20 Vegetarian Memorial Day Recipes You'll Want to Make All Summer

charred cabbage salad
Photo: Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Food Styling by Ruth Blackburn / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

Whether you're looking for a vegetable-driven main or a fresh and fulfilling side, we've got a slew of great vegetarian recipes to serve this Memorial Day and repeat all summer long. Here's inspiration for plant-based summer holiday menus.

01 of 20

Ultimate Veggie Burgers

Ultimate Veggie Burger
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis

These veggie burgers hit every satisfying, savory note with a hearty mix of pearl barley, chickpeas, mushrooms, and crispy panko. For the sturdiest patties, evenly distribute the panko by stirring the patty mixture until very well-combined.

02 of 20

Charred Avocado Salad with Cilantro Mayo

Charred Avocado Salad with Cilantro Mayo
Victor Protasio

This smoky salad from chefs Christopher Kostow and David Guilloty at The Charter Oak in St. Helena is pure California magic. Searing transforms the firm-ripe avocado into a creamy treat with a hint of char.

03 of 20

Nina's Potato Salad

Nina's Potato Salad
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox & John Somerall / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis

"One of our first — and favorite — Horn side dishes is our potato salad," says chef Matt Horn, of his wife Nina's popular recipe. "This is our take on the classic recipe that goes perfectly with barbecue!" The crowd-pleasing side is neither too rich nor too light, hitting the perfect balance of tart and creamy.

04 of 20

Grilled Vegetable Flatbread with Smoked Almond Muhammara

Overhead close-up of Grilled Vegetable Flatbread with Smoked Almond Muhammara Recipe
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

This show-stopping vegetarian main combines grilled zucchini, peppers, and squash on sangak, a gigantic Persian flatbread (if unavailable, lavash is a worthy substitute). In an unsual twist, the vegetables are marinated after grilling, which gives you time to whip up the smoky, tangy muhammara and grill the sangak until golden.

05 of 20

Charred Cabbage Salad with Pecan Dukkah and Chile-Lime Butter

charred cabbage salad
Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Food Styling by Ruth Blackburn / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

Nick Cobarruvias draws on his Mexican heritage for the menu at San Francisco's Otra, layering complex flavor combinations into dishes like this crisp-tender cabbage salad. At the restaurant, he seasons the charred cabbage with chile-lime butter, which is mildly spicy from árbol chiles and bright from lime zest. The pecan dukkah adds earthiness from cumin and pops of citrus from coriander, plus a lovely nutty flavor and texture from the toasted pecans and sesame seeds.

06 of 20

Grilled Corn Salad with Coconut-Peanut Chaat

Overhead view of a serving bowl filled with Grilled Corn Salad with Coconut Peanut Chaat
Photo by Fred Hardy / Food Styling by Ali Ramee / Prop Styling by Christina Brockman

This salad combines sweet, lightly charred fresh corn with a topping that stars ingredients including flaked coconut, curry leaves, and peanuts. It's a side dish or main that's bursting with flavor and texture — salty, nutty, crunchy, juicy, sweet, savory, and crisp. The chaat can be made in advance and stored at room temperature for up to one week, so it makes day-of prep easy. Just prep the scallions, grill the corn, and toss everything together.

07 of 20

Kashke Bademjan (Iranian Kashk and Eggplant Dip)

Kashke Bademjan
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis

A little thicker and saltier than yogurt, kashk is an Iranian dairy product that gives this aromatic eggplant dip its luscious texture and tart flavor. Floral saffron, fried dried mint, and more kashk dot the top, adding beautiful color. Serve this Kashke Bademjan, inspired by Naz Riahi's love of California-based Mission Ranch Market with fresh vegetables and toasted flatbread for dipping.

08 of 20

Carnitas Jackfruit Tacos

Overhead view of a platter of Jackfruit Carnitas Tacos with a bowl of avocado salsa and pico de gallo.
Photo by Caitlin Bensel / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell

For her jackfruit tacos recipe, Jocelyn Ramirez, cookbook author and chef at Todo Verde in Los Angeles, uses cumin, chile flakes, and salt to capitalize on the pulled-pork texture of jackfruit, transforming it into a plant-based taco filling that tastes like carnitas. Served with tart, creamy avocado salsa and lemon wedges, the spicy, crispy seared jackfruit tacos are a satisfying vegetarian meal.

09 of 20

Grilled Flatbreads with Mushrooms, Ricotta, and Herbs

Grilled Flatbreads with Mushrooms, Ricotta and Herbs Recipe
© Ken Kochey

This easy grilled flatbread — topped with sautéed mushrooms, fresh herbs, and ricotta cheese — is perfect for outdoor entertaining.

10 of 20

Grilled Corn on the Cob with Calamansi Mayo

Overhead view of Grilled Corn on the Cob with Calamansi Mayo served on a black platter.
Victor Protasio

Chef Sheldon Simeon's recipe for a Hawaiian twist on Mexican elote features grilled corn slathered in a creamy, cheesy calamansi mayonnaise, which gets its acidic twang from a sour citrus fruit native to the South Pacific (you can substitute Key Limes in a pinch). Japanese chile flakes (ichimi togarashi) add heat; aonori (dried seaweed) flakes add umami oomph and island style.

