23 Best Recipes For Your Memorial Day Menu


Nik Sharma

Hey Friends, I’m a multi-award-winning and best-selling cookbook author and photographer.

Memorial Day is almost here, and I am excited because I get to take a short break, get the grill out, and have some fun cooking outdoors. I’ve got my favorite recipes for you to plan your menu for this weekend’s big cook-out!


Grilled Peach Salsa and Steak Salad and My Grilling Tips and Tricks

Summer is a beautiful season and one of my favorites of the year. Bright, juicy yellow peaches, big ears of sweet corn, peppers, and tomatoes in a gazillion different colors and shapes are all starting to appear in abundance. While I can and do grill year-round, this is typically the peak season for grilling. Hey, the Fourth of July is coming up, and I wanted to get this recipe out to you early, so you have enough time to plan. For those of you who are looking for an easy, no-fuss recipe, I think you will appreciate the unfussy nature of this grilled steak salad recipe that comes with a grilled peach salsa that also acts as the dressing for the salad.

Crispy Fish Sandwich with Chipotle Lime Tartar Sauce

I simply love fried fish sandwiches and wanted to share how I make them at home, of course, with extra spice.  First, I make my spicy tartar sauce with Primal Kitchen Foods Chipotle Lime Real Mayonnaise and toss in chopped capers and pickles. Then, I dredge filets of white fish like cod in a mixture of flour and cornstarch, followed by an egg bath and a final round in panko. Deep fry at 350F/180C in a neutral oil like Primal Kitchen’s Avocado Oil, then put it all together in a soft brioche-style bun. If you like a slice of cheddar, feel free to add it in. This fish sandwich is extra crispy!

Paleo Pork Ribs

Sometimes I crave ribs that aren’t sweet, and this is the recipe I turn to. Smoked chilli powders in chipotle and paprika give the ribs the necessary smokiness, while a splash of vinegar on the hot ribs is one of the most delicious aromas filling your room. The ribs are cooked by braising and a quick broil to create a deep char flavor. Since no liquid is added to the ribs, they are cooked by baking at a low temperature in the oven; this allows the water inside the meat to turn into steam and create a juicy and tender meat texture. For this reason, creating and maintaining a tight seal between the foil and the baking sheet is essential. 

Spareribs in Malt Vinegar And Mashed Potatoes

Ribs are an indulgent, messy experience that’s oddly relaxing: they’re 100% unfussy. Sit back, pour a glass of wine, get your fingers dirty, and dig in. I like rubs the way they do them in the South, a bit sweet and a bit sour and a lot of spice and heat.
Get the recipe in The Flavor Equation Cookbook (Page 89)

Masala Veggie Burger

Veggie burgers are surprisingly tricky to make because they include all sorts of dierent vegetables with dierent types and varying amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, and a lot of moisture. To coax them all together, I use a piece of advice from the New York Times columnist and cookbook author Melissa Clark: Dry the out vegetables. I then bind them with starch from cooked rice (cornstarch and flour leave a gummy texture).
Get the recipe in Veg-Table Cookbook (Pg 330)


Mixed Greens and Herb Salad with Lime Dressing

I’ve wondered about the necessity of a salad at Thanksgiving. With so many sides, most of which are vegetarian or vegetable-heavy, do we really have space to eat a salad I’ve come to realize that salad is important and very helpful if light? I eat my salad before I jump into the main dinner, it helps me pace myself during the big meal. Feel free to play with the herbs, use all of them, or just a few of them.

Veg-Table/Broccoli-Za’atar Salad

This is a fruitier and spicier rendition of the broccoli salad seen in the grocery store deli, also sans the mayo. Aleppo pepper, za’atar, date syrup, and pomegranate molasses bring their game to this salad party.

Orange and piquillo pepper salad

Photograph: Lizzie Mayson/The Guardian. Food styling: Ellie Mulligan. Prop styling: Louie Waller. Food assistant: Toni Musgrave Winter is a wonderful time to celebrate citrus in its full glory, and this salad is based on that premise. While this recipe uses an orange, grapefruit and blood oranges, also work magically here. Serve it with the Chicken

Lettuce Salad with Smoked Almonds, Dates, and Shallot Vinaigrette

One of my favorite salads to order at Agnes Restaurant & Cheesery in Pasadena, CA, is a fresh lettuce salad tossed with a bright shallot vinaigrette. What makes the salad extra special is the inclusion of smoked almonds and sweet dates, an unexpected combination that makes me smile every time I take a bite. This is my take on that delicious, simple salad.

Sweet Potato Kale Caesar Salad

After reading this book (Veg-Table), you might conclude that I really like Caesar salad dressing anyway. It’s true. This version is the classic upon which Avocado Caesar Dressing (page 120) is based. Roasted sweet potatoes, tender massaged kale, and crispy chickpeas with delicious umami and salty notes are mingled with luscious creaminess.

The full recipe for this dish is available in my cookbook, Veg-Table

Ranch-Style Potato Salad

This Ranch Potato Salad is easy to make, tastes fantastic, and is perfect for any occasion that calls for a potato salad. Tender potatoes are tossed in Primal Kitchen Ranch dressing with crispy bits of pancetta and fresh dill.

