Healthy Eating

17 Drool-Worthy Recipes For Your Labor Day Cravings

The healthy Labor Day recipe roundup you’re going to want in on.

By: Rebecca Jacobs

As the last long weekend of the season, Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer. Let’s face it, it’s our last chance to enjoy a little R&R before the back-to-school and work mayhem ensues. So, we’re taking full advantage and soaking up every last juicy drop! Our grills are hot, our drinks are full, and our snacks are plentiful. But that doesn’t mean you need to throw your health and fitness goals out the window! There are so many ways to enjoy your favorite treats in a healthy and delicious way. And while we’re excited for fall foods, we’re giving summer a proper farewell by relishing in all the end-of-season flavors. From drool-worthy dips and guilt-free burgers and fries to creamy (and protein-packed) desserts, our healthy Labor Day recipe roundup has something for everyone.  

The Healthiest End of Summer Foods to Eat

Yes, PSLs are on our minds! But, before we transition to fall flavors, we’re giving seasonal fruits and veggies one last hurrah and filling our Labor Day plate with all the end-of-summer goodness. Char your favorite veggies, chop up some summer salads, and blend your favorite fruits into cocktails or mocktails. No matter how you prepare them, here are the tastiest late-summer foods to incorporate into your healthy Labor Day recipes!

Tomatoes

While you can find tomatoes all year long, nothing compares to sweet and juicy summer tomatoes. Head to the farmers market and stock your cart! And don’t worry about food waste — what you don’t use can be frozen for later use! Lucky enough to snag home-grown tomatoes? Even better.

These vibrant fruits are rich in antioxidants, loaded with Vitamin C, a good source of fiber, and contain over 95% water, making them extremely hydrating and low-cal. They’re delicious fresh, or cooked, and they pair well with virtually any veggie! Toss them in a fresh salad, grill them with a splash of balsamic, or turn them into a homemade pasta sauce. The possibilities are endless.

Peppers

With their bright, vibrant color, it should come as no surprise that sweet peppers are full of antioxidants. In fact, just one bell pepper provides 159% of the RDI for vitamin C (one of their many antioxidants), plus loads of other nutrients such as folate, potassium, Vitamins B6, A, and K, and quercetin. Even if you have a favorite, try to incorporate a mixture of colors! The nutritional value (and taste) changes with each color! Some are sweeter (red bell peppers) while others are more bitter (green), and some contain more vitamin C (yellow), while others contain more vitamin A (red)!

Char them on the grill, dip them in hummus and guac, or stuff them with protein, beans, and spices for a hearty meal. 

Figs

Figs keep us waiting all summer long while their sweet, indulgent flavor ripens to perfection. But let us tell you — they’re worth the wait! Both in flavor and health benefits. Thanks to their rich levels of fiber, these sweet summer fruits are well-known digestive aids. Plus, studies suggest figs can help support blood sugar and heart health

Figs make a delicious addition to smoothies, summer salads, and healthy charcuterie boards and are, of course, delicious on their own. To savor the sweet taste of summer well into the fall, try freezing your fresh figs!

Blackberries

Strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries often steal the spotlight when it comes to summer berries. But don’t forget about the tasty health benefits of tart blackberries. They’re full of antioxidants, fiber, and rich in manganese, which can support a healthy immune system.

Bake them into healthy muffins, freeze them for an antioxidant-rich smoothie addition, add them to summer salads, or use them fresh as a sweet and tart topping for your breakfast bowl!

RELATED: 5 Low-Sugar Smoothie Bowls That Are Perfect For Breakfast 

Sweet Corn 

While corn on the cob is a summer classic, this seasonal veggie is best enjoyed in late summer during its peak harvest. It’s rich in fiber, low in fat and calories, and full of nutrients like B vitamins and vitamin C. Grill it, steam it, and enjoy every heavenly bite (just keep the floss nearby!). And, it’s easy to incorporate this fiber-rich veggie into healthy Labor Day recipes. Add sweet corn to salsas, salads, and nearly anything grilled. 

Eggplant 

Move aside cauliflower — there’s a new versatile veggie in town. Eggplants are one of those veggies that make healthy eating easy. Need a plant-based replacement for protein? Swap the burger for a thick slice of grilled eggplant. Want to keep your veggie dip low-carb and low-cal? Substitute chickpeas or avocado for roasted eggplant puree. 

You can even make them into mini pizzas — simply top roasted eggplant with tomatoes, fresh basil, and your favorite seasoning! And if you’ve never tried grilled eggplant — it’s melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Loaded with antioxidants, minerals, and fiber — for just 20 calories per cup — there’s no wrong way to enjoy this veggie!

