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10 Traditional Easter meals to make at home

BY Kate Oczypok

4th Apr 2023 Recipes

10 Traditional Easter meals to make at home

We explore the symbolic significance behind these traditional Easter meals, and share ten delicious recipes that you can try at home

The following recipes will delight everyone at your table this Easter, from the littlest ones to the distinguished grannies and grandads.

These foods are mostly British in origin, with some American, German and Italian recipes on offer too.

Roasted rack of lamb

Roast lamb with mint sauce for EasterLamb symbolises Christ, "the lamb of God", dying for us on the cross

Having lamb at your Easter table is nothing new. In fact, it has Biblical origins. The reason we eat it is because of its symbolism. Dating back to Jewish history and the time of Passover, celebrations took place to mark the liberation of Israelites from slavery in Egypt.

"Christians see the lamb as a representation of Jesus dying on the cross for us"

Passover is traditionally a spring festival when the Passover lamb is killed. Christians see the lamb as a representation of Jesus dying on the cross for us, being the “lamb of God.”

Celebrate Easter’s symbolism with this roasted rack of English lamb recipe made with chargrilled Provencal vegetables, olive tapenade and basil pesto.

Hot cross buns

Hot cross buns are a traditional British Easter food. The buns are traditionally baked on Good Friday (origins date back to the Tudors), when the sale of spiced buns was illegal except on three occasions: Christmas, funerals and Good Friday.

Of course, many may remember the childhood nursery rhyme dating back to the 18th century: “Hot cross buns, hot cross buns, One ha’penny, two ha’penny, hot cross buns”.

Interested in making a batch of your own? Try this recipe, made with orange and lemon zest and lots of fruit.

Spring vegetable salad with mint pesto

Spring vegetables (asparagus, strawberries and mint) served for Easter with pestoA spring vegetable salad takes advantage of all the new veggies sprouting up in your garden

Mint is a lovely flavour to add to Easter recipes, from lamb to this yummy spring vegetable salad with mint pesto. It’s made with crisp radishes, fresh peas and a mint pesto.

Part of Easter involves spring, new beginnings and fresh growth. Take advantage of your garden or local farmers’ market and use the best veggies of the season.

You can make your own spring vegetable salad using this recipe. They toss in some toasted almonds and feta too, for some extra flavour.

Creme Egg tray bake

Let’s take a moment to appreciate the lovely Easter treat that is the Cadbury Creme Egg. The egg originated from English chocolatier Fry’s in 1963, before being renamed by Cadbury in 1971.

The milk chocolate egg is filled with a gooey, creamy centre that is still a favourite among British people (and many others around the globe).

Cadbury’s website has posted recipes and this egg tray bake is an easy addition to your Easter table.

Sugar-glazed ham

While many choose lamb, ham is also a staple at many an Easter table. Eating ham at Easter dates back to at least the sixth century in Germany.

Pigs thrived in Northern Europe and were slaughtered and hung in autumn. Consequently, it was one of the few meats available to eat at early spring festivals

"Eating ham at Easter dates back to at least the sixth century in Germany"

Impress your guests with this sweet and salty sugar-glazed ham. The old-fashioned glaze is just like what your granny used to make.

Simnel cake

Simnel cake served on plate next to Easter eggsSimnel cake is a traditional Easter dessert made with marzipan

Chances are your aunties, grannies and even great grannies have made this traditional Easter treat. The light fruitcake includes a layer of marzipan baked into the centre and is typically topped with marzipan decorations.

Many make simnel cakes to use up leftover dried fruits from holiday fruitcakes. Try this delicious Simnel cake recipe.

Spring vegetable tart

There’s nothing better than a good, solid vegetable tart for the new season. Tarts have French origins, tracing back to medieval times.

In the 16th century, tarts were typically stuffed with meat fillings and were eaten by nobility. Since then, the tart has transformed to include sweet, custard and fruit fillings.

This recipe from Williams Sonoma utilizes tasty British asparagus, leeks and a rich fontina cheese.

Scotch quail eggs

Scotch eggs served for EasterScotch eggs make a delicious savoury alternative to traditional chocolate Easter eggs

What’s Easter without an egg recipe? The classic recipe for a Scotch egg involves soft-boiled eggs wrapped in sausage, breaded then baked or fried.

Over the years, variations have emerged like mini-Scotch eggs, chopped up ones for an egg salad and more.

Jamie OIiver offers a simple quail egg recipe with higher-welfar sausages, thyme and breadcrumbs.

Easter bread

Easter bread, a staple at many tables, is another food with a rich European history. The sweetened bread has northern Italian beginnings (specifically the Lombardy region).

"Wreath-shaped breads represent the crown of thorns"

The way the bread is made is steeped in symbolism. Wreath-shaped breads represent the crown of thorns, but dough braided in three pieces is regarded as the Holy Trinity (the Father, Son and Holy Spirit).

You can make your own Easter bread with this simple, wreath-shaped version.

Pea, mint and spring onion soup with parmesan biscuits

Many an Easter is not as bright, sunny and springlike as we’d like. Sometimes, it’s nice to include a soup dish with your meal.

This version includes popular meal staples like peas, spring onions and mint. The parmesan biscuits included with the recipe are the perfect accoutrement to the warm and cosy soup.

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