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Great Ideas For Your Easter Menu

Enjoy recipes from Greek, Italian and Spanish traditions

Easter dishes: roast lamb on spring vegetables

Roast lamb on spring vegetables — a traditional Easter dish. — Photo by AWL Images/Getty Images

Easter conjures up the multitude of traditional foods made for the holiday that marks the end of Lent. The "Sunday roast" that most religiously observant families partake in after Sunday Mass or services in the mornings consists of lamb or ham, and the Easter roast has spread to many secular families as well.

See also: Nostalgic foods from your childhood.

Easter is a fine time to celebrate with seasonal vegetables such as asparagus and artichokes, as well as recipes that borrow from Greek, Italian and Spanish Easter traditions.

And don't forget desserts — fruity or citrus-based cakes and cookies are good choices to top off your moveable feast.

Pleasant beginnings:
Smoked Salmon Spread by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins: This brunch-ready recipe will impress your guests with a minimum of effort, and makes a pretty presentation as well. But it's just as much at home slathered on a bagel and topped with hearty slices of tomato and red onion.

Italian Pecorino and Prosciutto Bread by Sarah Leah Chase: This traditional Italian Easter bread, called torta di pasqua, is truly a holiday treat — stuffed with Pecorino Romano, Swiss or Fontina cheeses and thin-sliced prosciutto

Deviled Eggs by Terry Golson: This lower-calorie, lower-fat deviled egg recipe preserves all the classic flavor of the original, with turmeric, sweet pickle relish, Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce.

Main-dish centerpieces:
Ham in Coca-Cola by Nigella Lawson: This country classic is famous for a reason. It's a beloved, tried-and-true preparation for the holiday ham. Make sure to check whether you're starting with a fresh, partially cooked, fully cooked or cold-smoked ham, and determine how salty the meat is to begin with.

Easter Lamb by Jamie Oliver: Lamb is a common main course for Easter in Greek and Italian cuisine, and this hearty roast is up to carry on the tradition into your Easter celebration. Here, the leg of lamb is served atop a bed of young vegetables to echo the new beginnings of spring: baby fennel, baby carrots and baby leeks, along with zucchini and asparagus.

Baked Ham with Mustard and Brown Sugar Crust by Beatrice Ojakangas: Dijon mustard, brown sugar and ginger flavor this ham with the classic trio of sweet, spicy and tangy notes.

Grilled Leg of Lamb with Greek Chimichurri Sauce by Anne Byrn: If it's warm enough, this recipe can be grilled on a rotisserie or outdoor grill, but the lamb can also be roasted in the oven instead. Marinating the meat overnight with lemon slices, garlic and rosemary gives it a depth of flavor that layers with the Greek chimichurri sauce, added after the lamb is cooked.

Next: Tempting side dishes and festive desserts. »

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