Melon 

Nothing says summer like a sweet, juicy melon. Watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew melons are their most flavorful during the late summer months, meaning you’ll want to incorporate these fruits into your healthy Labor Day recipes. While they make a tasty dessert on their own, melons are also delicious grilled and make for a flavorful salad. Toss them with greens, avocado, and balsamic for a no-fail crowd-pleaser. And because they’re extremely water-rich, they make ultra-delicious thirst-quenching beverages! Blend them in a smoothie, make them into a cocktail or mocktail, or enjoy them as a healthy juice.  

17 Healthy Labor Day Recipes to Celebrate the End of Summer

Sauces & Dips

Straight from FitOn PRO, these sauce and dip recipes are sure to be a crowd-pleaser. 

Cilantro Edamame Dip 

This dip is bursting with flavor, simple to make, and packed with fiber and protein. Serve it with your favorite crackers and sliced veggies

Ingredients:

  • 2 red bell peppers, sliced
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 garlic
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 jalapeno pepper (optional)
  • ½ cup cilantro
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup shelled edamame
  • 3 cups baby carrots
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Crackers of choice 

Directions:

Step #1: Add the cooked edamame, cilantro, jalapeno, and garlic to the food processor. Pulse until the edamame is broken down into very small pieces. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until it forms a smooth dip. Garnish with extra edamame and a drizzle of olive oil.

Step #2: Serve with 6 crackers, 1/2 cup carrots, and 1/2 cup red bell pepper.

The Best Ever Guacamole 

Every Labor Day menu needs a bowl of guac. And we promise — this simple recipe will be the best you ever had! 

Ingredients: 

  • ¾ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • ¼ cup red onion, minced
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • 3 avocados
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced
  • 2 tbsp lime juice

Directions:

Step #1: Gently mash the avocados. It should still have some texture and chunks, not be overly smooth.

Step #2: Fold in the remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Roasted Red Pepper Romesco Sauce

Want to elevate this already delicious recipe? Swap out canned tomatoes for sweet seasonal tomatoes charred on the grill. Pair it with roasted or grilled veggies like eggplant or cauliflower, drizzle it on steak or burgers, or use it as a side for savory seafood dishes. Full of fresh flavor, you’ll want to use it as a dip for everything!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 12 oz roasted red peppers, drained
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 14 oz canned fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained (or grilled fresh tomatoes)
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley
  • sea salt & black pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup almond
  • 2 garlic

Directions:

Step #1: Add everything to a blender or food processor. Combine until smooth. Taste and season as needed. For best results, refrigerate for one hour before using.

5-minute Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing

This easy-prep raspberry dressing will elevate any warm or cold summer salad. Use fresh raspberries or swap tart summer blackberries in place! Full of antioxidants and low in sugar, it’s a healthy alternative to traditional Labor Day summer sauces. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup raspberries
  • 1½ tbsp honey
  • 1 black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

Directions:

Step #1: Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor. If using frozen raspberries, thaw them slightly first and blot off any excess moisture with a paper towel.

Step #2: Blend until smooth. Taste and season if needed. Chill until ready to serve. Serve with salads, vegetables or use as marinade.

Light & Creamy Pesto

Grab your fresh garden Basil and whip up this simple summer pesto! It’s made with less than 10 ingredients and comes together in 5 minutes or less. To make it dairy-free, swap out parmesan for a dairy-free cheese alternative, or add in some extra pine nuts or walnuts! Serve it as the sauce for your hot or cold pasta dish, enjoy it as a marinade for your chicken or shrimp, or drizzle it over a yummy tomato and mozzarella summer app. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups basil leaves, packed
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 4 tbsp parmesan cheese, grated
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 6 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Directions:

Step #1: Add everything to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.

Appetizers

We can’t talk about healthy Labor Day recipes without sharing some tasty appetizers! These end-of-summer appetizers will make the perfect side dish to any Labor Day meal. 

Fresh & Flavorful Tomato Corn Salad

All your favorite end-of-summer fruits and veggies chopped into one delicious appetizer! Mix together fresh basil, tomatoes, sweet corn, and red onion. Low in calories and rich in phytonutrients, support your summer fitness goals in a delicious way!  

Serves: 6

Ingredients

  • 3 cups corn
  • ¼ cup red onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup basil leaf, chopped
  • 1 cup cucumber, chopped
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • sea salt & black pepper

Directions:

Step #1: Whisk together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.

Step #2: Add the corn, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, and basil. Toss to combine and season as needed.

