Easy Easter Menu
See this spread? I made it yesterday, a Tuesday, after dropping the kids off at school, walking the dog in Golden Gate Park for an hour, and making a pit stop at the market. The meal was on the table, ready for its close up, before noon. My point isn’t to showcase my speed in the kitchen or to make you wonder why on earth I’m doing Easter dinner 12 days early (though Mr. Mom’s Kitchen was thrilled to have lamb chops instead of lentils on Taco Tuesday).
Keep it Simple
My point is to say this: Holidays don’t have to be so hard. To help bring ease to the endeavor of Easter, I’ve gathered up a handful of celebration-worthy recipes and assembled them into a menu that won’t take you days to prepare. In fact, with a little help (kids can be excellent here), you can get the job done in under a couple of hours. Below you’ll find links to the recipes as well as suggestions and “make-ahead” tips to tackle the job without breaking a sweat. Keep in mind that most of these recipes serve 4 to 6, so scale up (or down) depending on how many will be at your Easter table.
When it comes to appetizers, I tend to keep it simple: a dish of olives, slender breadsticks, a plate of seasonal crudite, for example. This is in part to minimize time in the kitchen and also to keep guests (read: children) from spoiling their appetites. If you want to get a little fussier, check out this simple crostini (subbing in figs or pears for persimmons this time of year), this Beautiful Beet Hummus, or this Asparagus and Smoked Salmon Tart. Alternatively, you can outsource the appetizer to a willing guest, so you needn’t lift a finger until it’s time for the main event.
Little Lamb Chops with Mint Gremolata: Simple chops are lightly seasoned, cooked in a hot skillet, and topped with a mega flavorful pesto-like sauce. Side note: If you’re serving a crowd, it may make sense to opt for a lamb roast in lieu of lamb chops (one big piece of meat rather than lots of little chops to contend with). The Mint Gremolata will be a delicious accompaniment, regardless, just make sure to scale up the amount based on the number of people being served.
Roasted Carrots with Harissa Yogurt: Carrots get tossed with olive oil, lemon and spices and roasted until just tender and served on savory Greek yogurt.
Green Salad with Everyday Vinaigrette: A simple salad of butter lettuce or other favorite greens is dressed with my favorite vinaigrette. Feel free to embellish with toasted hazelnuts or crumbled goat cheese.
Biscuits/Rolls: You can roll up your sleeves and make your own biscuits or dinner rolls, hit up your favorite bakery, or simply warm a baguette until nice and crusty. Either way, pair with good salty butter (I have a soft spot for Kerrygold).
Berries in a Cloud is a favorite spring/summer dessert. It involves little more than folding together whipped cream and Greek yogurt and serving it with fresh berries (the season’s first strawberries may be available). If you have kids in the crowd, you might consider this Lighter Coconut Carrot Bunny Cake instead and let the little ones go to town with decorations.
Meal Prep Game Plan
If you want to get a head start on this meal — freeing up your Easter Sunday to
raid your children’s baskets attend church — here’s a make-ahead game plan:
Two days ahead
If opting for Coconut Carrot Cake, bake the cake, wrap, and refrigerate
Make and refrigerate vinaigrette
Wash, dry, and refrigerate lettuce
One Day Ahead
Make and refrigerate Mint Gremolata (lay plastic wrap directly on gremolata to maintain color)
Stir together and refrigerate Harissa Yogurt
If serving Coconut Carrot Cake, make frosting, assemble, and decorate; wrap and refrigerate
Chill white wine/champagne/beer/bubbly water
Assemble pre-dinner nibbles
Make (or heat up) biscuits/rolls/baguette
Season and cook lamb chops
Finish and roast carrots; serve over Harissa Yogurt
Take vinaigrette out of fridge an hour in advance
Prep and assemble Berries in a Cloud (if serving)