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4 Crowd-pleasing Labor Day side dishes

A fun loving drama queen who is head over heels in love with food. Culinary school hopeful (Le Cordon Bleu - Paris), full time recipe creator, food, home and travel writer for She and "mom" to a furbaby. Wife of a social media ...

No more ordinary pasta salads for you!

There's nothing worse than going to a Labor Day party on an empty stomach only to find bowls of store-bought potato salad and cheap hot dogs. Satisfy your craving for something a little more gourmet and impress your friends by bringing one of these crowd-pleasing sides to the picnic!

These homemade sides are not just tasty, but they are also good for you! Each dish is loaded with fresh summer veggies so these are the perfect way to use up those last harvests from your summer garden!


Candied carrots with goat cheese

No more ordinary pasta salads for you!

Serves about 4


  • 1 pound baby carrots, cleaned
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • About 2-1/2 tablespoons goat cheese
  • Fresh mint


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large cast iron pot, drizzle olive oil. Place carrots over it. Top with maple syrup, butter and salt and pepper. Cover the pot and roast in the oven for about 25 minutes or until carrots are soft to the touch.
  2. Serve in a large bowl with goat cheese and mint.

Fresh tomato, cucumber and cilantro pasta salad

No more ordinary pasta salads for you!

Recipe adapted from My Recipes

Serves about 6


  • 8 ounces spaghetti noodles
  • 1 large cucumber, quartered and sliced
  • 2 medium-size tomatoes, chopped
  • 2/3 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Sprinkle in salt. Add in noodles and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Rinse in cold water and set aside.
  2. Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, honey, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Cover and let chill for 20 minutes.
  3. Once noodles have cooled, mix with the chopped tomatoes, cucumbers and cilantro leaves in a large bowl. Toss with chilled dressing and serve immediately.

Lighter potato salad

No more ordinary pasta salads for you!

Yields about 8 cups


  • 3/4 pound red skinned potatoes, quartered
  • 3/4 pound sweet potatoes, quartered
  • 1 large cucumber, quartered or sliced
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 sweet pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Basil leaves, chopped


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add potatoes. Sprinkle the water with salt. Boil potatoes until soft, but not until skins start to fall off, about 10 minutes. Rinse in cold water.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk the yogurt, mayo, salt, pepper, vinegar and cilantro together. Once potatoes have cooled, toss with cucumbers, tomatoes, sweet pepper and dressing. Serve with fresh basil and a dash of salt and pepper.

Mango & strawberry guacamole

No more ordinary pasta salads for you!

Yields about 1-1/2 cups


  • 2 ripe avocados, pitted and scooped
  • Juice of 1-1/2 limes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup mango, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped strawberries


  1. Place the avocados in a large bowl and mash. Add lime juice and salt and pepper, stir to combine. Gently stir in mango and strawberries. Serve immediately.

More Labor Day recipe inspiration

Gluten-free Labor Day menu
Labor Day: 5 Festive potato salad recipes
Classy cocktails for Labor Day

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