Fall may not begin until Sept. 22, 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: Guatemalan Guacamole
Our guacamole, which pairs buttery avocados with red onion, crunchy jicama and hot chiles, is the perfect match for the agua fresca. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips.
Make-ahead tip: Chop the egg, onion, chiles and oregano a day ahead, and then combine with the rest of the ingredients when you’re ready to serve.
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: Buffalo Blue Burgers with Celery Slaw
Grass-fed ground buffalo is a lean, eco-friendly alternative to beef. Paired with creamy blue cheese sauce and a crunchy celery slaw, these burgers will be a crowd-pleaser.
Make-ahead tip: A day ahead, form the patties and refrigerate. Prep the hot sauce, blue cheese sauce and slaw; chill.
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 and Mexican Chocolate Brownies
Hey, it’s a celebration, so serve two desserts! The popcorn treats are a crunchy, salty-sweet indulgence. The brownies have the complex flavors of Mexican chocolate (cinnamon, a touch of chile).
Make-ahead tip: Prepare both up to 2 days ahead and store in airtight containers. But we’re not responsible if they “disappear” before the party!