The weather is warmer, the flowers are blooming, and my allergies are in full swing. Yes, spring has sprung and Easter is practically here. Endless amounts of chocolate treats and fuzzy bunnies are neat, but what really makes the holiday is the delicious meal with friends and family that you get to look forward to. Preparation for creating such a feast can seem daunting, but with a well thought out menu you will be able to wow the taste buds off your guests.
Consider building your menu around the fresh spring produce that is so abundant this time of year. Veggies and fruits like asparagus, radishes, spinach, artichokes, mint, strawberries, and mushrooms are plentiful. There are many reasons why you should purchase your produce and other ingredients locally. In reducing the environmental impact of transporting goods, farm to table time is cut down thus nutrients within your food are not lost, and more importantly; shopping for local food ensures that there will be farms in the future. There’s nothing like waking up early on a Saturday (or at least kind of early, it is the weekend after all) and taking a stroll through your local farmers market. The gorgeous produce just beckons you like an excited puppy anxious to be taken home.
Here are some tasty Easter recipe options using seasonal produce found at your local farmers market, and organic, sustainably sourced spices that you can find on Ecohabitude. Enjoy!
- -1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- -2 large cloves garlic
- -2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- -11⁄2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard, or to taste
- -Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- -1⁄4 teaspoon salt (optional; we do not use it)
- -1 cup chopped green onions (4 to 5)
- -2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, or to taste
- -Zest of 1 lemon
- -11⁄2 to 2 additional tablespoons fresh lemon juice, to taste
- -1⁄2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- -12 small red potatoes (roughly the size of large walnuts or small clementines)
- -Pinch of smoked paprika, for garnish
- -1 green onion, finely sliced, for garnish
- -Baby kale leaves, for garnish (optional)
- -In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, mustard, pepper to taste, salt (if using), and 2 tablespoons water, and process until uniformly smooth.
- -In a small bowl, stir together the hummus, green onions, Dijon mustard, lemon zest, additional lemon juice, and turmeric. Dollop or spread on immediately or store in an airtight container until ready to use.
- -Set a steamer insert in a saucepan and add about 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil over high heat; then place the potatoes in the steamer basket and steam for about 20 minutes. Plunge them into cold water in a big bowl or just run cold water over them.
- -Slice each potato in half. With the small end of a melon-baller or a small spoon, scoop out a hole in the center. (Save the little scooped-out potato balls to put into a salad or just pop them into your mouth!)
- -Fill each hole with hummus. Sprinkle with smoked paprika. It is easiest to take a tiny bit between your fingers and sprinkle just enough for the color to show.
- -Garnish with green onions or, for a really fun look, use a tiny baby kale leaf as a “sail” in each little potato “boat.”
- -¾ cup plain unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)
- -2½-3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- -1-2 medium-large cloves garlic
- -¾ tsp sea salt
- -½ tsp dry (ground) mustard
- -freshly ground black pepper to taste ¾ cup raw cashews (un-soaked)
- -2 cups frozen artichoke hearts (I used one 9 oz. box), partially thawed (helps for pulsing in blender)
- -2 cups (loosely packed) spinach leaves
- -Preheat oven to 425ºF. In a blender, add milk, lemon juice, garlic, salt, dry mustard, pepper and cashews. Blend until very smooth. If using a Vitamix or other high-powered blender, this will only take a minute or so. If using a standard blender, keep blending until very smooth.
- -Add artichokes and spinach and very briefly blend or pulse. Do not fully blend, keep some chunky texture.
- -Transfer mixture to an oven-proof baking dish, and bake for 17-20 minutes. Do not bake any longer or the spinach will turn off-color.
- -Serve warm with raw veggies, bread, tortilla chips, pita bread/chips or crackers. I liked it even better after letting it cool, then refrigerating and re-heating it later.
- -2 pounds carrots, well scrubbed or peeled
- -2 tablespoons olive oil
- -2 tablespoons maple syrup
- -1/2 tablespoon grainy mustard
- -1/2 tablespoon dijon mustard
- -1/2 tablespoon white miso paste (gluten-free)
- -1/2 tablespoon rice vinegar
- -2 teaspoons soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free)
- -1 small clove garlic, grated
- -Toss the carrots in half of the mixture of the oil, maple syrup, mustards, miso, vinegar, soy sauce and garlic
- -Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 400F/200C oven until tender and lightly golden brown, about 20-30 minutes, turning half way through, before tossing them in the remaining glaze and serving.
