23 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

Memorial Day weekend doesn't have to be all about hot dogs and burgers. Summer's unofficial kickoff also happens to be the perfect time to celebrate all the great produce that's gracing the farmers' market these days. 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.

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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.

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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 the firm-ripe avocado transforms into a creamy treat with a hint of char.

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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!" This crowd-pleasing side is neither too rich nor too light, hitting the perfect balance of tart and creamy.

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Beet Salad with Shiso

Beet Salad with Shiso
© Evan Sung

Try chef Greg Baxtrom's beet and snow pea salad from Olmsted in Brooklyn.

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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 his 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 the chile-lime butter, which is mildly spicy from árbol chiles and bright from lime zest. The pecan dukkah adds earthiness from the cumin and pops of citrus from the coriander, plus a lovely nutty flavor and texture from the toasted pecans and sesame seeds.

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Corn Chaat with Tomato-Tamarind Chutney

Corn Chaat with Tomato-Tamarind Chutney
Jennifer Causey

Traditional chaat throws every flavor and texture together, from crunchy and fried to cool and creamy, tangy to sweet and fiery.

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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.

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Watermelon and Charred-Tomato Salad

watermelon salad

Tim Byres uses a smart trick here: He sears the tomatoes on one side only, so they're fresh and smoky at the same time.

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Grilled Flatbreads with Mushrooms, Ricotta and Herbs

grilled flatbread

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

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Corn on the Cob with Seasoned Salts

Corn on the Cob with Seasoned Salts. Photo © Con Poulos
© Con Poulos

"Walk to pick it, run to cook it," was the mantra back in the days when corn turned starchy within hours of harvesting. New varieties stay sweet and tender longer. Flavoring the ears here is a trio of seasoned salts.

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Grilled Tomato Salad with Mozzarella and Unagi Sauce

Grilled Tomato Salad with Mozzarella and Unagi Sauce
© John Kernick

Chef Stephanie Izard makes the ultimate summer salad with a creamy version of sweet-salty Japanese unagi sauce, which is typically brushed over eel.

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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.

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Cracked New Potatoes with Fennel Raita

Cracked New Potatoes with Fennel Raita
Jennifer Causey

This veggie main uses every part of the fennel plant. Thomas quarters and grills the bulb until mellow and tender, dresses thinly sliced fresh stalks with lemon, and stirs the feathery fronds into a yogurt raita spiked with fresh ginger.

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Grilled Polenta and Radicchio with Balsamic Drizzle

Grilled Polenta and Radicchio with Balsamic Drizzle

Chef Ryan Poli became interested in vegan cooking because his girlfriend follows a mostly vegan diet. "It was difficult to cook for her at home," he says. "I couldn't just open the fridge and make something. I had to really think." This relatively simple dish of grilled polenta and radicchio proves it's possible to create something deeply delicious, substantial and vegan with just a handful of ingredients.

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Sugar Snap Peas with Soffrito, Hot Pepper and Mint

Sugar Snap Peas with Soffrito, Hot Pepper and Mint

"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).

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Grilled-Fruit Bruschetta with Honey Mascarpone

grilled-fruit bruschetta with honey mascarpone
© Cedric Angeles

This knife-and-fork dessert from chef Michael Glissman is a fantastic showcase for seasonal fruit at its peak; caramelizing the fruit on the grill intensifies its flavor. The grilled bread served alongside soaks up the sweet juices.

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Crispy Quinoa Sliders

Crispy Quinoa Sliders

These light patties are fantastic as mini veggie burgers or served with a salad.

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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.

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Summer Farro Salad

Summer Farro Salad

Chef Marco Canora simmers farro in water with sautéed onion, carrots and celery. The aromatic vegetables add delicate flavor to the cooked grains.

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Dill Pickles

Dill Pickles
© John Kernick

These incredibly simple pickles have just the right amount of garlic and dill and are intensely crunchy and refreshing right out of the refrigerator.

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Grilled Eggplant Salad with Walnuts

Grilled Eggplant Salad with Walnuts

Terrific as a salad or a spread for flatbread, adzhapsandali is like a Georgian version of ratatouille. Grilling the eggplant gives the dish a luscious, smoky flavor.

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Grilled Fruit with Honeyed Lemon Thyme Vinegar

Grilled Fruit with Honeyed Lemon Thyme Vinegar

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

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Summer Tomato Salad with Jicama and Avocado

Summer Tomato Salad with Jicama and Avocado Recipe
Aubrie Pick

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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