My husband and I hosted the family’s holiday barbecues for over 20 years. I was always trying new ideas for appetizers to keep everyone happy. These are some of my family’s favorite Memorial Day barbecue appetizer recipes.
Summer Salsa Memorial Day Barbecue Recipe
This colorful salsa appetizer has been a hit at every Memorial Day barbecue I’ve ever hosted. Make this salsa a day ahead so it can mingle flavors overnight.
- · 8 plum or roma tomatoes diced
- · 1 red onion diced
- · 1 yellow bell pepper diced
- · Juice of one lime
- · ½ tsp. lime zest
- · 3 tbsps. chopped fresh cilantro
- · 1 cup frozen white corn (uncooked)
- · 1 small can black beans (drained and rinsed)
- · One jalapeno pepper diced (remove seeds before dicing to limit the heat)
- · ½ tsp. salt
- · ½ tsp. fresh ground black pepper
- · One cucumber diced (remove seeds before dicing by cutting in half lengthwise and scraping seeds with a spoon)
- · Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight, (or at least 3 hours).
- · Serve with tortilla chips.
Crab Spread Appetizer
This is an old fashioned recipe – simple yet delicious – that was served at all of our summer barbecues.
- · 4 scallions chopped
- · 12-14 ounces any type crab-meat
- · ½ tsp. horseradish (optional)
- · ½ cup mayonnaise (or add a little more if needed)
- · ¼ tsp. ground white pepper (if not available use black pepper)
- · Remove any pieces of shell left in the crab-meat
- · Drain the crab-meat well to remove all liquid
- · Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl
- · Refrigerate covered for at least one hour or until completely cold
- · Serve with Wheat Thins
Keeping this appetizer cold is important. When serving, layer two bowls – one with ice cubes (or a picnic type ice pack) – and the serving bowl with the crab spread sitting on top of the ice cube bowl. Refresh ice as needed.
Open Faced Cucumber Sandwich Appetizer
This is a super-fast and easy Memorial Day barbecue appetizer. It will please all age groups and be the first appetizer you run out of.
- · 1 large or 2 small cucumbers washed thoroughly and sliced into ½ inch slices
- · 1 large or two small French baguettes sliced into ½ inch slices
- · 8 oz. whipped cream cheese
- · 2 tsp chopped fresh dill
- · Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- · Combine cream cheese, salt, pepper, and dill in a small bowl
- · Spread cream cheese mixture on top of each bread slice
- · Top each piece with one cucumber slice
Serve on a nice patriotic platter arranged in layers.
Fresh Fruit Appetizer
Everyone loves fresh fruit…especially served as a finger food. Try this using Cool Whip as a dip alongside the fruit. You will need red, white, and blue decorated toothpicks for the fruit.
- · 1 cantaloupe
- · 1 small seedless watermelon
- · 1 honeydew melon
- · 4 kiwi fruit
- · 2 pints strawberries
- · 1 pineapple
- · 2 tbsp. chopped fresh mint leaves (optional)
- · Remove rinds, stems, cores, etc. and cut all fruit into bite sized pieces
- · Mix chopped mint leaves with Cool Whip (optional)
- · Arrange fruit on a platter with container of Cool Whip in center
- · Put toothpicks in the pieces of fruit to make dipping easy
Vegetable Tray Appetizer with Creamy Reduced Fat Dip
Every Memorial Day barbecue needs a reduced fat appetizer as an option for those guests watching calories. Be sure to let people know the dip was prepared with low fat ingredients.
- · Assorted vegetables, (such as: cucumbers; bell peppers; celery; carrots; scallions; and broccoli florets). Washed, trimmed, and cut into bite sized pieces
- · ½ cup fat free sour cream
- · 8 oz. reduced fat cream cheese at room temperature
- · ½ cup fat free ranch dressing
- · 1 tsp. chopped fresh dill leaves (You can use dried dill if fresh is not available.)
- · ½ tsp onion powder
- · ½ tsp garlic powder
- · Pinch of fresh ground black pepper
- · In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients except vegetables. Whip with an electric mixer on low speed until combined. Then whip on high speed for about 1-2 minutes.
- refrigerate for at least 2 hours
- · Transfer dip into serving size bowl (you can reserve half of the dip to refill later to keep it chilled)
- · Arrange assorted vegetables on platter with dip in the center.
Always remember to keep cold foods cold at a barbecue. Foods spoil quickly in warm summer gatherings. Serve appetizers in smaller quantities and keep reserves in the refrigerator so they remain fresh. I like to keep cold foods cold on the table with a bowl of ice under them. When serving outside, keep foods out of the sun and remember to keep things covered to protect them from insects.