What great picnic ideas! Thanks a lot. I did a picnic post today but nothing as elaborate as yours. I have blog post envy now.

  • Reply
    May 27, 2011 at 5:49 am

    What a wonderful Memorial Weekend feast! We are expecting a rainy weekend so we will have to take our picnic indoors. 🙂

  • Reply
    May 27, 2011 at 5:31 am

    Wow – so many wonderful links and great ideas! Have a great weekend, Maris! Enjoy!

  • Reply
    Melissa (MelissaLikesToEat)
    May 27, 2011 at 4:14 am

    So many delicious choices! I’m so ready for summer!

  • Reply
    Laura @ SweetSavoryPlanet
    May 27, 2011 at 3:42 am

    Nice collection of recipes. My recipe: A cooler full of refreshing local beer, a crisp rose or two, snacks and a floating chair in a beautiful, tranquil lake. Oh yeah, and no weather systems bearing down on you! I think everyone needs a break.

  • Reply
    May 27, 2011 at 3:31 am

    Oooo, good list! They all sound divine!

  • Reply
    Lorraine Not Quite Nigella
    May 27, 2011 at 3:05 am

    We don’t have memorial day but that doesn’t mean that I cant drool over these dishes! 😉

  • Reply
    May 27, 2011 at 2:14 am

    Great list! I’m going to make your panzanella for our Memorial Day party. I hope you have a great weekend too!

  • Reply
    May 27, 2011 at 2:10 am

    I am so ready! Thanks for including me.

  • Reply
    Jen @ keepitsimplefoods
    May 27, 2011 at 1:57 am

    Great recipes! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Reply
    May 27, 2011 at 1:33 am

    It all sounds delicious. Have a fantastic long weekend!

  • Reply
    May 27, 2011 at 1:16 am

    Loving your bacon potato salad! Have a great weekend!!

  • Reply
    May 27, 2011 at 12:34 am

    Have a great day Maris. That first photo spells of weekends and thank godness it’s Friday today 🙂

  • Reply
    Lisa @ Tarte du Jour
    May 27, 2011 at 12:19 am

    Great links… i enjoyed this post! The glass of wine is so inviting. Happy Memorial Day!

  • Reply
    May 27, 2011 at 12:07 am

    What wonderful ideas for the holiday weekend! I just finished reading your PR post – twice! It clarified a lot for me and I understand now why I get press releases. I’m still processing some of the information. Thanks for taking the time to write it!

  • Reply
    Nelly Rodriguez
    May 27, 2011 at 12:04 am

    Certainly makes me wish we celebrated Memorial Day in the DR!

  • Reply
    May 26, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    It is defininitely the beginning of grilling season, although for us it began last weekend on the Victoria Day long weekend. It was fin to meet you in Washington. I look forward to continue following as we both grow. It was so much fun wasn’t it!!!!

  • Reply
    May 26, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    I think I can live on those beverages and appetizers for the whole weekend..They sound soo awesome.

  • Reply
    The Waspy Redhead
    May 26, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    Have a happy Memorial Day weekend! This all looks so delicious!

  • Reply
    May 26, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    I am so busy clicking all these delicious links! Thanks for the selection of great recipes

  • Reply
    May 26, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    How fun! Lots of yummy choices on the menu. My favorites are the Smoked Mozzarella Pasta Salad and panzanella! SO, so good! Hope you have a great long weekend!

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