Memorial Day BBQs have always been events at our house to look forward to––sunshine, spring temperatures, the smell of fresh cut grass, and yes, delicious food! Check out this list of unique Memorial Day recipes to shake up your kitchen and/or grill this year and serve something different alongside (or in lieu of?) burgers and hot dogs.
Celebrating Memorial Day This Year
If you’re a Woks of Life reader outside the U.S., Memorial Day is an American holiday observed to honor the men and women who’ve perished while serving in our country’s military.
It’s a day of reflection first, for remembering those who sacrificed their lives to defend our country, so we can enjoy our freedom (and BBQs) in comfort and safety. (As you are reading this post, let’s take a moment of silence to honor and think of those who have given their lives in the line of duty.)
The holiday also marks the unofficial start of summer, when we get outside, pull out the deck/patio furniture, and dust off our grills.
Of course, this year, we may still find ourselves celebrating Memorial Day a bit differently, as we all continue to take safety precautions for the vulnerable and immunocompromised.
In fact, since we might be celebrating in smaller groups and don’t have to worry about feeding a whole backyard party of people, it might be prime time for something a little different on the Memorial Day menu!
So here they are, 40 unique Memorial Day recipes to pick from this weekend. Get outside, or if you’re stuck indoors, open up the windows, put on your best BBQ playlist, break out your cast iron/grill pan, and enjoy. Happy Memorial Day, folks!
40 Unique Memorial Day Recipes
If you want to make an elaborate charcuterie board…
You know who you are. You plan your charcuterie board days in advance. You look at inspo on Instagram, and you now have a reputation for beautiful and elaborate charcuterie boards to protect.
Take things to the next level, and up your bread game with our homemade sourdough or our deliciously fragrant Shanghai Scallion Flatbread. You could also keep it traditional with our Focaccia Three Ways. Bonus if you make it into a focaccia garden. Then again, you were probably going to do that anyways.
Shanghai Scallion Flatbread
Focaccia Three Ways
If you want to feel fancy with a unique drink…
Go ahead and mix up a big pitcher of something delicious and sweet that everyone can enjoy. Our new summertime favorite is Tamarind Iced Tea, but classic Chinese ingredients like hawthorn and sour plum make for incredible iced teas as well.
Plus, they go great with rich foods. And you can never go wrong with drink + dessert in one, Bubble Tea.
Tamarind Iced Tea
Hawthorn Iced Tea
Sour Plum Drink (Suan Mei Tang)
If you want to update your dippables…
If you’re more the kind of person who likes to simply crack open bags of potato chips or pita chips, crackers, and pretzels, try one of our favorite homemade dips and sauces. Bonus—these all happen to be vegan or plant-based!
Our Favorite Hummus Recipe
Vegan Garlic Aioli
All-Purpose Peanut Sauce
If you’re craving all things fried…
The holidays are always a great excuse to break out the frying oil. This year, we’ve got eyes for one of our most popular recipes from 2020, Korean Fried Chicken, and Cha Gio (Vietnamese Fried Spring Rolls), which we’ve also mastered much to our delight.
If you’re more of an air fryer person, try 2 perfect candidates: Coconut Shrimp and White Pepper Baked Chicken Wings!
Korean Fried Chicken (Dakgangjeong)
Baked White Pepper Chicken Wings
Cha Gio (Vietnamese Fried Spring Rolls)
If you’re trying to be veggie forward…
Perhaps this year, your festivities will be a little bit more plant-based than they have in the past. We’ve got a handful of refreshing and unique salads, as well as Soy Butter Glazed King Oyster Mushrooms which are super satisfying and delicious any time.
Tofu Avocado Salad
Soy Butter Glazed King Oyster Mushrooms
Smashed Asian Cucumber Salad
Spicy Cold Skin Noodles – LiangPi
Chinese Tofu Salad
Hawaiian Mac Salad
Thai Green Papaya Salad
If you’re kicking off grill season but you’re looking for something different from hot dogs…
Look no further, and meat lovers, rejoice! And obviously you should cook hot dogs anyways, but the hot dog is just a glorified snack. Duh. (And we mean that in the best possible way in case our love for hot dogs was unclear.)
Just remember if you decide to make grilled char siu, you’ll have to hide some pieces if you want to make Pork Fried Rice or Pork Buns (Char Siu Bao) the next day; because if you leave it out, there won’t be any leftovers!
Grilled Ribeye With Soy Butter Glaze
Grilled Skirt Steak with Chimichurri
Vietnamese Noodle Salad with Seared Pork Chops
BBQ Char Siu Roast Pork on the Grill
Chinese “Char Siu” Grilled Chicken
Thai Grilled Chicken (Gai Yang)
Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce
Grilled Tandoori Chicken with Indian-Style Rice
Beijing Style Lamb Skewers (Yangrou Chuan)
Xi’An Cumin Lamb Burgers
Green Goddess Salmon Burgers
If you usually make a classic berry dessert, try…
Memorial Day is usually the day to make a light confection of cake, berries, and whipped cream. We’ve got you covered there, with a delicious Basil Berry Cake and a Fresh Berry Tart, but why not try something different?
Ultimately flexibility is the name of the game. Some of these recipes like the fruit squares, cake, and popsicles can be made with whatever ripe fruit you can find.
Others like Mango Sago and Coconut Tapioca Dessert with Sweet Rice Balls are treats Chinese people reach for in the summertime to keep cool.
Peach Squares (any fruit will work!)
Peach Cake (any fruit will work!)
4-ingredient Fruit and Yogurt Popsicles
Coconut Tapioca Dessert with Sweet Rice Balls
Black Sticky Rice Mango Dessert
Enjoy the holiday weekend, everyone!