Healthy Labor Day Recipes (Paleo & Gluten-Free)

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

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!


Labor Day Pasta Salads and Sides

Sometimes the salads are the BEST part of a BBQ


Labor Day Cocktails

Make them as cocktails or mocktails!


Labor Day BBQ Ideas

Get that grill lit up, because we need to fire up the end of summer!


Labor Day Desserts

A sweet finish to the end of summer!

15 Tips for Ultimate Summer Grilling

Summer time means grilling time! Grilling tends to be a pretty healthy cooking method — plus it lends itself to sitting outside and throwing BBQs! Summer doesn’t get any better. All grilling methods are not created equal, though. Here are fifteen of my best tips for how to grill!

ultimate guide on how to grill

15 Tips for Ultimate Summer Grilling

For all your BBQ needs.


1. Clean your grill. Even if you’re pretty sure your grill is clean from its last use, it never hurts to give it a little extra TLC before you start another cooking session, because grill grates that aren’t clean can cause sticking (and weird flavors). Scrub the hot grate with a wire brush, then brush it with your oil of choice — and grill away! 

2. Heat it up! Don’t turn your grill on and expect to start cooking right away, it needs plenty of time to preheat. The exact amount of time will differ from grill to grill, but for ideal cooking, it should be hot enough that you can’t hold your hand over it for more than two seconds, which usually takes between fifteen and twenty-five minutes. Use the preheat time to remove any meat from the fridge. You’ll get the best results when meat has time to come to room temperature. 

3. Start with salt. No matter what meat you’re grilling or how you’re preparing it, there’s a basic rule number-one when it comes to the BBQ: always season with salt first. A generous dusting of salt will help bring out the flavor of your meat and will keep it juicy while it’s heating. And don’t worry about the flavor — your finished product will only taste salty if you add too much after cooking.

Grilled Shrimp Salmon Scampi

4. Marinate or season your chicken. The word “marinade” might sound a little fancy, but making one doesn’t have to be difficult. All you need for the perfect flavor on your grilled chicken is a combo of oil (we like avocado oil), acid (lemon or lime juice or vinegar) and spices (dried or fresh) and salt and pepper.

5. Pat steak dry after marinating. You can use a simple marinade for your grilled steaks, as well, but you’ll want to be extra careful to pat red meat dry before putting it over the heat. Marinated, wet red meat won’t get that nice sear on it! 

6. Season burgers. Classic burgers are always a crowd-pleaser, but you can uplevel your patties by adding an extra dash of extra-virgin olive oil. I also love stuffing or seasoning our burgers with a mix of sea salt, garlic, and finely-diced onion. These little additions will keep the fat content of your burger moist and that much more yummy. 

7. Don’t flip steak too frequently. It may make you feel like the queen of the grill to flip that steak every few minutes, but this technique is not going to yield you the best results. Instead, flip your steak only once. Steaks that are one-inch thick should be cooked for three minutes per side on high heat for rare, four minutes on each side for medium rare, and five minutes on each side for medium. 

8. Add veggie! Too often, we forget how delicious grilled vegetables can be in the mix of burgers and steak and chicken and all of the other meats. But if you struggle to squeeze more veggies into your diet, putting some on the BBQ is a great solution! Almost any vegetable can be delicious on the grill with a coating of oil and spices. 

how to grill ribs

9. Sauce ribs at the right time. There are few things better than a bite of freshly-grilled and saucy ribs, and few things more off-putting than ribs that taste a little like burnt sugar. This flavor typically comes from sauce that’s put on too early in the cooking process (because — you guessed it! — the sugar can burn). Slap sauce on those ribs in the final thirty minutes on the grill to achieve perfection. 

10. Put salmon on a cedar plank. You can grab cedar planks from any local hardware store, but they’re good for way more than home repair. If you soak one in salted water for about two hours, it becomes the perfect surface for grilling salmon. Put the soaked plank directly on your grill, then set the fish on top. You’ll get a delicious smoky flavor. 

11. Keep things where they are. Once you’ve placed something on the grill, you don’t need to – and shouldn’t! — move it around too much. And don’t worry about sticking. If meat is stuck to the grates, it will typically unstick itself when it’s ready to be moved. 