Mango Black Bean Salad

Mango season peaks May through September, making this the perfect protein-rich plant-based dish to cap off the season. Serve it on your burger or grilled fish, use it as a dip for crackers or veggies, or enjoy it plain by the spoonful!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lime, juiced
  • ¼ cup cilantro, diced
  • 2 cups mangos, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced (optional)
  • 14 oz canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup red onion, diced

Directions:

Step #1: Toss together the mango, black beans, red onion, cilantro, jalapeno, lime juice, and salt. Taste and season as needed.

Step #2: If possible, let rest for 10 minutes before serving for the flavors to combine.

Hummus Pepper Boats 

Load up your sweet summer peppers with some ricotta and fresh herbs. This appetizer is so simple but so satisfying!

Ingredients:

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • ¾ cup hummus
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Chili flakes
  • Sea salt & black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Step #1: Slice the bell pepper to make 4 boats. Discard the seeds. 

Step #2: Divide the hummus between the 4 boats. Tops with parsley, chili flakes and season with sea salt and pepper.

Cauliflower Buffalo Wings 

Not your average wings. Made with cauliflower and a simple spice blend, this nutrient-rich dish will be loved by meat-eaters and plant-based eaters alike! 

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup water 
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk 
  • 1 tsp onion powder 
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • Pinch of sea salt & pepper to taste 
  • 1 head of cauliflower cut into florets 
  • 1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour (like Bob’s Red Mills brand) 
  • ¾ cup of your favorite hot sauce 
  • 1 tbsp raw honey
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil 
  • Healthy Ranch Dip (like Primal Kitchen brand) and celery sticks for serving

Directions:

Step #1: Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Step #2: Add the water, milk, and spices to a large mixing bowl and whisk well to combine. 

Step #3: Add the cauliflower florets to the bowl with the sauce and gently stir to coat the florets. 

Step #4: Transfer the cauliflower to the parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Flip over and cook for another 10 minutes or until they start to get crispy. 

Step #5: While the cauliflower is cooking, add your hot sauce of choice to a large mixing bowl with the raw honey, and melted coconut oil. Whisk well. 

Step #6: Transfer the cooked cauliflower florets to the mixing bowl, and stir well to coat the florets with the hot sauce mixture. 

Step #7: Add the cauliflower florets back to the baking sheet and bake for an additional 10 minutes. 

Step #8: Serve with a healthy ranch dip and a side of celery sticks! 

Sweet Potato Fries 

Depending on your location, sweet potato harvest begins anywhere from August to September. Meaning, you’re just in time! Head to the farmers market and grab some fresh picks — you may even find some fun variations (like purple or Japanese sweet potatoes!)

Ingredients:

  • 4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into french-fry like strips 
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted 
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp oregano 
  • Sea salt & pepper to taste 
  • For serving: No sugar added ketchup or BBQ sauce 

Directions:

Step #1: Start by preheating the oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Step #2: Add the melted coconut oil and spices to a large mixing bowl and add the sweet potato strips. Toss well to cover. 

Step #3: Add the seasoned sweet potato strips to the lined baking sheet. 

Step #4: Bake for about 15 minutes and then flip the fries over and bake for another 15 minutes or until they begin to get crispy. 

Step #5: Enjoy with dip of choice. 

Main Course

Sheet Pan Chicken Teriyaki 

Served with broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower – some of our favorite veggies. Enjoy this healthy and hearty dish at your Labor Day gathering, and bring this recipe with you into the fall season!

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breast
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 carrots, sliced into sticks
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • sea salt & black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup coconut aminos
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • brown rice, cooked

Directions:

Step #1: Start by preheating the oven to 180°C or 350°F and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Step #2: Next, make the marinade by adding the coconut aminos, dijon mustard, sesame oil, honey, ground ginger, and sesame seeds to a bowl and whisk. Set aside.

Step #3: Place the broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots on the baking tray. Leave space for the chicken breasts.

Step #4: Add chicken breast to the middle of the tray, and drizzle the chicken and vegetables with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Step #5: Spoon the marinade over the chicken and vegetables.

Step #6: Add to the oven and roast for 30-35 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Step #7: Serve with a side of brown rice if desired.

Cowboy Turkey Burger

Healthy burgers do exist. This cowboy turkey burger is made with simple ingredients but is bursting with all the burger flavors we crave.

Ingredients:

  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ⅓ cup red onion
  • 1 cup lettuce
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • ⅓ cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp mustard
  • ½ cup shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
  • 1 lbs ground turkey
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Directions:

Step #1: Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix until just combined. If you like things spicy, add 1/2-1 diced jalapeno.

Step #2: Divide into patties and let rest for 10 minutes.

