Happy Canada Day! This is a HUGE birthday for Canada and it deserves a HUGE party. If you’re hosting a crowd this weekend and looking for some all-Canadian dishes worthy of this big celebration, I’ve got you covered. I’ve got 5 easy recipes that feature some of our country’s best and most iconic ingredients in ways that will surprise and delight your guests. With these recipes, a bucket (or canoe) filled with beer, a set of sparklers and a loud speaker blasting the Tragically Hip exclusively, I’d say you’ve got yourself a party no true Canuck could resist. This is a big event, with a big post. If you just want to skip my blabbering and get to the recipes, click on the links below:
Canada Day Menu:
I love to kick any good party off with a take on a Ploughman’s board/charcuterie board/antipasto plate type thing. Call it what you will, but essentially this is just a board filled with different meats, cheeses, and pickles. I serve baguette and crackers on the side so that guests can make their own mini sandwiches, or just pick at their favourite things on the board. This is such an easy appetizer to prepare and yet it is such a crowd pleaser. For my Canadian take on the ploughman’s board, I literally just cubed and cooked up some Canadian back bacon and served alongside my favourite Kozlik’s mustard from the St. Lawrence Market. Put some decorative toothpicks next to these little salty treats so that your guests can easily pick up some bacon and choose their preferred condiment! Click here for the recipe!
I also added some sharp Canadian aged cheddar and a creamy goat’s milk brie cheese. When making a cheese board, it’s always a good idea to try and serve cheeses with not only contrasting flavours, but contrasting textures as well. Cheddar is a sharper, firmer cheese, while goat’s milk brie cheese is very creamy and a milder flavour. I also included an assortment of pickles and olives that can be purchased at any deli or cheese shop, and finally grilled up some baguette for my guests to use. Add your favourite mustards and dips right on the board and voila!
Next, serve up some all-Canadian sliders. I didn’t want to mess too much with a good thing, so these sliders stay true to the classic burger with just a tinnnnnyyyyy little Canadian add-on. I caramelized some onions in maple syrup and rye to add a sweet and smoky element and take your sliders to the next level. These are a classic component to any backyard BBQ, not to mention they really are a show-stopping, attractive dish! And plus, if your guests weren’t that close before this dish comes out, they sure will be after! Nothing breaks the ice quite like a group of people simultaneously rolling up their sleeves, tying up their hair, and digging into a sloppy, messy, and extra extra juicy burger. Have your red and white napkins at the ready! Click here for the recipe.
Now time for the main event. This “beer can” chicken (aka beer-up-the-bum chicken…very rude, very catchy, very accurate) is the BEST DISH EVER. This is a real favourite in my family, and for good reason! We, the eaters, love this dish because it’s crispy on the outside and so juicy and moist on the inside, while my mom, the expert executive chef, loves it for the simplicity! And we all take a little pleasure in how funny this dish sounds and looks as it’s cooking.
To make this chicken worthy of a Canada Day feast, I’m featuring a can of Labatt’s specialty can in honour of Canada’s big day, Labatt 150. Could this be more Canadian? Hardly. Basically, you stand the chicken up on the beer can and put it directly on the grill. Close the lid, come back 1 hour later, and you’ve got yourself a juicy, flavourful inside, with a crispy exterior. And the bonus is that with the leftover beer that has absorbed all that chicken-y goodness, a delicious, rich sauce basically makes itself! So easy, so delicious, so rude, and an absolute favourite. Click here for beer can chicken!
To accompany the chicken, keep it simple with a red and white dish of your choice. I’ve featured an heirloom tomato and burrata salad here, which is essentially a fancy version of a tomato and mozzarella salad. This dish celebrates such gorgeous and fresh ingredients that it really requires no cooking at all! My sister Katie is really the plating expert on this dish (she’s definitely the creative sister) and she did a stunning job with this dish. Click here for heirloom tomato and burrata salad!
In honour of Canada’s big 150th birthday, this meal definitely deserves a cake (with 150 red and white candles, good luck). I’m no baking expert, but for creative and hilarious ideas for your all-Canadian cake, check out what some fellow foodies have come up with here!
Finally, by the time you’ve gotten through all of this, you’ll have basically no space left in your stomach. BUT, no good Canadian meal can end on a tomato salad, so I opted for the simplest and most Canadian thing I think I’ve even dreamt up: s’mores over the fire with crispy maple bacon. I don’t think there’s a soul in this nation that hasn’t come up with their own expert way to cook the s’more, so I won’t try to tell you how to do that. BUT, I can tell you, crispy bacon glazed in maple syrup will not be an unwelcome addition. You provide the toppings while you make your guests do all the work! It’s a perfect way to end your meal and have your guests settle down around the bonfire for a long night of Neil Young singalongs and gossip over our Prime Minister’s abs. See below for recipe!
Maple Bacon S'mores
What's not to like? Maple. Bacon. Marshmallows. Chocolate. Graham crackers. Ummm...YES.
Note: each s'more requires 1 marshmallow, 2 crackers, 1 piece of chocolate, 1 strip of bacon. Plan accordingly.
- 1 Bag of marshmallows (1 per s'more)
- Bacon (1 strip per s'more)
- Maple syrup
- Graham crackers (2 per s'more)**
Preheat oven to 400 °F. Lay the bacon strips out on a baking rack or baking sheet and cook in the oven until crispy, 15-18 minutes. Remove from the oven, brush both sides generously with maple syrup (about 1/2 tbsp per bacon strip) and put back in the oven for 1 more minute. Remove from the oven and let cool for a minute before using!
Channel your inner Girl Guide/Beaver/Scout and make the best bonfire you can! Roast your marshmallows to desired doneness by sticking them on the end of a long stick and holding over the fire. Put a piece of chocolate on one of the graham crackers. Sandwich the cooked marshmallow and bacon between the two graham crackers with the chocolate and DIG IN.
*Pick whatever type of chocolate you like! Some like regular dark chocolate, others prefer creamier milk chocolate, so go wild and stick a piece of Caramel chocolate bar in there. You choose!
**1 sleeve of graham crackers has 9 crackers. 1 sleeve is enough for 4 s'mores, 2 sleeves, 9 s'mores...etc etc.
Ps even my dog Luna’s in the Canada Day Spirit! HAPPY CANADA DAY!