Healthy and delicious, these gluten-free holiday recipes celebrate renewal.
Easter traditions around the globe embrace important religious themes and secular activities. Although the date changes each year, Easter Sunday always occurs as springtime is getting underway, a reminder of the holiday’s core emphasis on renewal and rebirth.
In many American homes, families and friends gather together to celebrate the holiday, sharing favorite Easter customs and enjoying a memorable meal. Easter dinner traditionally features lamb, hard-boiled eggs and an assortment of wonderful dishes and desserts using fresh seasonal fare.
This gluten-free, allergy-friendly Easter menu includes delectable recipes from loved ones in my extended and blended family. Made with clean, wholesome ingredients, these recipes truly nourish and renew the body, providing nutrients that help restore and maintain health.
Enjoy these Easter dishes from across the world—from my family to yours.
Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms
Artichokes, a springtime vegetable that’s available frozen and canned year round, is beneficial for healthy digestion and liver function. These two-bite appetizers are an excellent way to start a meal. Perfect for get-togethers, they can be assembled a day ahead and baked just before serving.
12 large (2-2½ inches) white crimini mushrooms or baby bella mushrooms
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided, more for brushing
1 small shallot, minced
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1 (7-ounce) jar artichoke hearts, not marinated, chopped
½ teaspoon sea salt, divided
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon dried sage
1 tablespoon cream or unsweetened coconut cream
¼ cup gluten-free panko breadcrumbs
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
1. Heat oven to 400°F. Line a 9×13-inch baking dish or jellyroll pan with parchment paper.
2. Remove stems from mushrooms; brush caps inside and out with olive oil.
3. In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté shallots and spinach in 2 tablespoons olive oil until shallots are softened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
4. Add chopped artichokes, ¼ teaspoon salt, thyme, sage and coconut cream and mix well.
5. In a separate small bowl, combine remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil with gluten-free panko crumbs, remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper.
6. Using a spoon, fill mushroom caps with artichoke and spinach mixture, packing filling tightly. Sprinkle panko crumbs over tops of mushrooms.
7. Place mushrooms on prepared pan in preheated oven and bake 18 to 20 minutes until panko crumbs are lightly browned. Serve warm.
Each serving (2 mushrooms) contains 117calories, 8g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 2mg cholesterol, 245mg sodium, 11g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 1g sugars, 3g protein, 5 Est GL.
Raw Asparagus and Carrot Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
SERVES 4 TO 6
This salad explodes with colorful spring vegetables. Raw vegetables contain natural digestive enzymes to ensure greater nutritional benefits.
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (½-1 lemon)
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon tarragon
1 bunch asparagus (about 1 pound, not pencil thin), sliced very thin on diagonal
2 large carrots, shredded (about 1 cup)
4-5 radishes, sliced thin
¼ cup raisins or chopped dates
½ cup sunflower seeds, roasted and salted
-Sea salt and pepper, to taste
1. To make lemon vinaigrette, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil and tarragon in a large bowl.
2. Add sliced asparagus, shredded carrots, sliced radishes and raisins, tossing to coat.
3. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds. Taste and add salt and pepper, to taste.
Each serving contains 176 calories, 13g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 21mg sodium, 14g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 7g sugars, 5g protein, 5 Est GL.
Brown Rice Couscous with Peas
SERVES 4 TO 6
We thank Lundberg Family Farm for introducing brown rice couscous! This beautiful and easy side dish can also be made with quinoa. For a grain-free side, substitute shredded cauliflower in place of the couscous.
1 (10-ounce) box Lundberg organic roasted brown rice couscous
3 cups low-salt gluten-free broth (chicken or vegetable)
1 shallot, minced
1 cup fresh or frozen peas (no need to thaw)
½ teaspoon dried thyme
-Zest of 1 orange
¼ cup fresh orange juice
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
1. In a medium saucepan, combine rice couscous, broth, shallot, peas and thyme. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook 9 minutes. (Do not lift cover.)
2. Remove saucepan from heat. Keep covered and let stand 10 minutes.
3. Fluff couscous with a fork. Stir in orange zest, orange juice and fresh parsley. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve immediately.
Each serving contains 195 calories, 2g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 40mg sodium, 43g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 3g sugars, 6g protein, 26 Est GL.
Deviled Eggs with Beet Horseradish Relish
Use this recipe as a base to add your own favorite ingredients. For exotic flavor, replace the sea salt with truffle salt. For a sweet version, add 1 teaspoon sweet pickle relish to the mashed yolks. If dairy is tolerated, reduce the mayo by 2 tablespoons and add 2 tablespoons grated pimento cheese.
