For as long as I can remember, Labor Day has been a weekend for friends and family to close out the summer and kick off the school year with a good ol’ backyard boogie. Matter of fact, I dropped a backyard boogie set on my Spotify playlist called “Friday Night Flows”, so if you’re looking for some beats for the long weekend, check it out here (and subscribe if you like it).
I take pride in firing up my grill and serving up mouth-watering dishes. I have tons of recipes from tri-tip and entraña to classic burgers. Since I’ve gone vegetarian, I needed to create a menu that would give me that same grilling experience without the meat.
My recipes are definitely not the average toss-veggies-on-the-grill menu. Those are too soft for my taste. Instead, I’ve created a Labor Day menu, from apps to dessert, that packs a punch with Indian flavor and spice. Anybody who enjoys manning their grill and hanging with friends and fam will love it (and I promise you won’t miss the meat).
Spicy Street Corn
Spicy street corn is a fun twist on corn on the cob. It’s super simple to make — just grill your corn, add the spices, and you’re done!
- 1 ½ tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 ½ tablespoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- ¾ teaspoon of hot Indian red chili powder (or to taste)
- 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 cobs of corn
- 1 bunch cilantro
- Ghee or butter, melted
- 1 lime
- Preheat grill to medium-high.
- Mix seasonings together.
- Husk corn.
- Chop a large handful of cilantro.
- Grill corn with the lid closed, turning occasionally until the corn is nicely charred and cooked.
- Remove from grill and immediately brush the corn with melted ghee or butter.
- Liberally sprinkle spice blend and cilantro over corn.
- Finish with a large squeeze of lime.
Beyond Masala Burger
A good ol’ fashioned backyard boogie needs a juicy burger. As a vegetarian, I absolutely love the Beyond Burger because it satisfies you like beef but without the cow.
The Beyond Masala Burger is how an Indian would cook a burger full of spices in the patty, but also a creamy green chutney as the condiment. It’s a perfect balance between east and west, and will leave you wanting seconds!
- ¼ cup non-fat yogurt
- 2 bunches cilantro
- 1 box of mint
- 2 serrano peppers
- 3 cloves of garlic
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
Burger patty ingredients
- 8 Beyond Burger patties (4 packages)
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon snipped fresh cilantro (optional)
- 2 teaspoons chana masala seasoning
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- Sea salt, to taste
- 8 whole-grain hamburger buns, split and toasted
- Sliced tomatoes
- Sliced onions
- Make the green chutney first. Add all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Put in the fridge to chill. Move onto your burgers.
- Preheat and clean the grill. Get that grill fired up to put a solid sear on your burgers.
- In a large bowl, add the Beyond Burger patties, finely chopped onion, and seasonings. With your hands, mix the seasonings into the patty. Add salt to taste.
- Divide the mixture into 8 portions and shape into patties.
- Grill Beyond Burgers for 3 minutes on each side or until internal temp is 165°F.
- Top your burgers with fixings, green chutney, and enjoy!
All burgers need fries and I absolutely love seasoned fries! The Desi fries are my take on the Five Guys seasoned fries. They’re tossed in spicy Indian seasonings and are the perfect pair to the Beyond Masala Burger.
- 15 ounces frozen fries, thawed
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, for frying
- 1 tablespoon butter, for frying
- 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
- ½ onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ cup tomato, chopped
- Natural yogurt, to garnish
- Fresh coriander, to garnish
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Spread out the fries on a baking tray and bake for 20 minutes.
- While the fries are baking, prepare the masala. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the oil and butter.
- Stir in the ginger garlic paste and fry for a couple of minutes.
- Add the onion and fry for a few minutes until soft.
- Sprinkle in the chili powder, ground cumin, ground coriander, salt, and lemon juice and stir continuously for another minute.
- Pour in the chopped tomatoes and fry for several more minutes, until the sauce has thickened.
- Add the fries to the pan and stir until evenly coated.
- Drizzle some yogurt on top and garnish with fresh coriander.
Badam means ‘almond’ in Hindi, but it’s not like the almond milk like we drink in the store. Badam milk is an Indian almond saffron milk. It’s a summer treat and a perfect alternative to soda when chilled. I’m stoked to share it with you because it’s out-of-this-world good.
- 20-24 raw and unsalted almonds
- 2 cups of milk, divided
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 pinch saffron strands
- ⅛ teaspoon green cardamom powder
- Heat 1 cup water until just before it boils and add almonds. Rest for 5 minutes and remove the almond skin. Alternately, you can rinse and soak almonds in water for 4-6 hours.
- Blend almonds, cardamom, sugar, and saffron with the remaining ½ cup milk to a smooth paste.
- In a small saucepan, bring 1 ½ cups of milk to a boil.
- Add the paste to the boiling milk and stir well. Let simmer for 2 minutes with heat off.
- Serve badam milk warm or chilled. Enjoy!
Labor Day is nothing without a dessert to complete the spread. One of my favorites is Indian fruit custard. It’s creamy, delicious, and perfect to balance out the spicy heat in the other dishes. You can use the fruits in the recipe or pick any fruits you’re down with.
- 2 cups milk
- 2 ½ tablespoons custard powder
- 2-3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 apple
- ½ mango
- 1 banana
- ½ pomegranate
- Wash fruits and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
- Heat milk in a wide pan or saucepan.
- Add sugar and stir until dissolved.
- Meanwhile, add custard powder to a small cup.
- Add 3-4 tablespoons of milk to the custard powder. Stir until smooth.
- Slowly add custard powder mix to the boiling milk. Stir until incorporated.
- Stir on low to medium heat until the custard turns thick and coats the back of the spoon.
- Turn off the heat and whisk until smooth.
- Cover and let chill in the fridge for 2-4 hours.
- Remove fruit and custard from the fridge. Whisk the custard well.
- Peel and chop fruits into small chunks.
- Add fruits to custard, stir, and serve immediately.
See? Your Labor Day menu doesn’t have to have meat to be complete. My meatless menu is bursting with spicy flavor, sure to satisfy even the die-hard meat-eaters in your crew.
I’d be stoked if you try at least one of these recipes and let me know how it turned out. Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend!