Savor the last long weekend of the Summer with these gluten free and paleo healthy labor day recipes to make at home or bring with you on-the-go!
Healthy Labor Day Recipes
Labor Day Weekend is bittersweet! It’s the last long weekend of the Summer where everyone gets a chance to soak in the last of the sun with final beach days, BBQ’s, and the chance to make all of those summer recipes you’ve been pinning and saving. I’ve rounded up some favorite appetizers, side dishes, main dishes, and treats to satisfy every person at your home this weekend with these healthy labor day recipes!
Labor Day Appetizers
These late summer appetizers are perfect to make at home or to share!
This 7 Layer Taco Dip is just what any party, or fun Saturday night needs! 7 layers of Mexican inspired flavor that is so delicious! This dip is gluten-free and optionally dairy-free and paleo!
7 Layer Taco Dip Recipe
Is there any better food to bring to a pot luck or serve at your own party than a 7 Layer Taco Dip? Don’t think so! This classic dip is made healthier here with a few homemade substitutes for standard store-bought ingredients, and so so worth it! This version is gluten-free and we offer a few substitutions to make it paleo and dairy free if you need it.
Be warned: there is no way there will be any leftovers when this dish is served, so make sure you get in there early if you want to have some yourself!
Layer 6: Cheddar cheese (substitute another layer of salsa for paleo/whole30/dairy-free)
Layer 7: Chopped Lettuce, Tomato, Red Onion
Layer in all of the ingredients in an oven 8″x8″ (or similarly sized ) oven safe dish. After placing in cheddar cheese put in the oven to melt. Layer on the remaining and serve with hearty tortilla chips and veggies.
Can this be made ahead of time?
You can assemble and prep this entire dish 1 day ahead of time, with the exception of adding the fresh ingredients on top. You can prep those ahead of time though and have them all ready to go for your party. Right before serving place the assembled dip under the broiler to warm up and melt the cheese, and then top with fresh lettuce, tomato and onion.
What to serve with this dip?
Serve it with the classics: Tortilla chips (either corn or a grain free option like Siete) and veggies like celery, cucumber, peppers or carrots.
If you like this dip recipe, check out these others:
8. Add in tomatoes, spices, and hot sauce; let cook for 3-5 minutes then remove from heat and set aside
9. Make guacamole and chop lettuce, tomato, and onions for layer 7
10. Once all the layers are prepared, start assembling in your dish; serve and enjoy!
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Cauliflower to the rescue again! These buffalo cauliflower nuggets made in the air fryer are downright addictive, with a crispy exterior coated in an easy spicy buffalo sauce. These easy vegetarian bites are gluten free and low carb, with an option to make it paleo and dairy free.
Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower Wings
Cauliflower has masqueraded as many different things here on LCK, such as hummus, hash browns, rolls and pizza bites. But these Buffalo Cauliflower Nuggets, from the new Skinny Taste Air Fryer Cookbook might be a new favorite! They are easy to make, and fun to eat!
If you don’t know my friend Gina, not only is she one of the kindness people I know, she works so hard, and her cookbooks are a total reflection of that dedication and work ethic! Her newest cookbook is no exception! Gina shares 75 of her best recipes that work in every type of air fryer, including basket models and countertop ovens with air fryer settings. I seriously am amazed at all of the things she makes happen in the air fryer! Not only is the cookbook amazing, but in true Gina fashion, she also has her very own AIR FRYER that you can go ahead and purchase now!
This book is not only an amazing air fryer guide but of course it’s filled with with crave-worthy recipes for favorites such as:
Cauliflower Rice Arroncini
Crispy Coconut Shrimp, Za’atar Chickpeas
Cheesy Crab Stuffed Mushrooms
Pickle-Brined Chicken Tenders
Korean Pork Lettuce Wraps
Roasted Fish with Lemon-Almond Crumbs
Sugar and Spice Acorn Squash
Apple Stuffed Pork Chops
Charred Sesame Green Beans
Petite Spiced Pumpkin Bread
Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing
This book has plenty of swaps for dietary restrictions, including gluten free and is just all around a great resource.
Tips for Making Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
Make sure to cut your cauliflower into similar sized pieces. The cook timing on this recipe is based off of bite sized pieces, which are around 1″ to 1-1/2″ pieces of cauliflower.
Gina instructs to individually coat the pieces, instead of breading them inside of a bag or in large batches. It takes a little bit more time but is well worth it because these bites came out so crispy!
There is no seasoning inside of the breading or egg because the hot sauce is quite salty, but feel free to add some garlic powder or pepper if you desire.
If you want to make the buffalo sauce dairy free, substitute with ghee.
Gina suggests serving this with blue cheese, but ranch would also work as well!
What type of air fryer should I get?
Gina has her very own air-fryer launching in July, which you can grab here!
We’ve used both the NuWave and the Phillips and both are great options.
Note: While we love our air fryer, you should know that they are not a small appliance, so just make sure you have the space! And in case you don’t, we went ahead and tested these baked for you!
Can these be baked?
If you don’t have an air fryer (YET!), these cauliflower bites can be baked on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper in a preheated 375ºF for 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway through, until cauliflower is tender.
If you like this cauliflower recipe, check out these others favorites:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted (or ghee for dairy free/paleo)
Carrot sticks and celery, for serving (optional)
Preheat the air fryer to 380ºF.
Place the eggs in small bowl. Place the almond flour in a separate medium bowl. Dip the cauliflower into the egg, then into the flour to coat, shaking off excess. Place on a sheet tray and spray both sides with oil.
Working in batches. arrange a single layer of the cauliflower in the air fryer basket.
Cook for 7-8 minutes, flipping halfway, until golden and tender.
When all the batches are done, return all of the cauliflower to the air fryer and cook for 1-minute to heat through (for a toaster oven style air-fryer, cook at 350ºF; timing remains the same).
Transfer to a large bowl and toss with the hot sauce and melted butter.
If desired, serve with celery and carrot sticks, and dipping sauce of choice.
This recipe comes from The Skinnytaste Air Fryer Cookbook (p. 122) and was reprinted with permission. This recipe shared reflects the alternative of almond flour instead of a gluten-free flour blend.
Use more almond flour as needed.
We recommend using avocado oil spray (that contains no added ingredients) for high heat cooking.
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These Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes are so creamy, flavorful and delicious and make a great lunch or dinner! They also could be perfect as a make-ahead meal option. This buffalo chicken sweet potato recipe is nutritious and filling, gluten-free and optionally made Paleo and Whole30 by omitting the cheese.
Buffalo Chicken Baked Sweet Potato
Who doesn’t love potato skins? Nobody! Who doesn’t love potatoes skins that are made healthier but still with all the flavor? Can’t think of anyone! These healthier baked sweet potato skins are stuffed with a creamy buffalo chicken dip packed with extra veggies and nutrients. These are the perfect appetizer for a game day party, or a super delicious lunch or dinner. We love the portability of these and think they’d be a great make-ahead meal as well.
What type of sweet potatoes are best for this recipe?
We choose small to medium sweet potatoes to minimize the time roasting in the oven. You can choose larger ones, but they will take longer to roast. Just make sure they are all about the same size, and as round as you can get to fit in more of the buffalo chicken stuffing.
Can you cook the sweet potatoes in the Instant Pot instead?
You could, but it will likely take you the same amount of time to roast in the oven between the time it takes to come up to pressure and the time it takes to naturally release. Put the sweet potatoes on a basket and add 1 cup of water. You can use the steam function for 10 minutes, with a natural release.
How can you store these Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes for meal prep?
If you wanted to make these for a few days of lunches, complete the recipe as directed and then cool the broiled sweet potatoes completely before placing in a container in the fridge. We like using glass containers because they can double as a storage container and can be heated up in either a microwave or a toaster oven. These would taste better if heated up in a toaster oven, but if the only option when you are at work is a microwave that will work as well!
If you like this recipe with buffalo sauce, check out these others:
Pierce sweet potato with a fork, and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes, or until soft.
While the sweet potato is baking, saute onions, carrots, garlic, and scallions for 2-3 minutes, or until the onions turn translucent. Add in spinach and cook just until the spinach starts to wilt. Remove from heat, let cool, and place in a medium mixing bowl.
Add shredded chicken, mayonnaise, hot sauce, and pepper to the sauted vegetables and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
Once sweet potatoes are soft, carefully cut sweet potatoes in half and scoop out insides to make “boats.” Leave about 1/4 – 1/2 inch of flesh so they don’t become too fragile and difficult to handle.
Set oven to a high broil.
Fill the sweet potatoes with a heaping spoonful of shredded buffalo chicken. Top with cheddar cheese and broil for 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese is fully melted. Serve hot!
Recipe updated March 2017
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These Gluten Free Pigs in a Blanket are as perfect for a large holiday gathering as they are for game day eats. They are made using an easy gluten-free and nut-free dough that doesn’t need any chilling time. These are a sure crowd pleaser for both kids and grown-ups alike!
Gluten Free Pigs in a Blanket
Just because we don’t eat wheat doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be able to eat pigs in a blanket, right? This Gluten Free Pigs in a Blanket recipe saves the day because this adorable appetizer is both tasty and easy to put together for the next time you need to feed a crowd!
I’ll let you in on a little secret, this recipe was in development for a while! Sometimes you get a recipe right in the first trial or two, and sometimes you question whether you are ever going to get it to right where you want it to be! And there was a moment when we didn’t think we would ever hit publish on our Gluten Free Pigs in a Blanket. But we had a breakthrough and we’re so happy with the final result.
The first few times we tested this we were using our typical almond flour and tapioca flour blend that is usually our first stop in baked goods. Unfortunately these resulted in dough that had good flavor but was a bit too crumbly for our liking, and was somewhat hard to roll out.
While we were testing these we were also testing our new gluten-free and nut-free crust on Pumpkin Pie. We really loved the ease of working with that dough and thought it had a nice neutral flavor so we gave it a go on our Pigs in a Blanket and it was then we knew we were on to something. We changed up a few things including introducing more savory elements and at last we had a winner! We added apple sauce to this dough and loved the results. You don’t know there is apple sauce in it, but it contributes to an improved flavor and texture.
