Vegetarian Easter Feast

Normally, the vegetable dishes at an Easter feast are the sidelights. Make them the main attraction in your vegetarian Easter meal with these recipe ideas.

1. Braided Greek Easter Bread (makes 2 loaves).

Ingredients:

  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 9 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 8 tablespoons melted, cooled butter
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 hardboiled eggs, dyed red
  • 2 tablespoons black cumin seeds or poppy seeds
  • 2 cups warm milk

Stir yeast and warm milk together in a large bowl until yeast is dissolved. Add 1 cup flour and 1 1/2 cup sugar, stir, cover, and set aside for 1 hour. Then, stir in 1/2 cup water and add the butter and 5 eggs. Stir thoroughly. Combine the remaining 8 cups of flour and salt, and sift into the dough. Add the zests, working them in with a wooden spoon.

Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, adding flour as needed. Then let dough rise in a covered, oiled bowl until doubled in bulk (about 2 hours). Then, divide dough into 6 parts of uniform size and roll into ropes about 15 inches long.

Braid 3 strips together, turning the ends under when finished. Repeat with the other 3 strips. At the end of each braid, press one of the dyed eggs. Lay braids on a greased cookie sheet, cover, and let rise again for about an hour. Brush each loaf with beaten egg and sprinkle with cumin or poppy seeds. Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes.

2. Meatless Meatballs

Serve these tangy, savory vegetarian “meat”-balls in the middle of your meal as a main course.

Mix the following in a bowl:

  • 3/4 cup ground walnuts
  • 1 1/4 cup crushed soda crackers
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups grated cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, or Monterey Jack)
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley flakes, or 1 1/2 tablespoons dried
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

Form into 1″ balls and place in a single layer in a baking dish.

Sauce

In a saucepan, combine:

  • 3/4 cup apricot jam
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup oil (such as safflower, canola or olive)
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons grated onion
  • 2 tablespoons oregano
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

Bring to a boil and pour over “meat”-balls. Bake at 350 for 1/2 hour.

3. Beans and Greens

Your meal has to have something green! Here is a recipe for greens that is nutritious and quick.

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 bunches of greens such as kale, chard, and/or turnip greens
  • 2 bunches of broccolini
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 15-ounce can of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Prepare greens by removing the stems and tearing into pieces. Trim the florets from the broccolini. Heat oil in a large skillet and add the garlic. Sautè for a minute or so, then add the greens, broccolini and red pepper flakes. Add salt to taste, then remove mixture from the skillet and keep warm.

Add some more olive oil to the skillet and sautè the tomatoes about 5 minutes, or until the skins brown and split. Stir in the beans and heat through. Serve the bean mixture over the greens, topping with the cheese.