Brunch

28 Recipes for a Ham-less, Lamb-less Vegetarian Easter Dinner

No ham, no lamb—and certainly no mint jelly—but lots of veg.

March 28, 2022
Photo by Rocky Luten

As far as holidays go, Easter is a pretty good one for vegetarians (second only to Thanksgiving, the unofficial championship of side dishes). There are pillowy, yeasty breads, a springy push of salads, literal and symbolic eggs galore, potatoes abound, and the ubiquitous tray of asparagus. But beyond that, the focus shifts to the ham or lamb, reigning meaty and supreme as the centerpiece of the buffet.

This year, vegetarian or otherwise, turn the spotlight on the vegetables; for a holiday that's so oriented around newness and springtime, there's truly no way we'd rather do it. Here are our favorite veg-centric Easter recipes.


Our Best Vegetarian Easter Dinner Recipes

1. Renee Erickson's Sautéed Dates

Bet you’ve never had dates like these. Heat transforms sweet dates, and they shine when paired with tart, savory labneh or yogurt with a generous drizzle of olive oil, sea salt, and some fresh herbs.

2. Stovetop Green Bean Casserole, Veganized

Green bean casserole is a must-make for any holiday feast and we can’t recommend this dairy-free version enough.

3. Cashew Milk–Braised Cabbage With Crunchy Chile Oil

Cabbage is at its peak during spring, but rather than setting it aside as a side dish, bring it front and center. “Here cabbage is deeply charred before braising with cashew milk, ginger, scallions, chiles, and garlic,” explains recipe developer Sohla El-Waylly. The result is a crunchy, savory main course that’s a delicious vegetarian alternative to lamb or ham on Easter.

4. Meyer Lemon Rice With Candied Garlic From Michael W. Twitty

Easter dinner deserves a perky side dish that reflects the bright and airy nature of spring. This aromatic side dish calls on the sweet-tart zest and juice of Meyer lemon to perk up long-grain rice. For even more flavor, cook the rice in fish stock rather than water.

5. Vegan Pot Pie With Herby Biscuits

For a low-key Easter that will satisfy vegetarian guests at the dinner table, serve this crowd-friendly pot pie. Because it’s packed with veggies and topped with herby biscuits, you don’t need to serve nearly as many side dishes or dinner rolls. Keep it to a crunchy salad or sautéed spring vegetables and call it a day.

6. Torta Pasqualina (Easter Chard & Swiss Ricotta Pie)

A traditional Italian Easter pie filled greens and creamy ricotta. So rich and delicious, you won’t even notice it’s meatless.

7. Spring Fennel & Dandelion Green Slaw

A bright, acidic slaw showcasing the best produce spring has to offer.

8. Grilled Bread with Thyme Pesto & Preserved Lemon Cream

A spring herb pesto sings with bright, lemony cream and rich olive-oil grilled bread. The perfect appetizer alongside a veritable feast of spring veggies.

9. Sabzi Khordan (Fresh Herb Platter)

The Persian version of the crudité platter, this platter is amped up in flavor—lots of fresh herbs, crunchy radishes, and briny feta coated in ground spices. Serve with flatbread and dig in.

10. Spring Vegetarian Cassoulet

This hearty vegetarian adaptation of French Cassoulet gets its flavor foundation from luscious globe artichokes sautéed in garlic, lemon zest, thyme, and white wine.

11. Georgian Khachapuri Filled With Ramps, Green Onions, Herbs, & Cheese

Spring’s most popular allium—ramps—are in the spotlight in this herby Georgian cheese bread.

12. Creamy Polenta with Mushrooms & Artichoke

Silky-smooth polenta is the ultimate comfort food, especially when paired with cremini mushrooms, thyme, and goat cheese.

13. Engin Akin's Turkish Radish & Herb Salad (Anatolian Gypsy Salad

This Genius Recipes-approved radish salad is jam-packed with acid and the perfect foil for rich Easter dishes. Serve alongside meaty mains or cheesy, creamy sides.

