Canada Day is just around the corner on July 1! While it’s a celebration every year, this year is even more special as it marks Canada’s 150th birthday, otherwise known as a sesquicentennial. That’s not a word many of us knew a few years ago, but it’s tripping off people’s tongues all across the nation these days.
What could be better than to celebrate Canada Day with family and friends on the back patio? To make things a little easier for you as host or a contributing potlucker, I’ve put together a menu plan for the celebratory meal. You’re going to see a lot of strawberries here and other seasonal produce; after all, it’s something to celebrate too!
Follow the entire menu or pick and choose — it’s up to you!
Appetizers and Beverages
How about getting things started with some guacamole and a big bag of tortilla chips? No, you don’t have to make every single thing you serve at your party. After all, you want to have some energy left to wave those sparklers once darkness falls!
What could be more refreshing than an iced strawberry smoothie on a warm summer day? The kids will love these, and so will the grown-ups. Of course, some of the grown-ups might prefer a cocktail, and my Lake Huron Breeze is close to my heart since I first made it on the shores of the lake it’s named after. Or, if you can still get your hands on rhubarb, why not try a tangy Rhubarb Gin Fizz?
The Main Course
There’s something here for everyone from carnivores to vegans. For my family, backyard gatherings mean firing up the grill for ribs and burgers. (I’m going to just say it: that burger post is one of my earliest and the photos are awful, but I’m very proud of the recipe.) Back to the ribs, for something a little different, you could make them with this rhubarb BBQ sauce. If you want a vegan patty option, you can’t go wrong with these black bean and sweet potato cakes — they happen to be one of my top-viewed recipes.
Rich meaty dishes cry out for a tangy condiment, and these pickled peppered strawberries will perk up the conversation too.
Much as I like ribs and burgers, it’s often the salads that are the real centrepiece of the meal for me. This red quinoa, black bean and mango salad is a winner, and if you choose to use regular quinoa, hey, that won’t hurt my feelings. This green and yellow bean salad is a classic around here and a real crowd pleaser. And finally, you could serve this watermelon, feta and mint salad as the last dish before dessert. Its colours are perfect for Canada Day, and it’s fresh and rich, sweet and salty. Watermelon may not be in season, but you need this salad at your celebration!
After dinner set out bowls of fresh berries, or make quick and easy parfaits with some simple quick skillet granola, berries, yogourt and maple syrup, eh. It’s nice to have something light after a big meal, but of course a little decadence wouldn’t be out of line either. This strawberry cream cake fits the bill without being heavy.
Whether or not it’s hot out, kids (of all ages) who’ve been running around playing will go crazy for cold treats. How about cones dripping with flavourful (and easy to make) “nice cream” like these three versions, or my favourite blueberry and sweet cherry combo? Strawberry yogourt smoothie pops will be popular too. My granddaughter who posed in the photo was just reminiscing about them the other day — kid seal of approval!
Happy Canada Day!
However you choose to celebrate Canada Day, I hope you have a wonderful time. Eat well, have fun, and look forward to 200 years in this beautiful country!