Planning the perfect Easter menu for your family and friends can be a daunting task. Even the most seasoned foodie may struggle to balance the tastes of multiple guests with the desire to add a personal touch to the holiday spread. A little creativity and careful consideration should always be the main ingredients, however, as even one unique or well-executed dish can become a new family tradition that leaves your guests counting the days until the next Easter Sunday.
There's something to be said for a satisfying, well-prepared selection of holiday comfort food that guests of all ages look forward to. A good glazed ham with mashed or fingerling potatoes and fresh seasonal vegetables became standard Easter fare for a reason. If you have access to a farmer's market, purchase your produce there, as it will likely be of higher quality than what you'll find at the average supermarket.
Even if your guests are expecting ham and potatoes, the main course doesn't have to come out of an oven. Hosts celebrating the holiday in warmer climates can trade the fine china for paper plates and throw a cookout. Instead of a Honey Baked ham, slap a few ham steaks on the grill and baste them with barbecue sauce or fruit preserves. Many traditional side dishes--including potatoes, apples and asparagus--can also be grilled.
Many cultures throughout the world celebrate with their own unique Easter traditions, including what ends up on the family dinner table. Choose a country or region and research its cuisine and holiday customs. Build an entire menu around a particular culinary tradition, or prepare a "travelogue" of dishes from across the map. For example, a traditional Greek Easter meal includes roasted lamb, soup and Koulourakia, an orange-flavored cookie usually twisted into a braid and topped with sesame seeds.
Healthy Easter Meal
A delicious Easter meal need not result in loosened belts and expanding waistlines. Try building your menu around recipes that call for fish, leaner cuts of pork or beef, whole grains, fresh vegetables and oils that are low in saturated fats but high in unsaturated fats (such as olive or canola oil). Swap the candy and rich desserts for fresh fruit or lighter sweets, such as sorbet or angel food cake. A number of vegetarian and vegan recipes also offer lighter alternates to some old standards. Tofu-based vegan "ham" is available in some supermarkets.