Forget the giant ham. Easter brunch is easier than you think.

🕐 5 min read

Easter may be the only holiday that always falls on a Sunday and requires not only a church service before the holiday meal is served but also hiding eggs, helping children hunt eggs, managing said sugared-up children during a church service, and – at least one adult person has to dress as a giant rabbit. This is the kind of morning that can work up a big appetite. Adding insult to injury, we are expected to march into the kitchen in our Sunday best afterwards and produce a meal fit for a holiday where we actually had time to cook. 

This is one tradition that can change, and for the better. Easter brunch can be a light, fresh affair made mostly the night before. No longer must we suffer baking a giant ham and green bean casserole — the options for an easier meal are endless.

The absolute easiest way to make a decadent Easter meal is a frittata. This one with broccoli and pancetta is a favorite at my house and is one way to incorporate ham in a lighter way.

Ingredients (serves five):

  • 5 eggs
  • One onion, chopped
  • About a cup of broccoli florets, chopped
  • One 4 oz package of diced pancetta
  • Three tablespoons of grass fed butter
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Two cloves of garlic or a half teaspoon of garlic powder
  • About 1/4-1/2 cup goat cheese crumbles (optional)
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Directions:
Melt the butter in the pan, then sauté the onion until it is soft. Add the pancetta, then the broccoli, and cook about three minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and let it cook for about a minute. Whisk the eggs with the salt and pepper, and pour the mixture over the veggies in the pan. Allow the pan to sit on medium heat for about 90 seconds, then add the cheese evenly on top. Place the whole pan in the oven (preheated to 350) for ten minutes. Allow it to cool for about five minutes before serving. To serve a larger crowd, double the recipe and cook it in a 9 x 13 Pyrex.

A favorite recipe site, The Kitchn, has an array of breakfast casseroles perfect for the occasion, most of which can be prepped the night before and popped into the oven minutes before lunch begins. Head to TheKitchn.com and search “Easter Brunch Breakfast Casseroles” for a list.

A garden-fresh salad with a citrus vinaigrette is a must for an Easter table. If you’ve skipped the egg casserole for one of the sweeter varieties, a boiled egg makes the perfect addition (bonus points if you can convince the sugar-rushed kids that the Easter bunny wants them to eat it). This citrus dressing is easy, tangy, spicy, and sweet, and goes on any salad.

Ingredients (to dress and top two salads, double or triple for a crowd)

  • One blood orange, peeled and diced
  • Two tablespoons avocado oil
  • Two tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • One jalapeño, seeds removed and diced
  • One tablespoon honey
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Add all ingredients to a bowl and stir to combine. Allow to sit for a few minutes to let the flavors mingle. Drizzle the juice over your salad and top it with the orange and pepper mixture.

Even though you’ve probably already ingested close to six pounds of chocolate eggs at this point, it’s a holiday and there has to be dessert.

Mini chocolate pies are super easy, can be made the night before, and are a favorite of kids and adults alike. It’s not really a “recipe”… it’s just a pie crust divided into twelve rounds, smushed into a muffin tin and baked, chocolate pudding poured inside, whipped cream and a Cadbury mini egg on top. There is a how-to-video (filmed partially by a seven-year-old) on my Instagram @ModernHippieKitchen, in the “video” section.

Of course there’s always the Black Forest Cake from the Swiss Pastry Shop. The original is preferred, and, easiest of course, but if you don’t place your order in time (they do run out) the food blog, A Taste of Home details how to make your own. Visit tasteofhome.com to find the recipe.

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And then there is the brunch cocktail. Brunch cocktails could be a column on their own. Day-booze is a rare luxury, but it’s an Easter must (see “easter egg hunt” in Webster’s dictionary). The two usual go-tos are the bloody mary and the not-so-humble mimosa. Almost everyone knows mimosas can be jazzed up and made fancier by switching out the orange juice for grapefruit juice, adding a sugar rim, or floating some berries in the glass. But the best bloody mary for spring may surprise you – it’s not a bloody mary at all, it’s a “Bunny Mary,” an Easter version made with carrot juice, hot sauce, and a parsley garnish. Liquor.com has has a classic recipe that can be multiplied and made for a crowd.

If you try out any of these recipes or ideas, take a photo and tag us on Instagram @ModernHippieKitchen and @FWBusinessPress. We want to see what your Easter table looks like!

Sarah McClellan-Brandt
Sarah McClellan-Brandt first wrote for the Business Press in 2003-2006 as her first job out of TCU, and it only took her a decade and a half to figure out that food writing might be her calling. She created the recipe blog Modern Hippie Kitchen in 2020 for the same reason many new food bloggers did – to quell pandemic boredom and share the cooking lessons she’d been teaching herself and learning from poring over dozens of cookbooks.

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