12. Score your meat. Scoring meat basically means cutting thin slits in its surface before you cook it. As far as I’m concerned, this is a non-negotiable for grilling! When you include scoring as part of your meat prep routine, it helps the meat cook flat and pulls the juices from any delicious marinade you’ve prepared right into its center. More flavor! 

13. Use proper spacing for skewers. Preparing kebabs? Delicious! Did you know that there’s more to skewers than just spearing a few chunks of meat and veggies and hoping for the best? It’s all in the spacing. Meat actually stays juicier during cooking when it’s touching — but not packed too tightly against — whatever’s next to it. Don’t overstuff your skewers, but don’t leave too much space between ingredients, either. 

Grilled Corn 

14. Do corn on the cob right. Does anything taste more summery than corn on the cob, fresh off the grill? I don’t think so! To prepare corn for grilling open up the husks, while keeping them on the corn and remove the silk. Fold the husks back into place and soak the corn for 10 minutes in cold, salty water. Grill with the husks until the kernels are cooked and serve with a bit of grass-fed butter and a sprinkle of sea salt before putting it on the grill for fifteen to twenty minutes. 

15. Give it a rest. Your food is bound to look delicious coming off the grill (especially if you follow all of these tips), but it’s important to resist the urge to start eating it right away. Grilled meat is best served after five to ten minutes of rest. Pour yourself a cocktail or visit with guests while you wait! 

Easy Grilled Vegetables


This article was originally published in partnership with American Express in May 2015, but we’ve updated it and expanded on this topic in June 2019.

Oven Baked Coffee Barbecue Pork Ribs (Keto & Paleo)

These Oven Baked Coffee Barbecue Pork Ribs are the perfect dead-of-winter main dish to cook up on a lazy weekend afternoon! They are marinated in a dry coffee BBQ rub that takes minutes to put together and then cooked low and slow in the oven for completely unattended cooking. They’re Paleo and Keto friendly for perfect melt-in-your-mouth pork ribs.

BBQ ribs

Oven Baked Coffee Barbecue Pork Ribs

While we love using the grill to make pork ribs in the summer, these Oven Baked Coffee Barbecue Pork Ribs uses a cut of meat that lends itself well to a nice slow and low cook in the oven, which is perfect for those winter months if you live in a cold climate. We make a quick coffee BBQ dry rub to marinate the ribs with, either overnight or to cook immediately and then they are wrapped up and baked in the oven for about 3 hours. These don’t need an accompanying sauce, but we liked serving it with this Sweet & Smoky BBQ Sauce.

Keto BBQ ribs

How to Remove the Membrane from Pork Ribs

Most pork ribs you buy from the store will have a membrane attached to the back of the bones that does not soften while cooked and can prevent the marinade from penetrating the meat. If you are purchasing your meat from a butcher, or a grocery store with a butcher you can ask to have the membranes removed. But it’s also easy to do by yourself:

  1. Stick a blunt knife underneath the silvery membrane towards the smaller end of the ribs.
  2. Grab a corner of the membranes and pull with a paper towel until it is completely remove. Using a paper towel helps you get a better hold of it, since they are quite slippery.
  3. Sometimes you’ll get lucky and they will come off in one piece. Depending on whether you are using Baby Back Ribs or St. Louis Style ribs the membrane might be thick or thin. The thinner membranes sometimes do not come off in one piece, so you may have to remove it in pieces.

BBQ Ribs in oven

We gave the option to dry marinate these ribs in the refrigerator overnight, which is always preferably because it gives the spices time to absorb into the meat, or you can also ok cook immediately!

We love the moderate cooking time on these baked at 300ºF for about 3 hours. We find it balances nicely a low cooking temperature for tender ribs, without having to take up the entire day cooking at a really low temperature like 200ºF. The lower the cooking temperature the more tender the meat, so for us it’s a happy medium that doesn’t take all day to cook but still produces a really impressive rack of ribs.

