Memorial Day Side Dishes

Hello! Welcome to Djalali cooks, today we are running a little round up of my favorite Memorial Day Side Dishes. This weekend is the unofficial kickoff of summer. And while it’s unofficial start of summer, it is the official start of grilling season. In case you missed it, check out the Memorial Day BBQ Round Up we did on Style at a Certain Age on Sunday. To go along with those great grilling mains, here are 5 make ahead side dish recipes that are perfect for your Memorial Day menu – whether you’re hosting or taking a side to a potluck, any of these sides are sure to be hit!

Summer Bean Salad

I am kicking this week off with a Summer Bean Salad that is perfect for any cookout, potluck, or a plain ol’ summer Monday. Eat it as a salad, put it on toast! I had a vision of topping a hot dog or Bratwurst with this Summer Bean Salad. Is that weird? Regardless, this salad is a spin on the classic three bean salad; with two kinds of beans, cucumber, celery, tomato, red onion and a savory sweet dressing. Let’s get right to it!

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Langostino and Pimiento Skillet Mac and Cheese

Everyone’s favorite comfort food is also a must-have side at any summer barbecue: Macaroni and Cheese. But we are going to make it a little fancy. I found cooked, frozen langostino tails when I went to Trader Joe’s this week, and I thought they would be a perfect addition to this skillet mac and cheese. So let’s get to it: Langostino and Pimiento Skillet Mac and Cheese!

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Easy French-Style Potato Salad

Potato Salad is a quintessential warm weather side, don’t you think? I am especially fond of the potato salads that can be served warm, cold or at room temperature. This type of potato salad doesn’t have mayonnaise; a trait which distinguishes “American” potato salads from its European cousins. Up until I made this, a German-Style Potato Salad was my favorite. It is still at the top of my list, but this French-Style Potato salad is sharing the top spot. A main difference between the two is that the French-Style omits the bacon – making this a lighter, vegetarian option. Let’s jump right in!

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Easy Peanut Noodle Salad

Let’s kick off this first week of May with a super simple, Easy Peanut Noodle Salad. I love this salad for lunch, it’s quick and easy to prepare. It’s also great as a light dinner, or side dish. It’s also easily customizable: I am using ramen noodles, but you can use spaghetti, rice noodles, soba noodles…you can swap the green cabbage for red; add cucumbers. You can even swap the peanut butter in the dressing for almond butter. Get creative – let’s jump right in!

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Esquites – Mexican Street Corn Salad

Today we have a perfect side dish for yesterday’s Easy Grilled Steak Fajitas; a side dish that you can make ahead because it’s great at room temperature. Which also makes it perfect as a picnic or potluck salad. It’s hard to beat the impressive presentation of Elotes, the Mexican Street Corn dipped in a creamy sauce of mayonnaise, Cotija cheese and lime, flecked with red chili powder. But Esquites takes all the street corn flavors and tosses them in a bowl, with charred corn-off-the-cob. Easier to eat and tote along to your next potluck or picnic! Let’s make Esquites!

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Thank you for joining me today for this quick round up of my 5 favorite Memorial Day Side Dishes! No matter what your plans are for this holiday weekend, I hope you have time to get outside and enjoy some sunny skies with your friends and family. Take care and be well, xo Kelly

Outdoor Serveware for Your Holiday Sides

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  • Julie
    May 25, 2022 at 9:21 am

    Hi Kelly,

    I just had to tell you that I made your easy balsamic chicken salad last week and It was soooo delicious. My husband does not like chicken salad…he ate it as a main course and two subsequent days on crackers. He loved it and so did I. I used dill and curly parsley; next time I will try basil. To avoid a second trip to the grocery store, I made my own balsamic glaze. Who knew it was so simple? Thanks for another GREAT recipe!


    • Kelly Djalali
      May 25, 2022 at 10:06 am

      Hi Julie, I am so happy this was a success for you and your husband. 😊 Good on you for making your own balsamic glaze! This recipe is definitely a keeper, I know we have it on hand through the summer. It’s so good! Thanks so much for writing in to let us know this one is a hit! xo Kelly

  • Mari
    May 25, 2022 at 9:24 am

    Any or all of these would look amazing for a Memorial Day feast. I’m going to be the only one at home for the weekend. Everyone else is taking a much needed vacation, and all are headed for somewhere different. When I was a child, Memorial Day was not as minor a holiday as it is now, but it still wasn’t more than a day off for many people. I think we did go to the park, and my Dad was in charge of grilling. My Dad was from the South, and to him it had a lot more meaning than a day off. He knew what the day meant and he reflected on fallen comrades with sorrow and affection. He was in the Second World War, and he rarely if ever talked about it, or specific things. He would talk about his friends though, and he clearly missed them, but they were never really gone as long as they lived in his memory.
    The South has a better handle on holidays than the rest of us do, and my Kentucky relatives truly celebrate the various holidays, although on Memorial Day their bubbly and jolly personalities take a back seat to reflection and visiting the cemetery. Only after observing the solemnity and importance of the day, does the party begin, and always with a huge potluck including all their friends and relatives. Everyone brings something, and although my much loved Aunt Dorothy is gone, one of her daughters-in-law or grandchildren, is going to bring sugar pies, which my Dad always rhapsodized about. My mother never made it, and as an adult, I made various ones before I found the right recipe. The smile on his face told me I got it right. Finally! To be honest, I didn’t like it as much as Dad did, and my children were not fans either, but it was Dad’s pie and it always will be.
    This year there will be no pies, but there will be a bowl of the French potato salad. The peanut noodle salad will make an appearance later that week. The birds would certainly approve of that one, which is why they are not out at mealtimes. Thank you for reminding us of these wonderful salads. Happy sunny Thursday to all the Djalalis and Terry. ☀️😊 💐🇱🇷

    • Kelly Djalali
      May 25, 2022 at 10:19 am

      Hi Mari, what wonderful memories you have of celebrating Memorial Day. Thank you for painting us such a lovely picture of a wonderful time spent outside with family, celebrating those who have given everything for this country. It sounds like a wonderful time with delicious food! Though you won’t be celebrating in the same way this year, I am sure you will have a wonderful day. xo Kelly

  • Terry
    May 25, 2022 at 2:19 pm

    Thanks for bringing all of these back up to the front. We sometimes forget about these easy simple side dishes… have a great holiday to all 🤗❤️ Mom

    • Kelly Djalali
      May 26, 2022 at 7:44 am

      Hi Mom, You’re right. I really like to put these round ups together because I enjoy being reminded of these recipes from the archives. xo Kelly