It’s officially the unofficial start to summer that we’ve all been craving! You know, that time of year when people start getting extra friendly with a neighbor or pal with a swimming pool. Memorial Day is here and, like most Americans, you probably have plans to spend the sunny day-off outside, on a deck, by the water, with good food, drink, and better friends.
Remember, these aren’t the cookouts of your youth; don’t allow your buddies to grill packaged weenies and frozen burger patties. This is a new era; your golden age of Memorial Day cookouts. We’ve compiled the very best of our cookout-inspired recipes — simple, delicious summer foods that may even be good for you (shhh!)
The flavor combination in this beer cocktail tastes exactly like summer is supposed to taste — light, sweet, refreshing, and maybe just a little bit boozy! We made our own fresh-squeezed lemonade, slushed it up in the blender, and topped it off with ice cold Sam Adams Summer Ale.
Add color, spice, and a little flare to your cookout spread with this Cajun-inspired recipe. We layered Andouille sausage with shrimp, peppers, and sausage for something like a shrimp boil on a stick! Serve with grilled corn and potatoes to really pull the theme together.
Roasted Tomatillo and Pineapple Salsa
Are you tired of bland, store-bought salsa, but intimidated about making your own homemade chip-dip? This roasted tomatillo and pineapple salsa is sweet and refreshing, with a perfect amount of spicy bite. It’s full of complex flavor notes and a breeze to make. The tomatillo is tangy, the pineapple saccharine, and salsa staples like cilantro, lime juice, garlic, onion, and salt strike a harmonious balance. Throw this salsa down with some blue corn tortilla chips and watch your guests lick the bowl clean.
With great entertaining comes great responsibility, so make sure your Memorial Day guests have a tasty bev to wash down your delicious food. The only thing better than a cool summer cocktail is a frozen summer cocktail. The Talenti Sorbetto in this recipe is brilliant in color and light in calories. All you need is your favorite bottle of cheap cab sauv, a little lime juice, mixed berries, and a blender. With only 222 calories per 8 oz serving, it’s the perfect summer cocktail.
One of our recent favorites, these delightful fries pack all the fiery punch of Sriracha with half the calories of Lays’ limited run of the hot pepper sauce flavored chips. Excluding salt and pepper, these exceptionally crispy fries require only three ingredients to make. Have you tried your hand at homemade fries or chips before only to end up with mushy potato clumps? We tell you how to avoid that so your fries come out with perfect crisp and unbelievable flavor. These fries are hot, so make sure you serve them with a fresh pitcher of Talenti frozen sangria.
Typical dessert fare can be dense and ill suited for holiday cookouts. This strawberry lemonade cake recipe has the decadence of a conventional bakery cake, but contains no butter, little sugar, and is clean, light, and perfectly sweet. Topped with a gooey lemon cream cheese frosting and adorned with fresh strawberries, will leave your guests feeling refreshed and ready for a dip in the pool.
Red, White, & Blueberry Turkey Burger Sliders
At DIR, we’re all about turkey burgers. They’re more flavorful and less fattening than traditional beef burgers. Ben Franklin wanted to make the turkey America’s national bird, so you won’t be sacrificing any patriotism when you throw these on the grill. The slider format is automatic portion control, leaving you plenty of room for corn on the cob, potato salad, cake, and frozen sangria. The blueberry balsalmic reduction and feta cheese topping is a unique, accessible, and patriotic flavor pairing.
A simple yet inventive take on classic barbecue, these BBQ chicken tacos are simple (less than 30 minutes to make), super healthy, and delicious. Ditching classic taco condiments like tomatoes, black beans, and peppers, our tacos have a light avocado coleslaw to complement a classic barbecue taste. A little prep for the slaw and a quick dry rub of familiar spices on the chicken and you’re ready to grill. Not coincidentally, these babies pair perfectly with a glass of frozen sangria.
Just like we needed to rethink the go-to beef burgers of yore, we also the traditional side of mayo-mustard slathered potato salad needed a reboot too. Containing classic ingredients like red skin potatoes, rosemary, and red bell pepper, we added sweet potatoes—one of the healthiest foods on the planet—so this recipe doesn’t lack in the flavor department. Replacing the fatty mayo with the versatile non-fat Greek yogurt was the kiss of greatness, and this dish continues to win over people who are obsessed with traditional potato salad.
Chunky Guacamole with Serrano Peppers
No patio party is complete without a beautiful and verdant dish of guacamole. We take the traditional guacamole recipe to the next level with a serrano chili pepper, which maximizes the flavor of the onion, cilantro, and lemon. This dish will look amazing when placed next to your roasted tomatillo and pineapple salsa. Make sure you get a dip before your guests do, ’cause this guac won’t last long.
This savory sandwich recipe is perfect for health conscious eaters. The Banh Mi is a traditional Vietnamese sandwich that is winning over foodies across the county. We’ve taken the trendy recipe and shaved off a couple hundred calories without sacrificing any deliciousness. Using lean pork, bold spices, and substituting apple cider for the traditional mayonnaise, this sandwich immediately won over party guests.
Jalapeno Cheddar Burger Bite Kabobs
Our newest recipe creation comes just in time for the kick-off to summer! We used organic Suzy Sirloin beef to craft these kabob-ready meatballs. Stuffed with jalapeno and sharp cheddar cheese, we grill the flavor right in. Skip the bun and mess of toppings, two of these little guys are all you need, especially when grilled up with some mushrooms.
Juicy Watermelon Jalapeno Twist Mojitos
Take one of the best summer cocktails, smash it with one of the best summer fruits, and spice it up with a little slice of jalapeno and you’ve got yourself a real bozzy treat! Skip the rum and it’s just as tasty and a little more family-friendly.
If you’re lucky enough to find some juicy peaches already, then you’ve got to serve this tantalizing salad! Sweet peaches so perfectly complement the fresh mozzarella cheese for a real flavor shift from the traditional tomato caprese. Total crowdpleaser at any cookout buffet.
photos by Dana Shultz, Kacy Meinecke