Where we get our ribs:

I add them monthly or every two months, in my ButcherBox and they are the best quality Each month, ButcherBox  curates a one-of-a-kind selection of the healthiest, tastiest meats, humanely raised and free of antibiotics and hormones. Or you can customize your box and select your favorite cuts and get 20% more meat.The price works out to less than $6.00/meal and shipping is always free. You can also space it out so it’s not every 4 weeks, too!

Enjoy the best 100% grass-fed and grass-finished filet mignons, plus get tasty uncured, sugar and nitrate free bacon & $10 off your first ButcherBox! ButcherBox delivers your meat for the month, saves you money, and is the best quality!

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How to make BBQ ribs

There are so many sides to choose from to serve with these Oven Baked Coffee Barbecue Pork Ribs:

Coffee BBQ ribs

If you like this meat main recipe, check out these others:

Oven Baked Coffee Barbecue Pork Ribs

Prep Time 00:10 Cook Time 03:05 Total Time 03:15 Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoon coconut sugar or brown granulated monkfruit
  • 2 tablespoons instant coffee (or finely ground whole coffee beans)
  • 2 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon mustard powder
  • 2 racks pork spare ribs , membraned removed (about 5 pounds)

Directions

  1. In a small bowl mix together all of the spices.
  2. Rub spice mixture on both sides of the each rack of ribs. You can do this ahead and leave overnight (or up to 24 hours), or make the ribs immediately.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 300ºF.
  4. Create a foil packet to cook the ribs in by laying down a piece of aluminum foil about 6 inches larger than the length of the ribs on each side, and then place a piece of parchment about the same size or smaller on top of that. Place the ribs in the middle, bone side up, and tightly fold the aluminum foil around the ribs to create a sealed packet. Place on a sheet try with a metal baking rack. Use two, if needed.
  5.  Place in the oven  on a middle rack and cook for 3 hours, or until ribs are tender enough to pass a fork easily through them.
  6. Remove from oven and carefully open a hole in the packet to carefully pour any accumulated liquid into a small pot. 
  7. Reduce the liquid until it is just slightly thickened up.
  8. Remove ribs from the packets and turn meat side up and brush with a bit of the reduced liquid.
  9. Cut and serve with barbecue sauce (totally optionally, as there is already a lot of flavor here) and sides.

Recipe Notes

  1. If you want to leave out the coffee component because you are serving to kids or don't tolerate caffeine simply swap with decaf or omit it altogether, it will still have a lot of flavor.
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There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation, at no cost to you! However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use in my own home! Thank you for supporting Lexi's Clean Kitchen when you shop! See my privacy policy for more information about this, the information we save, and more!

Grilled Caesar Salad With Blackened Shrimp

This Grilled Caesar With Blackened Shrimp is the perfect meal to impress with this Summer. Smoky and flavorful shrimp, perfectly grilled romaine lettuce, and fresh tomatoes drizzled with my go-to dairy-free caesar salad dressing. I cannot wait to make this again and again! The blackened shrimp is amazing on absolutely everything!

Grilled Caesar Salad With Blackened Shrimp (Grain-free, paleo-friendly, gluten-free) | Lexi's Clean Kitchen

I have been wanting to make a grilled caesar salad for awhile now and am so excited how this one turned out! It will definitely be a Summer staple. If you have yet to try grilled romaine lettuce, this is definitely a must-try!

Grilled Caesar Salad With Blackened Shrimp (Grain-free, paleo-friendly, gluten-free) | Lexi's Clean Kitchen

The perfect blackened shrimp rub (that would be great for chicken, too)!

Grilled Caesar Salad With Blackened Shrimp (Grain-free, paleo-friendly, gluten-free) | Lexi's Clean Kitchen

This salad is packed with:

Juicy blackened shrimp

Grilled romaine lettuce

Fresh cherry tomatoes

The perfect dairy-free creamy caesar dressing!

Top it with a squeeze of lemon for the ultimate summer salad!

