Labor Day is this year’s best time to cook—seriously

Give your summer the proper send-off it deserves with these five, simple recipes!

Labor Day signals the end of summer. It calls to mind the carefree days we spent getting sunburns, taking vacations, and generally enjoying all that summer has to offer. And how do we honor this memory of summer? We fire up the barbeque, don our favorite grilling apron, and flex our spatula skills with all the meat we can get our hands on. It’s a tradition as old as time—since our forefathers first fired up the Weber and slipped on their most comfortable pantaloons.

But may I suggest an alternative? That’s right; maybe it’s time we rethink the idea of grilling meat as the epitome of Labor Day cuisine. Think about it this way: your local farmer’s market is at its best—produce is thriving, and farmers are doling out beautiful fruits and veggies with reckless abandon. Right now is the perfect holiday to show off your culinary chops and take full advantage of Summer 2019’s bounty.

Hold on—hold on! I know what you’re thinking. Is he really trying to convince me that I should spend my time making veggie dishes on a holiday where meat reigns supreme and labor is the persona non grata? And you’re absolutely correct; that is why I’ve compiled a list of simple summer recipes that will showcase all that summer has to offer, with minimal effort. And yes, you can even keep the title of “Grill Master”.

1. Grilled Salsa Roja

Whether you use it to spice up your dips, dollop it on your meat, or eat it plain with a spoon (I won’t judge)—this recipe lets you utilize the grill and those oh-so-fresh tomatoes and peppers you picked up at the market. The secret is in the char. Recipe by Gabriela Camara.

Image: Bon Appetit. Photo by Marcus Nilsson.

2. Grilled Summer Squash and Red Onion with Feta

Skip the wimpy, watery, flavorless summer squash of past grill-outs and use this recipe instead. Pair the abundant zucchini and other summer squashes with a nice, big onion and creamy feta cheese for a salad that will have you going back for seconds. Recipe by Claire Saffitz.

Image: Bon Appetit. Photo by Alex Lau, styled by Susie Theodorou & Amy Wilson

3. Grilled Ranch Potatoes

Potatoes are a cook-out staple. This recipe pairs fork-tender baby taters with ranch seasoning for a revamped take on a classic. Another bonus: there’s minimal work required.

Image: Delish. Photo by Jonathan Boulton.

4. Coconut-Creamed Corn and Grains

Corn is a staple summer food. Corn with grains takes it up a notch. Add in ginger, garlic, jalapeño, and crunchy onions and you’ve got an absolute hit. But mix in coconut milk, and it’s game over. Top with meat or eat it on the side—you can’t go wrong. Recipe by Chris Morocco.

Image: Bon Appetit. Photo by Chelsie Craig, styling by Maggie Ruggiero.

5. Gochujang-Marinated Grilled Skirt Steak

I couldn’t in good conscience—compile a Labor Day recipe list without including some form of meat. If you’re lucky, your farmer’s market might include fresh meats; and nothing beats a fresh cut of skirt steak. Marinated with spicy gochujang sauce and served on warm tortillas, this steak is just waiting for a delicious veggie side. Recipe by Claire Saffitz.

Image: Bon Appetit. Photo by Alex Lau.

Congratulations! You are now armed with the knowledge of five, new recipes to take advantage of the last vestiges of summer. The perfect Labor Day celebration is now in your hands.

 

Guest blogger: Joe Pueschner

 

 

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