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Bean burgers, veggie dogs, and BBQ “meats” are tasty and all, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t confess that the sides are always the party hits at cookouts! Labor Day in the United States is quickly approaching and if you are still scrambling to figure out what to bring to a party or what to make for your own, fear not. Our Food Monster team has scoured our archives for flavor-packed, summery side recipes that include cookout classics and interesting, unique takes on your average summer party fare.
Keep reading for vegan recipes for baked beans, pasta salads, layered bean dips, and other goodies that we promise will wow both vegan and non-vegan party attendees. All of these recipes can be found on our mobile Food Monster App!
1. Grilled Zucchini and Green Bean Salad
Skip the boring salad that hardly anyone eats, and make Grilled Zucchini and Green Bean Salad by Taylor Kiser instead! This grilled salad is a mish-mash of simple, whole-food veggie nutrition with charred and smoky flavors slathered in the most addictive date balsamic vinaigrette. It’s a great way to make your salad more interesting and creative!
2. Brazilian Style Black Beans
Source: Brazilian Style Black Beans
These Brazilian Style Black Beans by Elsa Brobbey are a great way to put a spin on the classic bean side on Labor Day. These beans are intensely savory, perfectly spiced, and cooked until tender, rich, and fragrant with deepened flavors. This dish is also hearty, nutritious, and highly adaptable if you want to use your favorite spices or toss in some wholesome greens and vegetables.
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3. Grilled Pineapple Salsa With Mango and Corn
What party is complete without chips and salsa?! Make this Grilled Pineapple Salsa With Mango and Corn by Taylor Kiser if you want a salsa that has the perfect balance of sweetness, smoky flavor, and heat. Grilled corn gets smoky and crispy on the outside, but remains full of juicy sweet corn flavor on the inside.
4. Fava Beans and Za’atar Potato Salad
Mix up your traditional potato salad with this Fava Beans and Za’atar Potato Salad by Marta Ansaldo and Mimma Sangiorgio and you won’t regret it! It features caramelized red onion, fava beans, green olives, and, of course, perfectly tender potato wedges. The salad is well-seasoned with za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice blend of thyme, sesame seeds, sumac, and more.
5. Chickpea Baked Beans
Source: Chickpea Baked Beans
Rather than the navy beans typically used in baked beans, this recipe uses chickpeas! Make a big batch of these sweet and smoky chickpeas and you will see how quickly they run out. Chickpea Baked Beans by Karen Kitto are the ideal side because they are incredibly versatile; they taste good on or with literally anything!
6. Paleo Seven Layer Dip
Source: Paleo Seven Layer Dip
You’ll surely be the life of the party if you bring this awesome Paleo Seven Layer Dip by Rachel Carr. With sunflower seed frijoles, guacamole, butternut squash queso, meat-free chorizo, and more, nobody will believe that this is made entirely from whole foods and plant-based ingredients! Each layer is packed with flavor and nutrients and is gorgeously colorful. Who wouldn’t want to chow down?
7. 3-Step Spinach Pesto Pasta Salad
Need to whip up something quick right before your Labor Day festivities? This Three-Step Spinach Pesto Pasta Salad by Gabrielle St. Claire is the answer to all your troubles! Spinach, pine nuts, marinated sun-dried tomatoes, and vegan parmesan are blended up into the perfect pesto for tossing with your favorite pasta. Super delicious and no one will even know how easy it was!
8. Jalapeño Pickle Dip
Source: Jalapeño Pickle Dip
This Jalapeño Pickle Dip by Gabrielle St. Claire is effortless, affordable, has multiple textures, crisp dill flavor, and of course, adds a bit of heat with the jalapeños! Serve this at your gathering this weekend and people will be shocked by the simplicity yet perfectly combined flavors. Whether you’re a pickle person or not, this dish will surely sweep you off your feet!
9. Zucchini Chips With Lemon Basil Tahini Dip
If jalapeño pickle dip isn’t your thing, try these Zucchini Chips With Lemon Basil Tahini Dip by Courtney West! Since zucchini is a great source of manganese, vitamin C, and dietary fiber, you don’t have to feel guilty about eating a hearty portion of these chips. This side is a great alternative to potato chips and a sour cream-based dip.
10. Quinoa Stuffed Peppers With Jalapeño Cream Sauce
These Quinoa Stuffed Peppers With Jalapeño Cream Sauce by Rene Barker can be sliced into smaller portions to make a hearty, protein-full side. Not only are these healthy but they are also packed full of flavor and spice. The star of the show is the jalapeño cream sauce. Creamy and spicy, what more could you want?
11. Hearts of Palm Calamari
Source: Hearts of Palm Calamari
Fool your party guest or fellow party-goers with Hearts of Palm Calamari which looks incredibly similar to the real thing! This vegan calamari recipe by Ashley Hankins is flavorful, light, crispy, and delicious. It’s served with a classic cocktail sauce that perfectly compliments the crispy, tempura-battered hearts of palm. Not to mention, it only requires a few ingredients and takes just half an hour to prepare.
12. Lime-Marinated Mushrooms
Source: Lime-Marinated Mushrooms
Baby Bella mushrooms are very mild in flavor, which makes them perfect to use in marinated dishes since they soak up whatever flavors you add to the pan! In this Lime-Marinated Mushrooms dish by Joyce Gan, the bite-sized mushrooms are marinated in a sweet and salty lime sauce. This healthy side option is easy and affordable to make in large batches.
13. Simple Summer Macaroni Salad
Source: Simple Summer Macaroni Salad
This Simple Summer Macaroni Salad by Dora Daily is, you guessed it, super simple and summery! Pasta is tossed with crisp vegetables like bell pepper, celery, and onion with pickles providing a tangy, salty punch that will leave everybody coming back for a second helping. This super easy and creamy macaroni is guaranteed to be the talk of the party.
14. Veggie Coleslaw With Avocado Mayo and Cashew Sour Cream
We didn’t forget about the iconic American coleslaw! This Veggie Coleslaw With Avocado Mayo and Cashew Sour Cream by Margaret Helthaler has a richness from the avocado and the nuttiness of the cashews that gives this side the same consistency as the traditional version. It’s a great party option because guests can layer some on their burgers or pair it with some grilled veggie dogs.
15. Grilled Avocado With Roasted Tomatoes
Grilled Avocado with Roasted Tomatoes by Carri Pattison makes a great side dish because it has the summery flavors we all love! Grilling the avocados adds a smokiness to their creamy texture while the roasted tomato, corn, and jalapeño filling adds bites of freshness. This is a guaranteed party hit because who doesn’t love a good avocado?
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