14. Herb, Feta, & Quinoa-Filled Frittata

Smart pantry pulls make this frittata as delicious for weekend brunch as it is easy for a weeknight dinner.

15. Meyer Lemon Focaccia

According to this recipe’s author, “the little punch of bitter rind plays nicely against the salty-sweet topping on this airy, crusty focaccia” and call it “totally addictive”. I can’t think of a better bread to have on your Easter table.

16. Alice B. Toklas' Asparagus in Salt & Pepper Whipped Cream

Taste this whipped cream and vegetable dish and you will probably wonder how you went this long without trying whipped cream and vegetables together.

17. Vegan Date Nut Bread

Vegans rejoice: this date and nut loaf is dense and sweet and delicious any time of day or night. A perfect bread to accompany any Easter table, sweet or savory.

18. Vegan Lemon Asparagus Risotto

Another plant-based option, this recipe for bright asparagus risotto is rich and creamy in a way you wouldn’t expect from vegan dishes.

19. Shakshuka Focaccia

50 percent fluffy focaccia, 50 percent saucy shakshuka, 100 percent delicious. Guaranteed to have vegetarians and omnivores alike asking for seconds.

20. Sourdough Savory Rolls With Parmesan & Ricotta

These gorgeous rolls utilize the sourdough starter you’ve spent the last year cultivating. Think cinnamon rolls but substitute cinnamon with an herby, double-cheese filling so good, it’s a miracle some makes it in the rolls at all.

21. Greenest Goddess Dressing / Aioli

A green goddess dressing that lives up to its name. Über-green and ready to be dunked in by the spring’s freshest veggies.

22. Carrot, Avocado, & Orange Salad

Inspired by a salad at the New York restaurant abcV, roasted carrots and avocado play together in perfect harmony, assisted by the best citrus late winter can offer.

23. Carrots with Brown Butter & Hazelnuts

Another option for an Easter carrot side dish. Where the last recipe is bright and acidic, this one is rich and full of toasty umami from brown butter and hazelnuts.

24. Bert Greene's Potato Scallion Cakes (Fritterra)

Leftover (or fresh) mashed potatoes get a second life in these little crispy-fried, scallion-laden cakes. Top with fried eggs, or serve them as a hearty vegetarian side dish on their own.

25. Green Pea Burgers with Ricotta & Crispy Mushrooms

While the recipe calls for frozen, these veggie burgers are the perfect vessel to highlight fresh spring peas. Luscious ricotta and crispy mushrooms make these burgers balanced and full of umami, zero meat required.


Bonus: Vegan Easter Desserts!

26. Vegan Carrot-Zucchini Bread

This not-too-fussy, spring-forward quick bread is a sweet addition to the Easter dinner table. Cut it up into mini slices for a bread basket or serve it as dessert. It’s made with grated zucchini and carrots, chopped pistachios, and dried apricots for a chewy bite.

27. Coconut Rum Cream Pie

No one would ever believe that this super creamy coconut pie is totally and completely vegan—but it is. It’s a make-ahead winner to complete your Easter feast.

28. Coconut Vegan Cheesecake Bars With Nut Crust

Get a head start on Easter dinner prep with these freezer cheesecake bars. The filling gets its body from puréed cashews, coconut cream, coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract.

What are your favorite vegetarian Easter dishes? Tell us what you'll be serving in the comments.
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1 Comment

Karl W. February 12, 2021
Just because there's been such a loss of connection to human history in the last couple of generations.... Historically, in the centuries of Christian religious practice and tradition, the meatless time was most definitely NOT Easter, but the weeks of Lent preceding it. (And, not necessarily just meatless: the Eastern European and Afro-Asiatic Christian traditions also nixed fish (except on feast days in Lent), dairy, eggs, alcohol and even oil.) Carnivale before Lent was a "farewell to meat" as it were. Dairy (which cows continued to produce) and eggs (which hens continued to produce) would be preserved to enjoy for Easter, especially the first week of the 50 day long Eastertide, along with meat (lamb being much more anciently associated because of the associations with the sacrifice of Jesus on Good Friday).