11 of 20

Halloumi-and-Vegetable Skewers with Pomegranate-Tahini Sauce

Several Halloumi and Vegetable Skewers with Pomegranate Tahini Sauce served on a bed of herbed rice.
Photo by Christopher Testani / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

Pomegranate molasses is the secret ingredient in this simple marinade. Its punchy, sweet, earthy notes add long-cooked depth of flavor to cheese and vegetable skewers in just 30 minutes of marination, with pleasantly bitter tahini rounding things out. The pomegranate-tahini marinade goes the extra mile as a final drizzle for the skewers; thinned with fresh orange juice, it supplies the perfect, sweet-savory finish to the dish.

12 of 20

Farro Salad with Radishes, Snap Peas, Olives, and Pecorino

Farro Salad with Radishes, Snap Peas, Olives, and Pecorino Recipe
Eva Kolenko

Farro has a sweet, earthy flavor and delightful chewy texture; it adds a wonderful hardiness to the fresh, crunchy vegetables and salty olives and cheese in this salad. If Meyer lemons aren't available in your area, use regular fresh lemon juice and increase the honey to balance the dressing.

13 of 20

Sugar Snap Peas with Soffrito, Hot Pepper, and Mint

Sugar Snap Peas with Soffrito, Hot Pepper and Mint. Photo © Dave Lauridsen
© Dave Lauridsen

"It's hard to improve upon a perfect sugar snap pea," says chef Travis Lett. "The question for the chef is, how do you not screw it up?" Lett's answer is to keep things simple, by cooking the sweet peas with fresh mint, crushed red pepper and soffrito (an aromatic Italian mix of sautèed minced vegetables, usually used to flavor soups and sauces).

14 of 20

Esquites-Style Poblano Pasta Salad

Overhead view of a light bluew serving bowl full of Esquites Pasta Salad
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Ruth Blackburn / Prop Styling by Christina Daley

Esquites is the creamy corn salad version of elote, the beloved Mexican street food where corn on the cob is slathered with mayo and sprinkled with chili powder and Cotija cheese. Here, we've taken esquites and turned it into a pasta salad, loaded with charred corn, zucchini, scallions, and poblano chile. A crema-mayo mixture flavored with lime and cilantro adds a bright finish, and Cotija and ancho chile powder seal the deal.

15 of 20

Grilled Halloumi Burgers with Citrus Tapenade

Grilled Halloumi Burger with Citrus Tapenade
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Prop Styling by Julia Bayless / Food Styling by Ruth Blackburn

When grilled or sautéed, halloumi develops a charred crust that yields to soft cheese inside. Here, we cut the halloumi across the equator for the centerpiece of the burger, and season it with cumin, salt, and pepper. It's then topped with a citrusy olive tapenade with just enough crushed red pepper flakes to lend it a touch of heat. A lemony aïoli complements the citrus in the tapenade and natural tang of the halloumi; roasted red peppers add a vibrant, vegetal flavor and meaty texture.

16 of 20

Celery, Grilled Grape, and Mushroom Salad

Celery, Grilled Grape and Mushroom Salad
© Con Poulos

"Celery is a vegetable people either love or hate, and we try to get people to love all their vegetables," says chef Amanda Cohen. She sets off celery's bitterness and crunch with meaty oyster mushrooms and grapes that have been grilled until almost bursting.

17 of 20

Virtue Cornbread

Virtue Cornbread
Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Prop Styling by Christina Daley / Food Styling by Emily Nabors Hall

Slightly sweet and buttery, this classic Southern cornbread is a must-order at Virtue, Erick Williams' flagship restaurant in Chicago, where he celebrates the food of the Great Migration.

18 of 20

Anu's Noodle Salad with Crunchy Fruit

Overhead close-up of Anu's Noodle Salad with Crunchy Fruit
Jennifer Chong

A joyful romp of textures, Anu Mahendro's refreshing salad combines crisp bell pepper, juicy grapes, pineapple, chewy egg noodles, carrots, and fresh apples dressed with a homemade vinaigrette. To maintain the textures, serve it chilled. 

19 of 20

Grilled Fruit with Honeyed Lemon Thyme Vinegar

Grilled Fruit with Honeyed Lemon Thyme Vinegar
© Con Poulos

For this super-simple summer dessert, chef Dan Barber infuses honey with lemon thyme vinegar, then drizzles it over grilled summer fruit.

20 of 20

Summer Tomato Salad with Jicama and Avocado

Summer Tomato Salad with Jicama and Avocado Recipe
Aubrie Pick

Though Memorial Day might be a little too soon to start reveling in peak tomato abundance, we guarantee no one will complain if you whip up this salad with cherry or grape tomatoes. Traci des Jardins' take on a classic, produce-forward summer salad features juicy tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, and lightly sweet slices of jicama. The simple lime dressing gets a hit of fresh, herbal brightness from plenty of cilantro leaves.

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