6 Healthy Cookout Food Ideas for Memorial Day Celebrations
Memorial Day is a significant celebration observed annually on the last Monday in May. This year, we celebrate Memorial Day on 29th May. Initially, the holiday was known as “Decoration Day,” where, after the Civil War, mourners placed flowers on the graves of soldiers.1 It is a time to honor and remember the soldiers who died while serving in the U.S Military. The holiday also signifies the unofficial start of summer, and for most families, the most common way to mark the occasion is by organizing a cookout.
If you are looking for cookout food ideas or Memorial Day recipes to take your barbecue game to the next level, read on. This article explores the best cookout ideas for Memorial Day Celebrations that your family and friends will love, from the classic hamburgers and potato salad to healthy desserts. Here are six awesome cookout recipes that will make this Memorial Day something to keep talking about.
1. Grilled Chicken2
You never miss grilled chicken on a list of the best cookout food ideas. Make this flavorful chicken for your loved ones with a barbecue sauce instead of marinade, depending on your preferences.
Preparation Time: 20 Minutes
Cooking Time: 10 Minutes
- 1 full chicken chopped into pieces
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- A pinch of salt to taste
- Ground black pepper to taste
- 1½ tablespoons lemon zest, from one lemon
- Mixed bell peppers to garnish
- Combine the olive oil, garlic, thyme, oregano, salt, black pepper, and lemon zest in a mixing bowl.
- Add in the chicken pieces and massage the marinade to the chicken pieces until evenly coated. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
- Preheat the grill and brush oil on the grates. Arrange the chicken pieces on the grill.
- Cook while covering each side until well cooked. Then, transfer to a platter and serve with potato salad or French fries and coleslaw.
2. Classic Hamburger3
This cookout staple is a must have for Memorial Day weekend. They are perfectly seasoned and so flavorful. Use whole grain buns to make it healthier.
To make the patties
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 tablespoon mixed bell peppers
- ½ tablespoon granulated garlic
- 1 teaspoon olive oil or cooking spray oil
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- ½ cup freeze dried mushrooms
- 4 whole grain hamburger buns, sliced
- 4 pieces of lettuce
- 4 slices tomato, ¼-inch thick
- ½ teaspoon dried chives
- ¼ cup ketchup
- Combine ground beef, mixed bell peppers, granulated garlic, and cheddar cheese in a mixing bowl. Stir with a spatula until everything is mixed evenly. Divide the mixture evenly and shape into ½ inch patties.
- Use cooking spray or brush oil on the grill to coat, then place the patties and cook for about 4 minutes on each side.
- Rehydrate the mushrooms. Fry oil in a pan, add the mushrooms, and fry until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper.
- Toast the bun slices on the grill if desired. Then, on the bottom of the bun, add the mushroom and sprinkle some chives. Place lettuce, then one hamburger patty, and top with one slice of tomato. Add a tablespoon of ketchup to the top half of the bun, then cover to complete the hamburger. Serve with fries.
3. Crunchy Corn Salad4
Corn salad can be a unique addition to your cookouts!
Preparation Time: 15 Minutes
Cooking Time: 15 Minutes
- 3 cups crunchy sweet corn
- ½ cup dried tomato flakes
- 1 cup diced cucumbers
- 2 tablespoons dried onion
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped dill
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and gently toss. The organic sweet corn is precooked and ready to eat.
- Season with salt & pepper to taste.
4. Potato Salad5
Potato salad is a crowd pleaser for good reasons. It is easy to make and it is a classic cookout dish that everyone will love. Substitute mayonnaise with Greek yogurt for a low fat option.
Preparation Time: 1 hour
- 3 cups freeze dried potatoes
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ cup dried celery
- ¼ cup chopped green onion, plus more for garnish
- ¼ cup sweet pickle relish
- 4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
- Paprika, for garnish
- Rehydrate the potatoes by adding to six parts water, then drain.
- Mix sour cream, mustard, mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Fold in the rehydrated potatoes, onions, celery, boiled eggs, and onions until well combined. If you want a creamier salad, mash the potatoes to your desired consistency before adding the other ingredients.
- Cover and refrigerate for about an hour. Sprinkle paprika and greener onions before serving.
You will love this coleslaw recipe with a mixture of cabbage, carrots, mayonnaise, and buttermilk. You can add in nuts for a boost of nutrition.
Preparation Time: 10 Minutes
- 5 cups dried cabbage
- 1 cup dried carrots
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup milk
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon dried onion
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 Tablespoon sugar (adjust to your taste)
- ¼ cup dried onion
- 1½ teaspoon salt
- Black pepper to taste
- Combine mayonnaise, buttermilk, milk, dried onion, sugar, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl.
- In a different bowl, combine cabbage and carrots. Pour the dressing over the cabbage and carrots and mix well. Refrigerate overnight for best results before serving.
6. Apple Pie7
Desserts are a must have for Memorial Day cookout food ideas, and this pie recipe is perfect for the occasion.
Preparation Time: 20 Minutes
Cooking Time: 55 Minutes
- 4 cups freeze dried apples
- 1 double pie crust
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoons cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 egg white
- 1 tablespoon water
- Mix the apple chunks with sugar, all purpose flour, cinnamon, and salt in a mixing bowl and toss gently to combine well.
- Place the pie crust on a 9-inch pie plate. Transfer the apple mixture over the uncooked pie crust. Cut butter into small pieces and arrange over the apple mixture.
- Top with the second pie crust and adjust the edges. Then, cut a few slits on the upper crust to allow the steam to vent.
- In a different bowl, mix the egg white and water. Brush the egg mixture over the crust, then sprinkle granulated sugar.
- Bake the pie in the oven at 450 degrees F for 15 minutes. Then, lower the heat to 350 degrees F and cook for 40 more minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Allow the pie to cool before serving for about 10 minutes.
Cookouts are a fun way to celebrate Memorial Day with family and friends. Try out these healthy cookout food ideas and tips and enjoy the beginning of summer. You can always switch up the ingredients to make vegan options. Fire up your grill, invite your friends and family, and enjoy the delicious Memorial Day recipes. Did you try any of the recipes? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.
- Branden Evans