Ina Garten has become our go-to guru for navigating occasions of all kinds. From a romantic date night in to a pandemic-safe patio party to a spirited Thanksgiving dinner, Garten's gold when it comes to entertaining—be it for her husband Jeffrey or a whole crowd.
Getty Images / Noam Galai
Now that 50% of American adults are fully vaccinated, we can start thinking about gathering IRL again. Right on cue, Garten hopped on her Instagram account this week to share the ultimate Memorial Day menu that will help us all ease back into hosting.
Garten says, "It's almost Memorial Day weekend and I feel like having a party!" Same, Ina, same. As a centerpiece to the meal, Garten suggests sizzling up her Smashed Hamburgers with Caramelized Onions in your cast-iron skillet (Garten loves her 15-inch Lodge pan; buy it: $49.99 on Amazon). "OMG they're so good," she raves, "and you don't even need to light the grill!"
What makes her burgers special, besides the smashing, is the luscious topping of caramelized onions, melted Gruyère cheese and a dash of dry mustard powder (she suggests Colmans; buy it: $6.93 for 4 ounces, Amazon) to perk up the patties.
To round out the meal, Garten suggests a one-two punch of flavorful, potluck-perfect side dishes: Maple Baked Beans and Vegetable Coleslaw. We love that Ina opted for vintage-inspired sides that are classic, yet updated them with flavorful ingredients.
"What's a summer party without really good sides!? This weekend with my Smashed Hamburgers, I'm making Maple Baked Beans and Vegetable Coleslaw—it doesn't get more classic than that! The coleslaw can be made in advance and the beans simmer away in the oven while you go about your day," Garten explains on Instagram. "Done and done!"
With fresh ginger, chili paste, pure maple syrup and smoky bacon infusing each and every bean, they might just steal the show from the burgers. The kale, cabbage and carrot slaw (which is best enjoyed with Julia Childs' go-to mayo in the mix, according to Garten's recipe) is ideal to offer a cool counterpart to the other savory items. Bonus: All of those veggies are among the most hydrating foods if it happens to be a steamy, sweaty day.
For dessert, Garten says you can't go wrong with her "ultimate summer dessert," her Red Berry Shortcakes with Honey Yogurt. Decadent yet sneakily nutritious all at once (each serving has about a full cup of berries, plus some protein from the honey-infused Greek yogurt garnish), we can't wait to dive into one already.
If you, too, are dipping your toe back into entertaining, this easy four-item menu is a fantastic way to start. Need a few more items to share, say, a vegetarian main or a cool beverage? Check out our 24 best Memorial Day weekend recipes and 22 fun Memorial Day drinks and cocktails.