How to Plan a Fabulous Spring Menu for Easter

  • 01 of 07

    Delicious Spring Recipes for the Easter Table

    spring dinner table
    Westend61/ Getty Images

    Asparagus and radishes and fava beans and sweet peas and, of course, an ample cut of lamb along with strawberries and rhubarb and fresh spring eggs... these are the makings of a wonderfully seasonal—local if you're lucky—Easter feast.


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  • 02 of 07

    Fresh Spring Appetizers for Easter

    Ellie Baygulov / Stocksy United

    Sure chips and nuts are easy, cheese and crackers are classic, but the colorful crisp vegetables of spring make perfect fodder for lighter, yummier appetizers that are just the thing for combating the candy and chocolate that can dominate the day.

    • Peas in Their Pods—We put a little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt on peas in their pods and set them out: pretty, fun, and tasty.
    • Radishes With Butter—Raw radishes are served with butter and salt in France; while it may...MORE sound odd if you've never had it before, it's a winning combination.


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  • 03 of 07

    First Course: Asparagus

    Asparagus In Vinaigrette With Egg
    Photo © Molly Watson

    Asparagus + Egg = Easter Perfection.

    Above, lightly steamed asparagus spears are drizzled with a lemony vinaigrette and sprinkled with hard-cooked egg in this dressy but simple asparagus with vinaigrette & egg.

    The French always serve asparagus on its own (never on a plate with other dishes). You can follow suit and serve this as a first course, or chuck tradition and serve it alongside the Easter ham or lamb. Or, try one of these Asparagus Recipes instead.


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  • 04 of 07

    Spring-y Easter Salads

    Goat Cheese Salad
    Molly Watson

    From thinly sliced radishes in a gingery dressing to simple tossed green salads, we've pulled together a winning selection of spring salads that bring tons of fresh spring flavor, as well as bright, beautiful colors, to the table. If we have enough people gathered, we've been known to serve several of these lovelies as part of the celebration.

    • Bistro-Style Goat Cheese Salad—We often serve this classic French bistro creation as a light meal, but smaller portions work well amid bigger meals...MORE and we're hard-pressed to think of a salad that better plays up the tender greens of spring.
    • Fennel Meyer Lemon Salad—Crisp fennel, thinly sliced, and sweet Meyer lemons, cut into sections, get tossed with a bit of oil and a sprinkle of salt in this beyond-simple salad that sings with spring flavor.
    • Tossed Salad With Asparagus—Raw asparagus and butter lettuce (or any baby lettuce you like) are tossed with a lemony vinaigrette and topped with mozzarella and pistachios in a very green, springy salad.


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  • 05 of 07

    Lamb Recipes for Easter

    Darren Muir / Stocksy United

    In many families, it isn't truly Easter without lamb on the table (or turning on the spit).

    Our all-time favorite way to cook lamb is on the grill. And for festive occasions, we turn to a butterflied leg of lamb, marinated overnight if possible. This time of year we like to add bright spring radishes and sliced spring onions and mint leaves (so much better than mint jelly) alongside the rich meat for crunchy freshness. It makes a grand Easter platter, as pictured above. Check out this grilled...MORE leg of lamb to see for yourself.

    When Easter comes super early or grilling just isn't an option where you are (for either a lack of outdoor space or a chilliness of weather), this roast lamb with root vegetables is a wonderfully cozy option. If that isn't quite cozy enough, give this lamb stew a whirl for a truly homey, make-ahead option.

    For a more casual gathering, these minted lamb meatballs are a fun twist. Or, go the couldn't-be-more-informal route with lamb burgers.

    Whether or not you celebrate Easter, true spring lamb is a delicious element of seasonal eating, and if you can find a locally grown one, all the better. Finding that local lamb can be quite tricky, however, as fewer farmers raise sheep (a farmer we know stopped trying because the carnage from the coyotes was too much to handle, both emotionally and financially). In fact, you may only be able to find imported lamb at the meat counter. Learn more about different national lambs here. You may also find this guide to lamb cuts useful as you head to the market.


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  • 06 of 07

    Spring Side Dishes for Easter

    Laurel Randolph

    These spring vegetable-laden side dishes all go well with ham or lamb, keep the focus on fresh and in-season spring produce, and can sit a bit between being cooked and being served—perfect for coordinating with an unpredictable egg hunt!

    • Artichokes, Braised—These artichokes cooked with garlic and lemon take full advantage of the first fresh and firm artichokes that come into season in spring.
    • Asparagus Gratin—Some time in the oven, a bit of Gruyere and walnuts turn asparagus into a beautiful and...MORE crowd-pleasing dish.
    • Quick-Braised Carrots & Sugar Snap Peas—This dish tastes best with fresh carrots, the ones available in spring that are pulled from the field to thin the rows to allow other carrots to grow.
    • New Potatoes in Cilantro Sauce—The mildly spicy cilantro sauce in this dish is particularly well-suited to new potatoes and is wonderful next to lamb or ham.
    • Pan-Roasted Asparagus—When it isn't nice enough for grilling yet, pan-roasting gives asparagus some nice brown edges to highlight its grassy flavor.
    • Spring Pasta With Asparagus & Ricotta—Fresh spring asparagus, crunchy shallots, a squirt of lemon, and the creamy ricotta make a lovely side of pasta with spring flavor and lightness.
    • Spinach Rice Pilaf—Spinach and rice cooked in broth merge into more than the sum of the parts in this easy, nutritious dish.
    • Pea and Mint Soup—Peas and mint are a match made in heaven in this easy soup recipe. It's light, unlike heavy winter stews, and the perfect accompaniment to a spring meal.
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  • 07 of 07

    Seasonal Spring Desserts for Easter

    Cultura RM Exclusive / BRETT STEVENS / Getty Images

    The bright, juicy fruits of spring are perfect to turn to for Easter desserts. In warmer climes, sweet local strawberries may be in; cooler areas will likely have lusciously tart rhubarb popping up. Citrus like lemons and grapefruit are still going strong when Easter rolls around, so don't forget about them when you're menu planning. They bring tons of sweet-yet-tart flavor and a burst of freshness much needed in many places as winter finally (finally!) recedes. A few of my favorite...MORE spring dessert recipes that are lovely on the Easter table are below.

    • Old-Fashioned Strawberry Shortcake—Here's a classic dessert that never goes out of style. Fresh whipped cream and strawberries bring this warm weather dessert to life.
    • Lavender Scones—These easy British treats can be dressed up with dried fruits. It's the perfect way to end a filling meal, paired with a cup of coffee or tea.
    •  Œufs à la Neige—No fruit here, but who can resist including "snow eggs" on a list of possible Easter desserts?
    • Strawberry Fool—Fools (just sweetened whip cream and fruit) can be prepared hours in advance, making it a great choice for an Easter brunch, lunch or dinner. Rhubarb Fool is also a good choice!
    • Vegan Carrot Cake—This super moist cake is a great option for guests with dietary restrictions, and it still has all the great cinnamony flavors of carrot cake topped with cream cheese frosting–you won't even be able to tell it's vegan.
    • Lemon Bars—Classic among cookies, tangy lemon bars topped with powdered sugar are an irresistible spring treat.
    • Rhubarb Crisp—Topped with rolled oats, cinnamon, this yummy rhubarb crisp has the perfect amount of crunch.
    • Chocolate Ice Water Cake With Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting—What's dessert without a chocolate option? This cake will surely satisfy any sweet tooth.