A just-baked flag cake.

Friends, I’m wishing you all a Happy Fourth 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 Below you’ll find recipes for the best brioche burger buns, a few classic dips, many salads and sides as well as a few seasonal desserts and festive drinks, too 🎉🎉

This post is organized as follows:

A Few Dips

Pickled crudité in glass jars, one with a funnel.

Have you ever tried pickling your crudité? I think it makes all the difference, and it’s really very simple: stuff raw vegetables into jars; pour a basic brine over top. If time permits, plan ahead: ideally, do this the day before you plan on serving the crudite, just so the veggies have time to chill and crisp up in their brine.

I typically stick to cauliflower and carrots with the pickling. Then I cut up whatever else looks good: Romaine, endive, watermelon radishes if you can find them (not easy this time of year) or other radishes and turnips (readily available!) if you can’t.

The veggies below are paired with this spicy cashew dressing/dip. It’s one of my faves.

A platter of crudités with spicy cashew dip.

Salads & Sides

A jar of homemade Trader Joe's 3-ingredient lentil salad.

Trader Joe’s 3-ingredient lentil salad is one of my favorite summer side dishes to make for its simplicity and flavor. Over the years, I’ve received many questions about how to make the TJ’s bruschetta sauce from scratch from people without access to a Trader Joe’s. Earlier this week I finally set to work making one, and here it is: Homemade Bruschetta Sauce. Pictured above is the famous Trader Joe’s salad made with from-scratch cooked lentils, homemade bruschetta sauce, and my favorite feta, Maplebrook Farms Feta.

Find Many More Ideas Right Here → Salads & Sides

The Best No-Knead Brioche Buns

These no-knead brioche buns are so easy to whip up. The dough takes 5 minutes to stir together, and once it’s mixed, you can do one of two things:

  1. Stick the dough in the fridge overnight; then shape and bake the following day whenever you are ready.
  2. Let it rise in a warm spot for two hours; then immediately shape and bake.

I love using the refrigerator when I’m short on time and want to get one step out of the way. Regardless of which path you chose, the buns will be light and airy, perfect for any burger you might find yourself cooking this weekend.

Three Tips for Better Burgers

If you plan on making burgers this weekend, here are three tips to make them even better:

  1. Make a secret sauce. (You likely have all of the ingredients on hand.)
  2. Make quick-pickled onions.
  3. Make the buns: No-Knead Brioche Buns

Veggie Burgers

Either of these veggie burgers could be sandwiched between the brioche mentioned above, but if you’re up for it, I highly recommend making homemade pita bread, especially if you’re making the falafel burgers.

A bowl of cut open rounds of pita bread.

On the Grill

At the start of every grilling season, I find myself asking the same questions: Is marinating really necessary? And if so, for how long? Is salt in the marinade a no-no or a must? What about acid? What kind of charcoal should I buy? Lump or briquettes? Do I grill covered or uncovered?

You can find all of my grilling and marinating tips here: Grilling & Marinating 101. Below are a few of my favorite grilling season recipes (with a few condiments to match).

Stuffed Peppers

These veggie-loaded stuffed peppers are a summer favorite. The beauty of them is that they can be assembled ahead of time (a day or so) before their final bake, and they can be served as either a side dish or vegetarian entrée. Bonus: they’re stunning!

veggie loaded stuffed bell peppers.


If you’re looking for a really fun summer cocktail, I can’t recommend this strawberry Paloma slushie enough. A paloma is similar to a margarita but it’s made with grapefruit juice. This strawberry variation is one of my favorites to make when entertaining because it lends itself to large-batch mixing. The trick? Instead of juicing limes, you peel them and blitz them whole in a blender. And instead of salting the rims of glasses, you add salt directly to the mix, which serves two purposes: 1. Reduces work 2. Enhances the flavor of the juices. 

And if you don’t have a go-to margarita recipe, this is my favorite, a classic I make all summer long always to rave reviews.


Many More Ideas Right Here → Desserts