8 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
¼ cup mayonnaise of choice
½ teaspoon dried ground mustard
½ teaspoon sea salt
-Pinch cayenne pepper
-Paprika, for garnish
-Parsley, for garnish
-Beet Horseradish Relish, optional
1. Cut hard-boiled eggs in half lengthwise. Scoop out yolks and mash them in a medium bowl. Add mayonnaise, mustard, sea salt and cayenne and mix together until ingredients are completely combined and smooth. (For a finely puréed mixture, use an immersion blender or hand mixer.)
2. Mound yolk mixture into the center of each egg white.
3. Garnish each with a sprinkle of paprika and a parsley sprig. Cover and refrigerate until served. Serve with Beet Horseradish Relish, if desired.
Each piece contains 50 calories, 4g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 107mg cholesterol, 134mg sodium, 1g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 0g sugars, 3g protein, 0 Est GL.
TIP For more professional- looking deviled eggs, place pureed filling into a quart-size plastic bag. Cut off a ¼-inch corner of the bag and pipe the filling decoratively into each egg white.
Faux Deviled Eggs with Curried Carrot Filling
If you’re avoiding eggs, you can safely enjoy this look-alike treat. Savory turnip halves filled with sweet curry filling are the perfect alternative to deviled eggs.
4 medium turnips
1½ cups sliced carrots (3 medium-large)
½ teaspoon sweet curry powder
¼ teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut cream*
1. Peel turnips and steam until tender, about 10 minutes. (Don’t boil the turnips; they will hold water and become soggy.) Set aside and let cool.
2. When turnips are cool, slice them in half. Using a melon baller, scoop out a spoonful of turnip from the center of each turnip half so that it looks like a hard-boiled egg without the yolk.
3. Meanwhile, steam carrots until tender, about 10 minutes. Puree carrots with sweet curry powder, sea salt and coconut cream until smooth.
4. Fill turnip halves with curried carrot filling and serve.
Each piece contains 30 calories, 1g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 130mg sodium, 7g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 4g sugars, 1g protein, 2 Est GL.
Beet Horseradish Relish
MAKES 1½ CUPS
My brother’s wife is from Poland. She remembers her mother’s tears while grating fresh horseradish root to make Cwikla, the beet-horseradish condiment served with hard-boiled eggs and roasted meat. This delicious relish is now a part of my holiday tradition. It can be made up to 1 week in advance and refrigerated until served.
¼ cup freshly grated horseradish or 3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
2 tablespoons white vinegar, rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon honey or sugar
1 pound beets (3 medium), cooked, peeled and shredded or finely chopped
¼-1 teaspoon sea salt*
1. Mix all ingredients in a large glass bowl.
Each tablespoon contains 11 calories, 0g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 39mg sodium, 2g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 2g sugars, 0g protein, 1 Est GL.
Yogurt Marinated Lamb Roast with Fresh Mint Sauce
If possible, choose a sustainably raised, grass-fed lamb. It’s lower in calories, higher in omega 3 fatty acids and richer in antioxidants than conventionally farmed lamb. To locate local farms in your area, check out localharvest.org or eatwild.com. If using a bone-in leg of lamb, allow ¾ to 1 pound of meat per serving.
1 (4-pound) boneless leg of lamb
3-4 garlic cloves, sliced into slivers
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup plain Greek-style yogurt of choice
-Zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1. Remove lamb from packaging and pat dry with a paper towel. Using a small paring knife, puncture meat on all sides. Slide garlic slivers into the puncture cuts. Rub meat with sea salt and pepper.
2. In a medium bowl, combine yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice and rosemary, mixing well.
3. Place lamb in a gallon-size plastic bag and add yogurt marinade, half on each side. Close bag and massage so that the meat is thoroughly covered. Place bag in the refrigerator to marinate 4 hours or overnight. Remove lamb from refrigerator an hour before roasting.
4. Preheat oven to 325°F. Remove excess marinade from lamb and put meat on a rack over a roasting pan.
5. Place meat in preheated oven and roast about 20 minutes per pound (longer for bone-in) for medium doneness.
6. Halfway through cooking, check the internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer. Medium-rare: 145°F; medium: 160°F; well done: 170°F. Let the roast rest 15 minutes before carving.
