Welcome to Labor Day weekend — the unofficial end of summer. It’s not nearly as exciting as the unofficial start of summer, Memorial Day weekend, but still, this is another fun weekend usually celebrated with family, friends and food. If you’re looking for recipes to please a crowd, we have plenty for you to choose from.

Incidentally, all the recipes are meatless, but the crowd might not even notice.

Dips and spreads

roasted red pepper hummus A popular take on ancient hummus is to add roasted red peppers. (Photo: Lorraine Kourafas/Shutterstock)

  • Roasted Red Pepper Hummus — A decade or so ago, this might have seemed like an odd choice for many Super Bowl parties. Now this Mediterranean spread has become mainstream, and everyone loves it as a dip for veggies, crackers and chips.
  • Guacamole — Double or triple this recipe because this basic guacamole will go quickly
  • Ranch dressing and dip — Don’t buy bottled. This recipe can be thinned out for dressing or thickened for a dip and has none of the sugary, chemically taste that store-bought dips can have.


tomato-watermelon-salad Tomato Watermelon Salad (Photo: EsHanPhot /Shutterstock)

Main dishes

Grilled eggplant and veggies Grilled eggplant pairs well with other vegetables in a sandwich. (Photo: Lestertair/Shutterstock)

  • Grilled Eggplant with Red Bell Pepper Sandwich — No one will miss the meat in the hearty, savory, veggie-heavy sandwich.
  • Tofu Sriracha — Here's another meatless dish that’s spicy and grilled with green onions to offset the heat.
  • Black Bean Burger — Once these patties are assembled and grilled, they get topped just like a beef burger would.
  • Mushroom Burger — Mushrooms are so meaty, and these burgers use sautéed mushrooms instead of ground beef as the base for a hearty burger.

Side dishes

Corn on the cob Water from boiling corn on the cob can make a mineral- and vitamin-rich start to stock. (Photo: NEstudio/Shutterstock)

  • Corn on the Cob — Just in case you weren’t sure how to prepare this classic in the traditional manner, we have simple instructions.
  • Baked Beans — In this roundup of summer slow cooker recipes, you’ll find slow cooker baked beans. It’s good to have a few hands-off dishes when you’re feeding a crowd.
  • Sweet Potato Salad — No mayo in this spicy potato salad — just healthy olive oil and plenty of fresh herbs and spices.
  • Penne Pasta Salad with Black Olives — Make this salad a day ahead of time to let the flavors meld together.


chocolate cupcakes These chocolate cupcakes are moist and rich, and the addition of raspberries on top of the buttercream frosting offers the visual flair they deserve. (Photo: Jaymi Heimbuch)

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

The only Labor Day recipes you'll need
Please the crowd at the pool, the park or in your backyard with our healthy, farmers market-focused recipes.