Easter Side Dishes
Lunch, brunch, or an elegant dinner—no matter how you're serving your Easter meal, we have a side for you. Our picks will help usher in the warmth of spring, even if there is still snow on the ground.
Our first recipe is not only quick, but also versatile. Try one of our three variations on Asparagus with Balsamic Tomatoes to spice things up: raisin and pine nut, sesame-ginger glazed, or lemon-tarragon. If you're serving a large Easter dinner group, feel free to try all three.
Turmeric-Pickled Deviled Eggs
Deviled eggs get way more interesting when the eggs are pickled in a tangy turmeric-spiked brine that also dyes them a lovely color. The longer the eggs marinate in the brine, the firmer they become and the more vibrant the color gets. For a tangier flavor, use some of the brine instead of water to loosen the filling.
All the Green Things Salad
This salad is full of lovely textures ranging from crunchy to creamy. You can make the zippy lemon dressing and blanch, drain, and chill the peas and asparagus up to 2 says ahead, but combine all the elements shortly before serving to preserve the color of the avocado and the crunch of the greens.
Herbed Ricotta, Asparagus, and Phyllo Tart
If working with phyllo dough fills you with fear, don't worry—this recipe is beginner-friendly. There's no crimping or folding the dough; you just lay flat sheets of dough on top of each other for a rustic, unfinished edge.
Sautéed Carrots with Sage
You can easily double, triple, or quadruple this small-yield recipe to feed more hungry Easter guests. A few simple ingredients turn carrots into a star side dish.
Buttery Lemon Broccolini
If you want to get a jump on this recipe, cook the Broccolini four minutes, plunge it into ice water, and refrigerate. Separately prepare the compound butter, and chill it. Then finish cooking the Broccolini in the skillet, and toss it with the butter just before serving.
Steamed Carrots with Garlic-Ginger Butter
Steaming vegetables helps to retain all of the healthful water-soluble vitamins, and these carrots are no exception. The addition of the garlic-ginger butter gives an exotic flair to an otherwise classic dish.
Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Browned Butter
One of the best (and simplest) sides in our magazine's history, this recipe was named Best Vegetable Side Dish in our 20th anniversary issue, making it a perfect choice for your Easter dinner. The browned butter with a splash of balsamic vinegar adds an elegance that belies the simplicity of this approach.
Asiago, Potato, and Bacon Gratin
This side is a sure hit, featuring the three ingredients almost everyone loves: cheese, bacon, and potatoes. Combining Parmesan and Asiago cheeses provides depth and creaminess, while the buttery Yukon Gold potato stands in for the additional fat and calories.
Corn and Parsnip Cakes
Reminiscent of corn fritters, this skillet-cooked side dish features the additional sweetness of parsnips. A golden brown crust adds crunch and makes this side a crowd pleaser.
Green Bean Salad Amandine
The classic side dish gets a fresh makeover with the addition of a sherry-Dijon mustard vinaigrette. Haricots verts are the traditional bean, but regular green beans work just as well.
Carrot-Parsnip Soup with Parsnip Chips
Root vegetables lend their complementary, slightly sweet flavors to this hearty bowl. Stir in more water or broth if you prefer a thinner consistency.
Spinach Salad with Gorgonzola, Pistachios, and Pepper Jelly Vinaigrette
Red pepper jelly adds a snappy note to the vinaigrette that makes this simple salad memorable enough for an Easter dinner. You can prepare the vinaigrette earlier in the day and refrigerate; let it come to room temperature before tossing it with the spinach.
Roasted Beet, Avocado, and Watercress Salad
With red beets and onions and green avocado slices and watercress, this is a festive salad to begin your Easter dinner with. This recipe serves 12, so it's great for large gatherings.
Zesty Three-Bean and Roasted Corn Salad
This southwestern-accented recipe combines canned beans with sweet corn and red bell peppers for a colorful Easter side dish.
Roasted Potatoes with Tangy Watercress Sauce
Add watercress, basil, and mint to a yogurt base for a fragrant, fresh-tasting sauce you can make up to 2 days ahead. Serve this versatile dish alongside chicken, beef, or lamb. You can also use the sauce as a dip for vegetables.
Fresh Peas with Spicy Pepper Relish
The lightly pickled relish will keep up to two days in the refrigerator, so feel free to prep prior to Easter day. Corn muffins with honey butter would make a great accompaniment.
Grilled Vegetable Salad with Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing
If the weather is warm your Easter weekend, you won't want to miss out on this delicious, warm-weather side. This is a smart make-ahead dish because the vegetables can be grilled a few hours prior to assembling the salads. Just be sure to savor every bite—you will certainly be glad you did.
Spinach with Garlic Vinaigrette
Try one of our variations on this basic recipe. Mix with cooked farfalle pasta to make Spinach-Pasta Salad. Try increasing the garlic to three thinly sliced cloves, heat the vinaigrette over medium-high heat and sauté with onion and garlic for two minutes before tossing in fresh spinach to create Wilted Spinach. Another option, microwave 4 (6-ounce) Yukon gold potatoes for 13 minutes or until tender, prepare wilted spinach before dividing among potatoes. Then top each with 1 1/2 tablespoons crumbled feta for Spinach Baked Potatoes.
Haricots Verts and Grape Tomato Salad with Crème Fraîche Dressing
This salad tastes fresh, fresh, fresh, with a hint of tangy creaminess from the crème fraîche that also makes it feel indulgent.
Fresh English Pea Salad with Mint and Pecorino
Healthy doses of bitter arugula, fresh mint, and salty pecorino keep these peas interesting. Fresh green peas have amazing flavor, but if you don't feel like shelling, or the Easter guests are already knocking, you can thaw out some frozen ones.
Melon and Prosciutto Salad with Parmigiano-Reggiano
Salty and unctuous, prosciutto is a classic match for fresh melon, and a topping of Parmigiano-Reggiano (the real stuff is worth it here) adds another layer of savory flavor. Make this salad the centerpiece of an easy antipasto Easter meal. Serve with a platter of olives, roasted peppers, sliced tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and, if you're feeling ambitious, add your favorite grilled or roasted veggies, too.
The mayonnaise-laden (and usually store-bought) version of this slaw is a popular picnic food. Our healthier version uses a lemon-maple vinaigrette and adds juicy pineapple for extra interest to make this recipe fit for your celebration.
Herbed Green and Wax Beans
Adding a bundle of herbs (bouquet garni) to the steaming liquid imparts subtle flavor and aroma to the vegetables.
Eggplant, Zucchini, and Tomato Tian
Fresh summer squash, eggplant, and tomatoes are the stars in this recipe. A crunchy, salty, breadcrumb coating atop layers of eggplant, zucchini, and tomato give the fresh ingredients the ideal complement. An 11 x 7-inch glass or ceramic baking dish works well for this recipe, but if you have a 2-quart tian or gratin dish, all the better.
Shrimp and Bacon Deviled Eggs
Shrimp and bacon elevate these deviled eggs from familiar to fantastic. Party Tip: These can be made up to a day ahead.
Lemon-Scented Broccoli Soufflé
Serve this fluffy side as a perfect foil for your Easter dinner table. The soufflé will fall when it’s taken out of the oven, but its airy texture and fresh citrus aroma will remain long after it has been served.
Green Beans with Bacon
About 15 minutes is all it takes to put together this flavorful―and healthful―dish. It's got all the meaty flavor of bacon and tender crunch of fresh green beans with only 46 calories and 1.11 grams of fat per serving.