15 Laid-Back Recipes for Labor Day Weekend

on September 2, 2015


More Like No-Labor Day

Wistful dreams of a long Labor Day weekend usually include a gathering of friends at a scenic, summery location with great food-the perfect way spend the last precious moments of the season, reveling in the last of summer's long nights. Basically, plans for this particular holiday include anything other than what the name suggests.

To put it simply, ain't nobody got time for drawn-out recipes and high maintenance food prep when you're supposed to be boating, picnicking and, well, vacating. So we've collected our favorite no-fuss holiday weekend recipes so you can sit back, relax, and do anything and everything but labor on Labor Day.

Emily Clifton for Honest Cooking

Spicy Grilled Chicken with Creamy Avocado-Cilantro Sauce

All the vibrant flavors of lime, sriracha, ginger and brown sugar come alive in this fiery twist on a classic skewer dish. Whipping up the avocado-cilantro sauce while the chicken's grilling makes this meal perfect for multitasking to get the job done twice as fast-and since guests will likely use their hands, cleanup should be a snap.

Get the recipe here.

McKel Hill

Healthy Italian Pasta Salad

Nothing says "picnic in the park" like a big bowl of fresh pasta salad. This rendition-featuring traditional Italian flavors-was created with nutrition in mind, so you can fit in a bit of extra indulgence elsewhere.

Get the recipe here.


Korean Grilled Beef

Put a tangy Asian-inspired twist on a classic with this Korean-inspired concoction, complete with the spicy kick of sriracha sauce. It's much simpler to prepare than it appears, leaving your guests impressed and your stress level at a minimum.

Get the recipe here.


Golden Raisin-Tomato Pinchos

Every good cookout needs a little sweet-and-salty action to keep the crowd happy, and what better way to kill two birds with one stone than this combination of raisins, sundried tomatoes, prosciutto and sharp, salty cheese? This recipe is all about combining, throwing in an oven, and serving up hot, so you'll glide from start to finish with ease.

Get the recipe here.

Erin Gleeson

Nectarine and Tomato Salad

Beyond carefully chosen ingredients, all you need to prep this recipe is a knife and serving bowl. Before you know it, you've got a fresh, summer-centric side dish that's sure to disappear as quickly as it was prepared.

Get the recipe here.

Mark Boughton

Grilled Pork Chops

Who doesn't like an all-American grill-top classic? Everyone at your BBQ will beg for seconds, and you'll be content kicking back and grilling for no more than 15 minutes at a time. Prepare a small salad or side dish while the meat's cooking for maximum efficiency.

Get the recipe here.

Theresa Blackburn

No-Bake Mini Lemon Tarts

As much as we love a good baking session, when you're trying to juggle other dishes and find the time to eat everything yourself, these personal-sized lemon tarts are the ideal-and just as satisfying-alternative to cure a sweet tooth.

Get the recipe here.

Theresa Blackburn

Easy Summer Rice Salad

This cool, grain-filled side dish will provide all the best flavors of the Mediterranean without the hassle. You can use any combination of veggies you have on-hand to provide a bright complement to whatever you've got on the grill.

Get the recipe here.

Mark Boughton Photography/Styling: Theresa Blackburn

Grilled Summer Vegetables

The fresh combination of flavors and light, low-calorie impact of this simple dish make it the perfect side to heavier holiday main courses, or a hearty main dish for the vegetarian set.

Get the recipe here.

Half Baked Harvest

Grilled Avocado Caprese Toast

No one can deny the delicious combination of a simple Caprese salad, and this popular Italian menu staple is made all the better by a timeless crowd favorite-fresh avocado. Stack on a warm slice of grilled toast and drizzle with balsamic vinegar to round it off. And enjoy!

Get the recipe here.

Crumbs and Chaos

Salsa Verde Taco Dip

We're of the firm belief that there's never a bad time for great Mexican food, and this appetizer-style taco dip will be the perfect, low-maintenance starter for a day filled with, well-filling up.

Get the recipe here.

William Berry / Fotolia.com

Charcoal Grilled Shrimp

Nothing says summer quite like shrimp fresh off the grill, so this no-muss recipe is practically a no-brainer for holiday weekend entertaining. With 10 minutes of cook time, you can easily prepare a quick, homemade cocktail sauce or buttery garnish to enhance the natural flavors-or cheat a bit, and pick up your favorite dipping sauces at the local market.

Get the recipe here.


5-Ingredient Crockpot Chili

Nothing says stress-free outdoor shindig like a big pot of chili and all the trimmings. If you're looking to feed a hungry crowd and keep them full throughout the day with leftovers, try this too-easy-to-be-true five-ingredient chili recipe with toppings served buffet-style.


5-Minute Ice Cream

Requiring only three ingredients total and about the amount of time it takes to brush your teeth and fix your hair in the morning, this fresh frozen treat all but makes itself !

Get the recipe!

Erin Gleeson

Easy Ice Cream Sandwiches

This rich, chocolate-peanut butter duo is the perfect way to end a day filled with fun activities, lots of laughter and great home cooking. Plus, they're easily stored for later if you can't manage to finish them all in one sitting. (But let's not kid ourselves, there's no way these are going back in the freezer).

Get the recipe here.