Grilled Caesar Salad With Blackened Shrimp (Grain-free, paleo-friendly, gluten-free) | Lexi's Clean Kitchen

Grilled Caesar With Blackened Shrimp

Prep Time 15 minutes Cook Time 10 minutes Total Time 0:25 Serves 4

Ingredients

    Blackened Shrimp Seasoning

    Other Salad Ingredients

    Caesar Dressing from page 320 of the Lexi’s Clean Kitchen Cookbook

    Directions

    1. In a high-speed blender combine all caesar salad ingredients. Pulse once or twice just until blended. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired and set aside.
    2. Mix blackened shrimp seasoning in a small mixing bowl and set aside.
    3. Pat shrimp dry and dredge in the blackened shrimp seasoning. Place on skewers and brush generously with extra virgin olive oil. Grill shrimp until opaque and fully cooked through, about 5-6 minutes turning to char on each side.
    4. Drizzle romaine lettuce with extra virgin olive oil. Place lettuce, cut side-down, on the grill. Grill until slightly wilted and charred, about 5 minutes.
    5. Place grilled shrimp, lettuce, and the rest of the salad ingredients on a serving platter of choice.
    6. Top salad with a drizzle of caesar dressing and parmesan cheese if using. Serve warm with more caesar dressing on the side and lemon slices.
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    There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation, at no cost to you! However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use in my own home! Thank you for supporting Lexi's Clean Kitchen when you shop! See my privacy policy for more information about this, the information we save, and more!

    30 Clean Eating Recipes To Bring to Your BBQ

    BBQ season is finally here and we cannot wait to start making all of our favorite BBQ spreads! Here are 30 healthy and delicious recipes that are perfect for Summer entertaining!

    30 BBQ RECIPES | Lexi's Clean Kitchen

    Mexican Street Corn Salad from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen (Vegetarian, dairy-free if you omit the cheese, gluten-free)

    Grilled Salmon and Shrimp Scampi from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen (Gluten-free, egg-free)

    Grilled Chicken Chopped Antipasto Salad from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen (egg-free, gluten-free, paleo-friendly, and nut-free)

    Sriracha Lime Chicken Chopped Salad from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen (30 minutes or less, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, paleo-friendly)

    Morrocan Chicken Burgers from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen (30 minutes or less, grain-free, dairy-free)

    Steak Salad with Cherry Salsa from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen (30 minutes or less, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, paleo-friendly)

    Cold Asian Noodle Salad from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen (30 minutes or less, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, paleo-friendly)

    Grilled Fish Bowls from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen (Dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, paleo-friendly)

    DIY Rub Grilled Wings from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen (Dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, paleo-friendly)

    Caprese Pesto Salad from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen (Gluten-free, egg-free, no added sugar)

    Asian Grilled Artichokes from PaleOMG (Paleo-friendly, grain-free, dairy-free,

    Grilled Peach Salad from Tasty Yummies (Grain-free, dairy-free, egg free, vegan-friendly)

    Yellow Watermelon Salad from With Food and Love (no sugar added, grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, can substitute red watermelon for the yellow)

    Lemon Parsley Grilled Zucchini from Against All Grain (Vegan-friendly, grain-free, dairy-free)

    Blissful Triple Berry Wine Slushies from Cotter Crunch (Can substitute frozen tart cherries and 1/4 cup water for the juice! Grain-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free)

    Grilled Melon on Cucumber Noodles from Gourmande in the Kitchen (Omit the goat cheese to make this dairy-free and paleo-friendly, grain-free, gluten-free, egg-free, and low-carb)

    Jamaican Jerk Grilled Eggplant from Minimalist Baker (paleo-friendly, grain-free, gluten-free, vegan-friendly, 30 minutes or less)

    Red, White, and Blue Potato Skewers from Fit Foodie Finds (Vegan-friendly, grain-free, dairy-free)

    Grilled Tomatoes and Basil Zucchini from Inspiralized

    Watermelon Coconut Cooler from Nom Nom Paleo (vegan-friendly, dairy-free, paleo-friendly)

    Grain-free Blueberry Crisp from Detoxinista (paleo-friendly, dairy-free, and egg-free)

    No Your Mama’s Coleslaw from Smitten Kitchen (Omit the optional blue cheese to make this paleo-friendly and diary-free, gluten-free, egg free, nut-free, and vegetarian)