Each serving contains 208 calories, 8g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 92mg cholesterol, 139mg sodium, 1g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 0g sugars, 30g protein, 0 Est GL
Fresh Mint Sauce
MAKES ¾ CUP
Fresh mint sauce is a healthy alternative to store-bought mint jelly that contains corn and is mostly sugar and apple juice. The flavor is beyond compare. My British relatives use this delicious condiment to bring out the best in roasted lamb.
4 cups fresh mint leaves, packed
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar
2 tablespoons honey, more if needed
3 tablespoons water
1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process into a puree.
2. Taste and adjust sweetness, adding more honey as desired. Pass mint sauce separately to serve with lamb.
Each tablespoon contains 16 calories, 0g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 3mg sodium, 4g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 3g sugars, 0g protein, 2 Est GL.
TIP A roast will continue to cook after it’s removed from the oven; its internal temperature will increase an additional 5°F to 10°F.
Pavlova with Strawberry Frozen Yogurt
MAKES 12 PAVLOVA
When I traveled to Australia in 2002, I was concerned about safely eating gluten-free in another country. At the first restaurant, my server asked if I wanted dessert. I explained that I was gluten-free and she brought me a beautiful meringue-like Pavlova, filled with local fresh fruit. That dessert is recreated here with honey in place of the usual sugar. You can make 12 3 to 4-inch Pavlovas or two larger ones (9 inches) that can be cut into individual servings. Top with Strawberry Frozen Yogurt and fresh berries or serve with your favorite fruit. Pavlovas can be made a day ahead; store in an airtight container until served. The eggs cannot be replaced in this recipe.
5 large eggs, room temperature
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder, sifted
¼ cup honey, ⅓ cup sugar or ⅓ cup Lakanto
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
-Strawberry Frozen Yogurt, for topping
-Fresh berries, for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 225°F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Draw circles to the desired size of your Pavlova (3 to 4 inches in diameter for 12, 9 inches for 2). Turn parchment over so your drawings are on the back side of paper (though still visible).
2. Separate eggs, reserving yolks for another use. Beat egg whites with a mixer on lowest setting until frothy. Add cream of tartar and arrowroot and increase mixer to medium speed until soft peaks form.
3. With the mixer going, add honey. Increase to high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form. Beat in vinegar and vanilla.
4. Using a spoon and spatula, mound the batter within your drawn circles, leaving a slight depression in each center.
5. Place in preheated oven and bake 1 hour 15 minutes, rotating and turning the cookie sheets from top to bottom shelf and front to back halfway through baking. Turn heat off. Leave the oven door closed and let Pavlovas cool in the oven.
6. Remove from oven when cool. Immediately before serving, spread with Strawberry Frozen Yogurt and top with sliced fresh berries.
Each Pavlova with frozen yogurt contains 111 calories, 2g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 89mg cholesterol, 42mg sodium, 18g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 15g sugars, 6g protein, 11 Est GL.
Strawberry Frozen Yogurt
This delicious, creamy dessert is fast, easy and free of problem ingredients. Use it to top Pavlova or enjoy it as a refreshing stand-alone dessert. For an elegant presentation, serve it in individual crystal parfait glasses topped with thin slices of fresh strawberries.
2 (6-ounce) containers plain yogurt of choice
2 (10-ounce) bags frozen, unsweetened strawberries, preferably organic
2 tablespoons honey, optional
1. Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor and process until fruit is pureed and mixture is thick. (Consistency will be similar to soft-serve ice cream.)
2. Serve immediately or freeze in a tightly covered container. If frozen, remove from the freezer and let sit on the counter 20 minutes before serving.
Each serving contains 49 calories, 0g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 1mg cholesterol, 19mg sodium, 8g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 5g sugars, 5g protein, 3 Est GL.
TIP When Pavlova is made with honey, it browns more in the oven than when made with white sugar.
What is Lakanto?
Lakanto, Japanese for “sweet fruit,” is the brand name of a zero-calorie sweetener made with monk fruit (luo han guo) and non-GMO erythritol. Monk fruit is a plant cultivated in the Far East for its sweetness; it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Erythritol is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol made from fermented glucose.
Produced by a Japanese company, Lakanto tastes and acts like sugar in cooked and uncooked recipes. It is a sweet alternative to table sugar for individuals needing to reduce their sugar or calorie intake.
Sueson Vess (specialeats.com) is a professional chef and food coach. She is author of Special Eats: Simple, Delicious Solutions for Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Cooking, available at GlutenFreeAndMore.com.