By Greg Dunne
April 12th, 2022 (Alpine) -- What are the best veggies For Easter dinner? Well, that of course is a personal preference, but here are some of the more traditional vegetables for the Easter menu. Asparagus tops the list and a few more are green beans, yams, potatoes, carrots, and Brussel sprouts. Here are some great vegetable recipes for your Easter dinner, see below.
Asparagus is great vegetable to go with Easter dinner. I love asparagus and cooked by my wife Dianne; it doesn’t get any better. Asparagus is perishable, so try to buy it close to when you’re going to use it. When picking out asparagus look for solid green tops that are still tight. Also, look at the bottom of the stems to make sure they are solid and not wrinkled or shriveled up in any way. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to use and if you do have it for a while before you use, cut a small portion off the bottom stems, and put in water, it will drink it up and keep it fresh.
Green beans and Brussel sprouts are another couple favorites of mine. Come to think of it, I love all vegetables! Again, try to pick a day or two before using so the freshness and flavor is still at a peak. When selecting green beans, avoid the lighter color and slightly larger ones, since they can be dryer and less flavorful. Avoid any with “rust” marks and discoloration to them. Fresh green beans should have a good snap and smooth skin to them. Brussel sprouts should be tight firm heads and no spotting or soiled spots on them.
Asparagus is a distant cousin of the onion. It originated in the eastern Mediterranean countries and traces of wild varieties have been discovered in Africa. Archaeologists believe that it was also cultivated in Egypt. In ancient Greece, Greeks were interested in its biological and pharmaceutical qualities. If that doesn’t get you excited about asparagus, I don’t know what does! And a recipe for cooking asparagus is given in one of the oldest surviving collections of recipes (Apicius’s 1st century AD De re coquinaria, Book III).
Vegetables aren’t always the most exciting foods that come to our minds when thinking of dinner, but they can be some of the best nutrition wise. Here are a couple of recipes from my wife Dianne, the best cook I know! With a little help from the chef, vegetables can be delicious.
Asparagus, Brussel Sprouts & French Green Beans with Citrus Butter Sauce
2 Tbsps. Olive Oil
3 Cups asparagus, ends trimmed and stalks cut into 2-inch pieces
3 Cups Brussel sprouts, bottoms trimmed and quartered
3 Cups French green beans
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup chicken stock
¼ cup salted butter
Juice and zest of one lemon
1.2 tsp. sea salt
¼ tsp. fresh ground pepper
½ cup chopped Italian parsley
- Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add prepared vegetables and sauté for three to five minutes, tossing frequently.
- Add garlic and continue to toss vegetables while still crisp, about two minutes. Add stock, butter and lemon juice and salute for two to three minutes until vegetable are just tender.
- Remove pan from heat. Fold in lemon zest, salt, pepper, and parsley. Serve hot.
NOTE: Smaller sized stalks of asparagus will cook faster than the other vegetables.
If using smaller stalks sauté Brussel sprouts and beans about two minutes before adding the asparagus to the pan.
Roasted Spring Vegetables
2 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced not 1-inch pieces
1/2 lb. medium asparagus, ends trimmed and halved
5-6 radishes, ends trimmed and halved
2 large parsnips, peeled and sliced into 1-inch pieces
2 tbsps fresh garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsps olive oil
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp ground black pepper (or to taste)
- Preheat oven to 400ºF.
- In a large mixing bowl add potatoes, carrots, asparagus, radishes, parsnips and garlic. Drizzle with olive oil, add season with remainder of ingredients. Toss to combine until well coated.
- Arrange the vegetable mixture in a single layer on a large baking sheet.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes until tender and golden brown. Gently shake the pan halfway through baking to redistribute to ensure even cooking.
Note: I have only made this recipe once and my husband loved it. I plan to add about 1 tbsp honey with the seasoning next time I make it to enhance the other flavors. Roasted vegetable can be store in an airtight container in your refrigerator up to four days.
Growing up, a staple on the family buffet was always my Aunt Barbara’s canned yams topped and baked with marshmallows. The baked yams were not always my first choice as a side dish, but I would always take a portion for the melted sweetness on top.
If you are baking fresh yams as part of your Easter meal, try adding some roughly chopped apples and a handful of nuts. I prefer sliced almonds, but pecans or walnuts are also a good choice. Tossed together with a little melted butter, brown sugar, and spices (such as cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves) makes this a delicious side dish. Other flavorful options to include are raisins, dried cranberries, and fresh or dried pineapple.