5 Easy Meatless Options for Your Labor Day Menu

Whether your cookout is meat free or meat optional, these tasty recipes will please carnivores and vegetarians alike.

September 4, 2009

RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Sure, Labor Day is a classic burgers-and-dogs holiday, and we're not saying there's anything wrong with that. Even though a diet high in red and processed meat may shorten your lifespan, raise your risk of cataract, and damage the environment. In any case, peruse our list of meat-free menu options, and you'll find that adding some meatless options to your menu is as easy as pie.

Appetizer: Confetti Salsa. Don't dress up your chips and nachos in just any old thing. Create a celebratory mood with this tasty, quick-to-make topper. Use fresh, local corn instead of canned for an extra-summary flavor burst.
Main Dish: Garden Vegetable Kebabs. There are few meals as portable as food on a skewer, which makes kebabs a great choice for picnics, cookouts, and other informal get-togethers. This recipe works great with whatever fresh vegetables you can get from your garden or farmer's market. The secret is in the basting sauce; the recipe includes apricot-fennel, Southwestern-style, and spicy sesame variations.
Side Dish # 1: Easy Macaroni Salad. A summer staple, macaroni salad can easily be saturated in creamy, fatty dressing. But this version offers all the taste of the classic salad with much less fat. Substitute garden-fresh red bell peppers for the jarred peppers called for in the ingredients list.
Side Dish # 2: Watermelon Salad. Watermelon is delicious on its own, but this salad shows how well the fruit plays with others. To make sure the melon holds on to its healthy nutrients, don't refrigerate it until a few hours before you make the salad.
Dessert: Whoopie Pies. OK, very few desserts actually have meat in them (unless you count your third hamburger as dessert). But we had to include a dessert option just for completeness, didn't we? These pies contain two things everyone loves—chocolate and marshmallow—and because they're single-sized, nobody has to do any slicing or scooping or dishing out.
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