Ingredients needed for the gluten-free nut-free dough
Oat flour (store-bought only)
Butter (we always use grass-fed butter such as Kerrygold)
The dough comes together in a food processor in a few minutes. Just make sure that you don’t overprocess the dough: Once it has come together stop running the processor. After it’s made you CAN roll out the dough right away, which we love. This is unusual for pie crusts, that usually need to wait to rest and firm up. We found it easiest to roll the dough between two sheets of plastic. Normally we shy away from plastics, but in this crust it really is easiest if you use that vs. parchment paper. But if you don’t keep plastic in your home (we get it!), parchment will do in a bind!
We really loved working with this dough and found it simple. It should look similar to the photo above. We worked with this dough over a dozen times and have always found it super simple to work with, but we’ve gotten some feedback that some people making the dough found it wet. After testing it some more, while we never have been able to accidentally make a wet dough when following the recipe, we’ve discovered that oat flour is a bit difficult to measure out properly in the cup measurement because sometimes it is more densely packed in the bag than others. For fool proof measuring you can weigh out the oat flour instead. If you find your dough a bit more wet than the above photo add in oat flour a tablespoon at a time until it feels workable.
How do you roll out and stamp the oat flour crust
To roll it out we suggest using plastic wrap. Parchment paper can work too, but it isn’t as easy. Wax paper might work as well, but we did not test that.
Once it’s rolled out we use a simple round cookie cutter, with the width the same size as the hot dogs we were using to stamp out a piece of dough and then wrap it around. We preferred this method than cutting out triangles and rolling them, because this method gave us equal portions of hot dog and dough!
In a small bowl whisk egg and apple sauce together. With the food processor running, add egg mixture and process until the dough just comes together.
Roll out your dough immediately: Place dough on a large piece of plastic wrap and top with another piece of plastic wrap. Roll out to a thickness of 1/16" and using a cookie cutter stamp out circles about the same length as your cocktail hot dogs. If dough is getting too warm at any
Wrap the stamped out circle around the dried off hot dog and pinch together until it has sealed. Place on baking sheet. Continue working until all of the hot dogs are wrapped.
Bake for 12 minutes. Take out of the oven and turn the Pigs in a Blanket over and continue to bake for another 5 minutes.
Remove and serve warm or room temperature along side some grainy mustard.
Apple sauce contributes a very minor sweetness to the dough that is needed because of the oat flour, and it also contributes to the texture. You won't notice there is apple sauce in here necessarily, but the apple sauce is needed for improved taste and texture.
See post for trouble shooting if you run in to issues with the dough.
We tested this with homemade oat flour made in a high-speed blender and do not recommend using this. We had much better results using store-bought (gluten-free) oat flour.
If you find that your pastry is on the wetter side, add in a bit more oat flour until it feels workable. Oat flour can be a bit tricky to measure out because sometimes it is densely packed in the container, and sometimes not. For a foolproof way to measure weigh it out instead of using a cup measurement.
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These Crispy Baked Buffalo Wings are the perfect appetizer recipe for football Sunday or Super Bowl! They are crispy with frying, and are a great lightened up version of your classic fried buffalo chicken wings!
Crispy Baked Buffalo Wings
You can’t have a Superbowl party without wings (in my opinion)! You can though, have them crispy and flavorful without being fried. I visited friends at the University of Buffalo years back. We, of course, got the famous Buffalo wings and as you can imagine they were fabulous.
In college I was a big fan of Wings over Amherst (these are not healthy). I definitely still think about those fried boneless wings (and the cajun cheese fries). Many of my friends ordered honey mustard, BBQ, garlic parmesan… me? Give me Buffalo any day of the week.
Can you bake chicken wings?
The tip I found years back that I love (and successfully tried with my Sweet Potato Chili Fries), is placing a wire rack on the baking sheet. Gets everything nice and crisp!
Can you use chicken legs or chicken thighs?
Yes! Just adjust cooking time and sauce amount as needed.
Optional: for additional heat add 1 teaspoon or more cayenne pepper to sauce
Preheat oven to 400ºF and line a baking sheet with slipat or parchment paper and place a wire rack on top.
Pat chicken wings dry with a paper towel, and then coat the chicken wings in oil, salt, and garlic powder.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, flip wings after 30 minutes, and cook for a remaining 10-15 minutes.
In a saucepan, bring hot sauce and butter to a boil then remove from heat and stir.
Remove wings from oven and toss them in the sauce.
Once coated, place back on the rack and bake for an additional 5 minutes (save extra sauce).
Remove wings from oven, coat with extra sauce.
Serve hot with dippings of choice, like carrots, celery, and the ranch dressing in my cookbook.
For fully dairy-free sub butter for your favorite vegan butter or oil of choice.
Have time to a marinate? Though not needed for this recipe? Marinate overnight in the sauce, and make additional sauce for tossing!
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