Step #3: Cook burgers on the grill for 5-6 minutes each side or until cooked through completely. You can also cook in a skillet for 5-6 minutes on each side.

Step #4: Serve on your favorite whole grain roll or a bed of greens and add your favorite condiments.

Portobello Burgers with Roasted Red Peppers, Mozzarella, and Avocado

Looking for a plant-based burger alternative? Made with portabella mushrooms, roasted red peppers, fresh basil, and tomato, these vegetarian burgers scream summer!

Ingredients:

  • ½ red onion
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 4 roasted red peppers
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 2 oz mozzarella
  • ½ cup basil leaf
  • 1 tomato
  • ½ avocado
  • 4 portobello mushroom
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • 4 reduced calorie hamburger rolls or bun of choice 
  • sea salt & black pepper, to taste 

Directions:

Oven option

Step #1: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush the mushrooms with balsamic and olive oil. Sprinkle with oregano, garlic, salt, and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes, flip and roast for 5 more minutes. Top with roasted red peppers and fresh mozzarella and cook until melted, about 5 minutes.

Grill option: Brush the mushrooms with balsamic and olive oil. Sprinkle with oregano, garlic, salt, and pepper. Grill for 5 minutes per side. Top with roasted red peppers and fresh mozzarella and cook until melted, about 2 minutes.

Step #2: Serve on toasted rolls with tomato, roasted red pepper, 1/8 avocado, red onion, and fresh basil.

Grilled Salmon Summer Salad 

This fresh and flavorful salad can be customized for whatever you’re craving. Swap salmon for tofu, add fresh summer fruit like mango or berries, or swap the balsamic for something for summer-inspired, like our aforementioned berry vinaigrette.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups arugula 
  • 1 grilled salmon filet 
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup cherry tomatoes halved 
  • ½ cucumber, quartered 
  • Feta cheese for serving (optional)
  • Balsamic vinegar for serving

Directions: 

Step #1: Simply add the arugula to a serving plate and top with the grilled salmon, red onion, cherry tomatoes, and cucumber. 

Step #2: Serve with feta cheese, if using, and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. 

Step #3: Enjoy! 

Dessert

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Froyo

This homemade frozen yogurt is easy to make and full of cookie dough flavor without the added sugar!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 tbsp cacao nibs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp slivered almonds, for topping
  • Almond butter, to drizzle
  • Cacao nibs, to serve
  • Banana, sliced, to serve

Directions:

Step #1: Place all of the ingredients in a small bowl minus the toppings and stir to combine.

Step #2: Place in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Step #3: Serve with desired toppings.

Step #4: Enjoy!

Summer Berry Yogurt Bark

Made with protein-packed Greek yogurt and fresh summer berries, this healthy recipe will have you savoring all the sweetness of summer! 

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp sliced almonds
  • 3 cups Greek yogurt
  • 3 tbsp dark chocolate chips
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 1½ cups strawberries, sliced
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp reduced sugar jelly

Directions:

Step #1: Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Step #2: In a bowl, stir together the yogurt, honey, and vanilla extract until well combined. You can also swap in a low sugar flavored yogurt and leave out the sweetener.

Step #3: Spread the yogurt onto the baking sheet in a rectangular shape. It should be about 1/4 inch thick. Swirl in the jelly. Scatter the strawberries, almonds, and chocolate chips on top.

Step #4: Place in the freezer for at least 3 hours or until yogurt is fully hardened. Cut or break the yogurt into pieces and store leftovers in a freezer bag for up to 3 months.

Strawberry Banana Protein Popsicles 

A 4-ingredient frozen dessert that both kids and adults will enjoy! Easily made dairy-free by swapping out Greek yogurt for a plant-based alternative. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups frozen strawberries, stems removed and cut into chunks 
  • 1 frozen banana 
  • 1 cup full-fat unsweetened Greek yogurt 
  • 2 tbsp raw honey 

Directions:

Step #1: Add all the ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. 

Step #2: Scoop the mixture into popsicle molds and freeze for at least 8 hours before enjoying. 

Bonus Recipe Idea

You can also make a kabob by mixing and matching your favorite ingredients. 

Some great options include:

  • Chicken 
  • Salmon 
  • Tofu 
  • Onion 
  • Pineapple 
  • Zucchini 
  • Bell peppers 
  • Summer squash 

RELATED: 14 Delicious Foods You Didn’t Know You Could Grill  

Celebrate The End of Summer With These Healthy Labor Day Recipes 

Let’s celebrate the end of summer on a healthy note with some delicious and healthy Labor Day recipes. Whether you’re having a BBQ or staying at home, these recipes cover all Labor Day recipe needs.