Fall may not officially begin until Sept. 23, but Labor Day, which falls on Monday, marks the official end of summer. Heck, lots of kids have already begun their school year, and the rest will head back to the classroom on Tuesday. Celebrate the end of the season with our easy Labor Day Menu. It boasts lots of fresh, end-of-season flavor, and it’s good for you too.
To sip: Watermelon-Basil Agua Fresca
Nothing says “summer” like watermelon, which is the base for this not-too-sweet Mexican refresher. Add a splash of tequila for the adults–we won’t tell
Make-ahead tip: Cube the watermelon up to a day in advance, but wait until just before the guests arrive to blend it with the rest of the ingredients so the flavors stay nice and bright.
To snack: Beautifully Basic Bruschetta
If you wanted to go beyond this basic bruschetta recipe, you could add chopped olives or capers, or sneak a slice of buffalo mozzarella under each mound.
Make-ahead tip: Make the tomato mixture ahead of time and store at room temp for up to a few hours. You can also toast (or grill) the bread ahead of time too. Then rub with the garlic and let cool completely before transferring to a sealed container
To start: BLT Bread Salad with Creamy Buttermilk Dressing
This salad combines the elements of the classic BLT sandwich with a luscious dressing.
Make-ahead tip: Combine the dressing ingredients and refrigerate; toast bread.
The main attraction: Double Decker Portobello Burgers
These portobello burgers will win you over from beef burgers … they're that good. Portobello mushrooms have a meaty texture that appeals even to committed carnivores.
Make-ahead tip: Marinate the mushrooms and slice the onion up to a day ahead of time.
On the side: Corn and Quinoa Pasta Salad
This riff on traditional American picnic fare is a whole-grain bonanza, thanks to the quinoa, whole-grain pasta and fresh corn.
Make-ahead tip: Cook the quinoa and pasta the day before; combine with the remaining ingredients on party day.
Don’t forget dessert: No-Bake Peanut Butter Popcorn Treats
These popcorn treats are a crunchy, salty-sweet indulgence. Kids and adults alike will love them.
Make-ahead tip: Prepare the treats up to 2 days ahead and store in an airtight container.