17 make-ahead recipes perfect for Canada Day

All the recipes you need — and many meatless options — for a low-stress feast!

All the recipes you need — and many meatless options — for a low-stress feast!

(CBC Life)

If OTT entertaining is your thing, we're not going to talk you out of going big. Check out this tiny veggie garden crudite and see if it gets your wheels turning. However, if you'd like to keep things delicious but simple this Canada Day, we've got all the recipes you need below. Crowd-pleasing and (mostly) make-ahead, complete with our tips for their smooth execution, these recipes will have you greeting guests stress-free with a rhubarb shrub martini in hand.


Smoky Stone Fruit and Bourbon BBQ Ribs

(Photography by Michael Gozum)

Prepare the barbecue sauce for these bad boys up to one month ahead of time (like now!) and pre-cook them in the oven the day before. That way they'll only need 20 minutes or so of grilling time once the festivities kick off.

Harissa-Marinated Chicken

(Photo credit: Jackson Roy)

Marinate these up to 16 hours ahead of time so they're super flavourful when it's time to go. Sure, you can do these in the oven as the recipe suggests, but why heat up the house when you don't have to? Throw the chicken pieces on a cooler part of the grill for about 40 minutes instead, moving them around halfway to make sure they all get even heat. Use a meat thermometer to ensure they're done before moving and flipping them over direct heat for about 5 minutes or so for those char marks.

Peggy K's Veggie Burger

Adapt these easily for a barbecue by cooking them in an oiled cast iron on the grill. Keep the cover on to infuse them with smoky flavour and no one will miss the meat.

Mediterranean Marinade

Submerge whatever protein you like in this all-purpose marinade overnight and it will be ready for the grill on party day.

Korean BBQ Marinade

Both meat and veggies do well in this marinade, and everything can be prepped the night before.

Middle Eastern Marinade

Let the buttermilk in this recipe tenderize your chicken or pork in this crowd-pleasing marinade that's also make-ahead.  


A Really Good Kale Salad

(Photo credit: Jackson Roy)

Follow the instructions for prepping this salad the day before and toss everything together once your guests arrive.

Kale Salad with Tahini Ranch Dressing

(Photo: David Bagosy, Styling: Melissa Direnzo)

Make the pita croutons for this salad a few days ahead and store them in an air-tight container to keep them crisp. Do the herb-filled dressing in advance as well and go ahead and cut the radishes and carrots. Just hold off on slicing the tomatoes, cucumbers, and avocados until shortly before serving to keep them bright and fresh.

Grilled Radicchio Salad with Tahini and Chive Dressing

(CBC Life)

If you haven't tried grilling your salad you're missing out. Heat sweetens and softens the leaves and turns the vegetable into a totally different beast. Make the dressing ahead so it's ready to drizzle on.

Chiffonade Salad

Prep all the veggies and the dressing for this the day before. Keep the veggies crisp by storing them under a damp paper towel in an air-tight container in the fridge.

Grilled Potato Salad

Skip the grill pan and do these on the barbecue outside. You might as well take advantage of summer while you got it.


Ice Box Lemon Square

(CBC Life)

The gelatin in this recipe requires time to set, so go ahead and make these the evening before and they'll be perfectly sliceable when you need them. Bonus: these get their creaminess from Greek yogurt instead of butter.

Pineapple Whip

(CBC Life)

This takes only a minute to whip up, so freeze the pineapple beforehand or buy it already frozen and you're good to go.

Lidia Bastianich's Berry Tiramisu

(Photography by Steve Giralt)

If Lidia Bastianich tells you that this dessert is better when you make it the day before, you have to listen. Plus it's a timely option for your favourite early-summer fruit.

Strawberry "Shortcake" Drop Scones

(CBC Life)

Red and white and they have maple syrup in them? These "shortcakes" are right on point. Make the scones now and freeze them, and get the berries ready the night before.

Mixed Berry Galettes

(Credit: Kyla Zanardi)

Freeze the dough for these, or even the whole galettes once baked and cooled. Just before you're ready to serve, simply reheat from frozen in a 350 degree F oven until the fruit bubbles again.

Pink Margarita Popsicles

(CBC Life)

Keep the party going by handing out these boozy popsicles at the end of the meal. Double or even triple the recipe if your popsicle tray doesn't hold enough for a crowd. Just work ahead in batches, popping them out when they're solid and transferring them to a large freezer-safe container or bag so you can begin another batch.

Jessica Brooks is a digital producer and pro-trained cook and baker. Follow her food stories on Instagram @brooks_cooks.


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