By Marni Fogelson

Published on April 1, 2017

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Photography by FEASTING AT HOME

Peruse a few Easter menus, and you’ll find they all have one thing in common: meat. Glazed ham a dozen different ways, roasted leg of lamb, and salmon are traditional offerings, while tasty vegetarian options are often overlooked. Ironically, many of these dishes capture the essence of the season: the vibrant green of spring peas and asparagus, the earthy scent of morel mushrooms, the sweetness of a carrot cake topped with a sinfully creamy cashew frosting. We included some twists on Easter favorites (like vegan deviled potato bites served with a dollop of hummus) as well as dishes that will be welcome on any festive table (honey garlic roasted carrots and a soufflé with leeks and feta cheese, for example). So push that ham aside, and make some room for the real springtime food stars of Easter.

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Photography by LIFE AS A STRAWBERRY

Easy Puff Pastry Baked Eggs

So simple, so delicious, so perfect for when you want to entertain for Easter, but you just don’t have time to make your own vegan marshmallow bunnies. These puff pastry baked eggs are an ingenious, easy, and satisfying option; you’ll be making them for brunch on weekends as well as holidays. For a pop of  spring color and flavor, consider serving with a little pesto.

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Photography by FEASTING AT HOME

Spring Pasta Salad With Asparagus and Morels

Serve it warm, or serve it chilled; just please serve this pasta salad. While it looks like a seasonal special at your favorite local foodie spot, you can easily make this dish and multiply it for a larger group. Asparagus, scallions, and parsley lend gorgeous shades of green, while earthy mushrooms like morels add a grounding, nourishing element. A lemon dressing and a dusting of cheese finish off this crowd-pleasing and satiating salad.

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Photography by CRAZY VEGAN KITCHEN

Deviled Potato Bites With Hummus

Your vegan dining companions will get a kick out of this clever twist on those ubiquitous deviled eggs. Spiced hummus gets piped into roasted potatoes for a filling and flavorful side dish that will disappear faster than a bowl of mini crème eggs. The crispy crunch of the potato skin combined with the creaminess of the hummus will be irresistible—consider these a gateway vegan food for meat-loving friends.

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Photography by WHAT’S GABY COOKING

Spring Pea Salad

This gorgeous salad screams springtime deliciousness. Bursting with peas, cucumber, radishes, avocado, and lettuce, it’s the ultimate light and healthy lunch and an antidote to the heavy foods we crave in cooler months. A homemade yet easy basil vinaigrette makes this salad pretty as a picture and way more delicious. Salty, creamy cubes of feta are a welcome and flavorful addition.

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Photography by CARLSBAD CRAVINGS

“Secret Ingredient” Honey Garlic Roasted Carrots

Carrots are naturally sweet, but add a little honey and some apricot preserves(!), as well as a plethora of herbs, and then roast. You get a sweet and savory carrot dish that even veggie naysayers can’t resist. We’re going to recommend making two batches of these carrots and keeping this recipe around for anytime you need a group-friendly, flavorful veg.

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Photography by CHARLEY’S HEALTH

Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower Salad With Sweet Tahini Dressing

This vibrant, sunny dish is a great veggie offering that celebrates the return of spring. Turmeric gives the cauliflower a golden hue, while pomegranate seeds and chopped parsley provide contrasting colors and textures. Creamy, tangy tahini dressing packs another flavor punch and gives this underappreciated vegetable a chance to shine.

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Photography by COMPLETELY DELICIOUS

Spinach Cheddar Twice Baked Potatoes

What’s more comforting than a baked potato? Noshing on twice baked potatoes stuffed with a creamy mix of potatoes, spinach, and cheese. Despite their complex appearance, most of the time is just waiting for the potatoes to bake. Making the filling is a cinch, but it transforms ordinary potatoes into a sumptuous side.

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Photography by VIKTORIA’S TABLE

Leeks and Feta Cheese Soufflé

Soufflés look super impressive, but they aren’t nearly as hard to make as they appear (and honestly, if they “fall,” they still taste delicious!).  This leek and feta version is light yet still a substantial addition to an Easter brunch or dinner. Caramelizing the leeks adds another layer of flavor and serves as a sweet counterpart to the tangy feta cheese. Plan your meal so these go straight to the table and are served and enjoyed at their peak appearance.

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Photography by PUMPKIN AND PEANUT BUTTER

Balsamic Spring Vegetable Salad

This reminds us a little of a seasonal, vegan take on the Nicoise salad. Composed of artichokes, chickpeas, avocado, arugula, red potatoes, and asparagus, each element contributes texture and flavor, creating a hearty and healthy salad that will make you feel great (even if you chase it with a giant chocolate egg). The recipe makes enough for one or two people, but you can scale it up for a group and layer each component.

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Photography by THE ENDLESS MEAL

Green Bean Casserole

Green bean casserole shows up on the menu at most holiday occasions, and it’s always a creamy yet crunchy and delicious hit. The creaminess in this healthier vegan version comes from a cashew-based mushroom sauce—no dairy required. Once the sauce is made, the rest of the recipe comes together in a snap, so there’s no excuse not to give this fan favorite a try.

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Photography by LAZY CAT KITCHEN

Carrot Cake

Hello, gorgeous! An Easter favorite, carrot cake is almost always vegetarian, but this version is both vegan and gluten-free. A luscious, creamy cashew frosting takes the place of the typical cream cheese, while the cake itself includes the usual heady mix of spices and an abundant serving of grated carrots. Layered and topped with chopped hazelnuts, orange zest, and cinnamon, this fragrant carrot cake will disappear quickly whether your crowd is gluten-free, vegan, or none of the above.