When asked “what is your favorite holiday” most people would say Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Halloween. While I love these holidays as much as the next person with the time with family, incredible food, and indulgent treats. Nothing, and I mean nothing, in my book is better than Easter.
If I look at it from a bigger perspective, it is not a grand, extravagant day, it is simple, and that’s why I love it so much. Ever since my first year of college, I have realized how special and important this holiday really is too me. I grew up in the Lutheran church, with relatively traditional services, and because of that I grew up to have an undying love of choral music. Our church, especially when I was younger had a large robed choir, and I learned to love the sound of many. To me there is something magical about it, it’s like you are being transcended into the heavens. And on Easter Sunday that choir grew, as everybody from the congregation who used to be in the church choir is invited up to sing the hallelujah chorus. Every year my dad would go up there and sing with what seemed like hundreds of people, and the church was filled with the music of angels. I always thought my dad was a rock star, and oh how that song gave me the biggest sense of feeling at peace and feeling like I was home.
To this day any time I hear traditional choral music I begin to tear up, because it reminds me of going to church with my family, dressing up in the ridiculously pastel dresses my mom made for my sister and I, goofing off with my sister during the service to try and make each other laugh while my mom told us to knock it off, and watching my dad be a rock star in the choir. Easter is a day of renewal, a celebration of life, to be with the ones that you love, sing beautiful songs, hopefully enjoy some sunshine, then go home to a wonderful spread of food for brunch.
I think another reason I love Easter so much is because, it has (at least for us) way less pressure put on it to pull off the “perfect meal.” While I love Christmas and Thanksgiving, it has always felt more like a job pulling off those extravagant meals rather than a holiday. Easter always feels natural, easy, and enjoyable. Maybe because our main food celebration takes place during brunch time, when it’s hard to be stressed out. Maybe it’s because it’s sunny, or maybe it’s because the food tends to be simpler.
Being right at the early part of spring Easter gives us the wonderful opportunity to use gorgeous seasonal produce, and lighter style dishes. And while most people showcase a small amount of this seasonal bounty, alongside a massive roast, or a plethora of eggs, I wanted to give these plant foods the stage they deserve.
I was inspired to make a cooked dish with radishes, because it is one of my dad’s favorite vegetables. Originally, I was going to make a hash, but I felt that these non-starchy vegetables held well on their own. People either love or hate radishes, because raw they have a very strong peppery bite, but when you throw these beauties in an oven, the harshness dissipates, and you are left with a rather delicious and non-threatening red orb. With the radishes I added carrots, English peas, leeks, asparagus, and some fragrant thyme. Finished with a splash of lemon juice, this dish is light, colorful, full of flavor and a perfect addition to your Easter brunch spread.
You can serve it along with roasted new potatoes, and Ultimate Tofu Scramble. You can even get good toasted crusty bread spread with some almond ricotta and put the spring vegetables on top for a delicious and vibrant savory toast. Pull it all together with some mimosas and you’ve got yourself a beautiful Easter brunch.
Whatever you choose to serve this Easter, I hope you are surrounded by family and friends, beautiful music, sunshine, and a much-needed sense of calm and renewal.
Roasted Radish & Spring Vegetables with Lemon & Thyme
Bright and vibrant spring vegetables pulled together with creamy avocados, sweet applesauce, and tangy lemon. Perfect for any brunch spread.
- 4 large carrots peeled & chopped (similar size to halved radishes)
- 3 bunches radishes washed,tops removed, and cut in half
- 2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
- 1 leek washed and thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 20 asparagus spears chopped
- 2 c. fresh English peas
- 2 tsp fresh thyme chopped
- 1 lemon juiced
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 avocado (optional)
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
In a bowl toss the radishes and carrots with the applesauce and a pinch of salt. Mix until the vegetables are well coated in the sauce. Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and spread out evenly. Roast the vegetables for 20 minutes, making sure to shake or agitate them halfway through. Set aside, when done. *
In a large sauté pan, add the sliced leeks and minced garlic with 1/4 c. water. Bring over medium high heat and stir until the leeks begin to look soft, about 3-4 minutes. If the pan starts to get dry just add more water.
Add the roasted vegetables to the pan and stir to coat with the leek mixture. Add in the asparagus, English peas and thyme and stir to combine. Add a splash of water if the pan is dry then cover the pan so the green veggies can steam a little, about 1 minute. Stir again, and cover for another minute or so until the asparagus and peas are tender and bright green.
Remove from the heat and add in the fresh lemon juice, mix to combine. Finish with salt and black pepper to taste. Place into a serving dish and add in chopped avocado. This is optional, but it adds a beautiful creaminess to the bright and tender vegetables.
*The roasting of the radish and carrots can be done ahead of time.
* To make this a more satisfying meal, add in your favorite roasted potatoes with some grainy mustard for a breakfast hash!