    Paleo Grilled Beef Stir Fry from Fit Foodie Finds (gluten-free, grain-free, egg free)

    Killed Lettuce from Brooklyn Supper (Dairy-free, grain-free, paleo-friendly, egg-free, nut-free)

    Corn and Peach Salad from Sweet Peas and Saffron (Omit the gouda to make this dairy-free, grain-free, gluten-free, nut-free)

    Fajita Chicken Kebabs from Well Plated (Grain-free, gluten-free, egg-free, and nut free. Substitute the canola oil for avocado oil)

    Purple Power Salad from My New Roots (Paleo-friendly, grain-free, dairy-free)

    Grilled Peaches and Coconut Cream from Super Healthy Kids

    Watermelon Sashimi from Minimalist Baker

    Zucchini Noodle Spaghetti Salad from Eating Bird Food

    Happy Cooking!

    Chicken Wings with Mango-Chili Sauce

    Chili Mango Wings | Lexi's Clean Kitchen

    These Chicken Wings with Mango-Chili Sauce are a delicious addition to any Summer BBQ! The Mango-Chili sauce is so tasty with a hint of smoky flavor, and compliments the wings perfectly! Throw them on the grill or in the oven for a perfect appetizer or main any night of the week. These wings are made in partnership with the National Mango Board.

    Chicken Wings with Mango Chili Sauce | Lexi's Clean Kitchen

    I am so excited to partner with my friends at the National Mango Board to bring you today’s recipe!

    Chicken Wings with Mango Chili Sauce - Lexi's Clean Kitchen

    Mangos are a great source of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and fiber and are a great lower calorie snack at 100 calories a cup! Plus, they are SO flavorful, juicy, and delicious!

    These wings lasted about 2 hours in my house. Marinated to perfection with just the right amount of smoky heat, we could not get enough!

    Chicken Wings with Mango Chili Sauce | Lexi's Clean Kitchen

    I am always on the lookout for flavorful recipes to make for Summer gatherings with friends and family and these wings will definitely be a hit! Blend the sauce, marinate the wings, toss on the grill and devour! The perfect combination of sweet and smoky with just the right amount of spice!

     

    Chicken Wings with Mango Chili Sauce | Lexi's Clean Kitchen

     

    Chicken Wings with Mango-Chili Sauce

    Prep Time 00:45 Cook Time 00:10 Total Time 0:55 Serves 6

    Ingredients

      Mango-Chili Sauce

      Other Ingredients

      • 2 pounds chicken wings (about 24), wingtips removed, or drumettes rinsed and patted dry
      • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
      • Chopped scallions, for garnish

      Directions

      1. Place all of the mango-chili sauce ingredients, except for the chili paste, into a high-speed blender. Puree until smooth. Stir in the chili paste and taste. Adjust seasoning as desired.
      2. Place chicken wings in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Coat with 1/2 cup of mango-chili sauce, set the rest of the sauce aside for later. Sprinkle wings with sesame seeds and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
      3. Grease a grill or grill pan. Grill the wings for about 5 minutes on each side, or until opaque and fully cooked through.
      4. While wings cook, place reserved sauce in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 5 minutes. If the sauce is too thick, add a few teaspoons of water until the desired consistency is reached. If the sauce is too thin, continue to cook until thick.
      5. Toss chicken wings in 1/4 cup of sauce (or brush sauce on them) and place on a serving platter.
      6. Garnish with chopped scallions and diced mangoes, and serve with remaining mango-chili sauce on the side for dipping!

      Recipe Notes

      How to cut a mango: Slice off the sides of the fruit, avoiding the large seed in the center. Once you have these two sides, you can get to the flesh and slice or dice as needed. Then simply scoop it out of the skin.

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      There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation, at no cost to you! However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use in my own home! Thank you for supporting Lexi's Clean Kitchen when you shop! See my privacy policy for more information about this, the information we save, and more!

      This post in sponsored by the National Mango Board. All opinions are 100% always my own! Check out the National Mango Board’s tutorials on How to Cut a Mango and Selecting and Storing a Mango! They are both great tools for all your mango needs.