OUR FAVORITE EASTER RECIPES

Whether you celebrate Easter, or just want to say “Hello Spring”, these wonderful fresh recipes will liven up any table. Spring is a perfect time to lighten up our meals, try something new and introduce more seasonal foods. These recipes are great for every food preference including dairy free, vegan and vegetarian – just by making some simple swaps!

 

Herbed, Asparagus, Phyllo Tart

An impressive starter or a great side dish, this is super easy to make. Don’t be afraid of the phyllo, there’s nothing to it!

Makes 8 servings

¾cup               part-skim ricotta cheese (vegan or dairy-free swap)

¼cup               chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1½Tbs              1% low-fat milk (vegan or dairy-free swap)

1Tbs                 fresh thyme leaves

1                      garlic clove grated

½tsp                Kosher salt

12                    14”x9” frozen phyllo pastry sheets, thawed

3½Tbs              olive oil (you can use butter if you prefer)

1tsp                 olive oil for baking

1½lb                medium asparagus spears trimmed to 6½”

2oz                  Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese shaved (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Stir together ricotta, parsley, milk, thyme, garlic and half the salt. Set aside.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and place one phyllo sheet on it. Lightly oil and top with another sheet. Repeat until all the sheets have been used. Spread ricotta mixture over the top leaving a ½” boarder. Arrange asparagus spears over the top and brush with the teaspoon of oil. Bake until phyllo is brown and crisp, about 25 minutes.

Sprinkle with remaining salt and top with shaved cheese.

 

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Everything Green Salad

This is my new go-to salad, packed with lovely greens, wonderful textures and a wonderful tangy dressing!

Makes 8 servings

1½ cups           frozen green peas

1lb                   asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2” pieces (4 cups)

12oz                sugar snap peas, trimmed (4 cups)

4oz                  pea tendrils (you can also use watercress or baby spinach)

1cup                loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

½ cup              torn fresh mint leaves

2                      firm, ripe avocado, cubed

 

Dressing:

3 Tbs                shallots, minced

3Tbs                 Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

1½tsp              grated lemon rind

2 Tbs                fresh lemon juice

2 Tbs                rice wine vinegar

1Tbs                 Dijon mustard (or honey mustard if you like a little sweetness)

¾tsp                Kosher salt

½tsp                freshly ground black pepper

 

Bring a Dutch oven filled with water to the boil and add green peas, asparagus and sugar snaps, boil until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and rinse well with cold water, drain well.

Make the dressing by whisking all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the blanched vegetables and toss to coat well. Add the pea tendrils, parsley leaves, mint, and avocado and toss gently to combine.

 

 

Lemon Cupcakes – Tradition and Vegan

Makes 12 – 15 cupcakes

1½ cups                    all-purpose flour

1tsp                            baking powder

½tsp                           salt

1 stick                        unsalted butter, melted

1¼ cups                    sugar

3                                  large eggs

1Tbs                            vanilla extract

¼ cup                        fresh lemon juice

1Tbs                            lemon zest

½ cup                        whole milk

FROSTING:

1 cup                         unsalted butter, softened

2½ cups                    powdered sugar

1Tbs                            lemon zest

4Tbs                            lemon juice

¼tsp                           salt

1-2Tbs                        heavy whipping cream, for desired consistency

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tins with liners

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.

Add melted butter to a large bowl and mix in sugar with a hand mixer for 30 seconds, until thick and yellow. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract, lemon juice, and zest.

Add the flour mixture and milk alternately, starting and ending with the flour. Don’t over mix! Divide batter among liners, filling 2/3 full (about ¼ cup of batter per cupcake). Bake for 15-18 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting:

Beat butter until creamy. Beat in salt and 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time until it’s all added.

Beat in lemon juice and zest. Add 1 tablespoon of heavy whipping cream and mix until smooth. Add more cream as needed for desired consistency. Frosting can be made up to 2 days ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Make sure to let it come to room temperature before using.

Frost cupcakes by placing frosting in a pastry bag. Add extra lemon zest for decoration.

VEGAN RECIPE – Makes 12 cupcakes

1¼ cups              almond or soy milk

1Tbs                     lemon juice

1½ cups              all-purpose flour

1½tsp                  baking powder

¼tsp                    salt

¾ cup                  organic cane sugar

½ cup                  vegan margarine or shortening

2tsp                       vanilla extract

1Tbs                       lemon zest

FROSTING:

½ cup                  vegan margarine or shortening

2tsp                      vanilla extract

1Tbs                      lemon zest

1½Tsb                  lemon juice

2¾ cups              powdered sugar

pinch                    salt

 

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350°F and line a cupcake pan with paper liners.

Whisk together the soy or almond milk and lemon in a small mixing bowl. Beat until the milk is frothy and set aside. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the vegan margarine or shortening and sugar on medium-low speed for about a minute. Add the vanilla and lemon zest and beat for one more minute. Add a third of the flour mixture and beat to incorporate fully, then add half of the milk and beat until smooth. Repeat with another third of the flour mixture, the remaining half of the milk, and then the final third of the flour mixture. Beat for another 15 to 30 seconds, or until the batter is smooth (a few little clumps are fine).

Scoop the batter by the 1/3 cup into the liners. Bake for 20 to 24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean and the tops are solid. Transfer cupcakes to wire cooling racks and allow them to cool completely before frosting.

To prepare the lemon buttercream frosting, transfer the vegan margarine or shortening to a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream the vegan margarine or shortening, vanilla, and lemon zest on medium-low speed for 1 to 2 minutes, or until very smooth. Add the lemon juice and mix to incorporate. Add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time, and then beat on medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the frosting is very thick and very smooth. Beat in the sea salt. Frost the cupcakes and add extra lemon zest for decoration.

Sue Taggart