A Grilled Corn Feast

I love sweet corn, and one of my ultimate goals is to
host a summertime all-you-can-eat grilled sweet corn
party, accompanied by a table oering multiple options
of flavored butters, spice blends, and sauces. Until
then, I’ve given you four options that have you covered
(see page 70). The Cilantro-Garlic Butter is inspired by
Mexican flavors; the Indian Street Food–Style Grilled
Corn is packed with flavor from lime, chilli, and salt; the
Miso-Garlic Rub is Japanese inspired; and the Sweet
Fennel Butter evokes the wild fennel that grows across
California. Pick one or pick all.
Get the recipe in Veg-Table Cookbook (Pg 69)


Chinese 5-Spice Pineapple Bundt Cake

This is a fragrant cake ripe with the scent of ripe pineapples, refreshing limes, and the warm, sweet notes of Chinese 5-spice and cinnamon. A stewed concoction of chunks of spiced pineapples is topped over a yogurt-based spiced bundt cake. Serve it warm or at room temperature.

Fig Leaf Buttermilk Ice Cream and Spiced Pineapple Compote

I first learned how to use fig leaves and make syrup, and it was only a matter of time before I applied it to ice cream. This creamy, tangy buttermilk ice cream (that’s coincidentally egg-free) is infused with dried fig leaves and carries a delicious toasty coconut aroma. The ice cream is topped with a spiced concoction of diced pineapples and Chinese 5-spice that gives this frozen treat a beautiful tropical flair. 

Black Forest ice cream

You’ll love this ice cream if you like Black Forest cakes, cherries, and chocolate. Labneh or creme kefir forms the base of the ice cream, and its mild tangy flavor shines with the sweet and sour notes of the cherries. Don’t dismiss frozen cherries here, they are cheaper and packed with good flavor, but in this recipe, they will also help you save some extra time. You can and should use it to make my Black Forest Ice Cream Cake.

corn and cardamom tart

This is a versatile custard that I could bake in a tart or a pie or skip the pastry entirely and bake it in a ramekin to eat straight out of. While this recipe celebrates summer sweet corn, you can also use frozen (if frozen, use directly and add an extra 5 to 6 minutes for roasting). The roasting of the corn kernels amplifies the sweetness of the corn. Also, it introduces a tiny hint of caramelization that pairs well with the cool cardamom infused into the custard. Adding cornmeal to the crust gives the tart a wonderful texture.

Blueberry Rhubarb Cornmeal Pudding

Puddings are wonderfully easy to make and unfussy, a big reason why I deviate to them as a choice when I need something sweet. This pudding is made with finely ground yellow cornmeal and tossed with fresh slices of rhubarb and sweet juicy blueberries (and you can use fresh or frozen!). The most important part is that it’s made with fragrant coconut milk, and it thickens and firms up due to the starch present in the cornmeal, which means there’s no need for eggs! This dish can be veganized (skip the butter to grease the pan and use coconut oil); it’s dairy-free and gluten-free. This pudding might remind you of Jamaican cornmeal pudding that’s made with coconut milk and flavored with rum and raisins; they both use the same idea – thickening using starch.

black forest ice cream cake

Black forest cakes were and remain one of India’s most popular cakes for birthdays, and I love them. This old-fashioned charmer gets a makeover in the form of an ice cream cake. I’ve used the Black Forest Ice Cream made with labneh to give this chocolate cake its frosted layers.

S’mores Ice Cream

This combines two of my favorite things, ice cream, and s’mores. It’s a quick fix and a huge hit with the kids and adults.

cherries with togarashi and maple syrup

I’m doing something that most editors tell you not to do, start this with a negative. But honestly, it really isn’t as much of a negative as it is a challenge to view things in a different light. Not all fruit must be cooked or baked or exposed to high temperatures. Within a type of fruit you will probably come across a few varieties that lose their uniqueness when heated, take for instance these Skylar Rae cherries, their high sugar content makes them better suited to be eaten raw because they breakdown pretty fast on heating. This particular type of cherry is not only sweet but has a pleasant tartness too so I don’t add any lemon or lime but again you can add that if you want, just a teaspoon of fresh juice should suffice.


Bombay Lemonade/Nimbu Paani/Shikanji

Nimbu Paani, Shikanji, or, as I like to call it, Bombay Lemonade, is one of my favorite summer drinks. Typically made with green limes in India, it’s also a spectacular drink with lemons (try Meyer lemons in the recipe for a different aroma). Sweet and sour, with a smoky, spicy, and citrusy flavor, it will quench your summer thirst and keep you coming back for more.

Fig Leaf Syrup

I’ve always wanted to use fig leaves in my cooking, and considering that I’ve always made it a point to grow my favorite fruit no matter where we’ve moved, it is odd that I’ve skirted this topic. One reason might be, and I admit I do this, I tend to treat the produce I grow a little preciously, and consequently, I wait until the very last minute to eat it. I like to see fruit sit on my trees for as long as possible.

Strawberry Passion Fruit Lemonade

Here’s the thing with this lemonade, it is highly flexible. Use peaches or nectarines if you don’t have passion fruit or have a difficult time trying to find some. If you switch to stone fruit, you might need to add more lemon juice to bump up the sour factor as peaches and nectarines tend to be sweeter in taste than passion fruit. You can even take the drink a step further and throw in a cupful of fresh mint or basil while blending to add an herby flavor to this fruity and tangy drink. As for the sweetener, I like to adjust the amount of sweetener to the sweetness of the fruit. For this reason, the recipe contains a smaller amount of sugar, and you can adjust it according to your tastes. If you’re looking for a new cocktail option for a hot summer day, this is an excellent drink to play with; it makes a mighty good margarita.

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