- -1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed
- -1 tablespoon olive oil
- -1 cup balsamic vinegar
- -20 medium strawberries, sliced
- -10 leaves basil, chopped
- -salt and pepper to taste
- -Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- -Place the asparagus on a baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil (I line my sheet with foil for easier clean up).
- -Roast the asparagus for 8-10 minutes, until just tender.
- -While the asparagus is roasting, boil the balsamic vinegar until reduced to about ¼ cup.
- -Divide asparagus among the plates and top with sliced berries, basil, and salt and pepper.
- -Use a spoon to drizzle each serving of asparagus with the balsamic syrup.
- -1 salmon fillet (about 1 1/2 pounds/750 g)
- -1 pound/500 g asparagus, trimmed
- -Salt (to taste)
- -1/4 cup/60 ml creme fraiche
- -3 to 4 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- -Zest of 1 lemon
- -Freshly ground pepper
- -1 pound/450 g puff pastry (2 sheets)
- -1 egg, lightly beaten
- -Skin and bone the salmon and set aside. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F/230 degrees C.
- -Cut the tips off the asparagus. Reserve the stems and poach the tips in boiling salted water until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain well, refresh in ice cold water, then drain again, leaving to sit so that all the water comes off. Puree the asparagus and stir in the creme fraiche, dill and lemon zest to blend. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- -Lay 1 sheet of puff pastry on a damp baking sheet with the long edge facing you. Lay the salmon on the pastry, like a picture in its frame. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- -Spread the top of the salmon with the asparagus puree. Lay the raw stems of asparagus on top of the puree, like pencils.
- -Brush the margins of the pastry with the egg wash. Lay the second sheet of pastry over the salmon and press the edges to seal, like a giant ravioli. Trim the edges, leaving a 1-inch/2.5 cm border. Press with the tines of a fork, then, with the dull edge of a knife, scallop the edges. Make 2 or 3 slits in the top to allow steam to escape. Brush all over with the egg wash and bake until puffed up and golden brown, about 20 minutes.
- -Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before slicing. This dish is also good at room temperature.
- -2.5 cups (12.5 ounces) gluten-free all-purpose flour blend (I used Bob's Red Mill GF All-Purpose Baking Flour), plus extra for dusting the pans
- -1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- -1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- -1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- -1 teaspoon salt
- -1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- -pinch of ground cloves
- -pinch of ground ginger
- -1 pound carrots, peeled
- -1 cup granulated sugar
- -1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- -4 flax eggs (*1/4 cup ground flaxmeal and 3/4 cup water, see instructions below*)
- -3/4 cup vegetable oil
- -1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
- -8 cups gluten-free powdered sugar
- -1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) vegan butter or margarine
- -3 Tablespoons non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
- -1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- -2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- -1 teaspoon lemon juice
- -pinch of salt
- -1 13x19-inch baking pan, or
- -2 9-inch round cake pans, or 3 8-inch round cake pans
- -Then dust the inside of each pan with gluten-free flour until the grease is completely covered and no spots of the pan are visible.
- -In a separate bowl, whisk together the gluten-free flour blend, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, cloves and ginger together until combined.
- -In a food processor fitted with the large shredding disk, shred carrots. Then transfer them to the mixing bowl with the flour. Wipe clean the food processor bowl, and fit with the metal blade (in place of the shredding disk). Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar and flax eggs and process until frothy and throughly combined, about 20 seconds. With processor running, add oil in a steady stream. Process until egg mixture is light in color and well emulsified, about 20 more seconds.
- -Transfer egg mixture to the large bowl with the carrots and flour. Using a rubber spatula, stir the mixture until thoroughly combined. If using nuts, stir them in until combined.
- -30-35 minutes for the 9x13-inch baking pan
- -25-30 minutes for the two 9-inch round cake pans, or
- -18-23 minutes for the three 8-inch round cake pans
- -Let cake cool completely in the pan(s) on a wire rack, about 1 hour. Run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen. Remove cake, if transferring to a different serving platter, and frost as desired.
- -Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer or food processor, and mix until smooth and combined. If the frosting is too thick, add in some extra milk to thin. If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar to thicken.