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Gluten Free Easter Recipes

The spring holidays (Easter and Passover) mark my favorite time of year. The ground begins to thaw, buds make their way up through the soil and the ground comes alive again. Year after year, my garden is reborn after a deep sleep –signs of transformation abound. As everything in my yard wakes up, a renewed hope and the promise of abundance emerge as well. This lovely time of transformation is the perfect backdrop for Passover and Easter.

Since Easter is in less than a week, I’m selecting some of my favorite spring recipes for you, using fresh, seasonal ingredients such as asparagus, spinach and rosemary to create a delicious, healthy, gluten free Easter menu. This meal plan is for an afternoon Easter dinner; for a more brunchy Easter meal, just add in some muffin and scone recipes and remove the roasted chicken from your menu.

And now for some spring holiday trivia. Figuring the date for Passover is easy for me, as Jewish holidays are “fixed” on the Jewish calendar which is lunar. Many Jewish holidays fall on the full moon (middle of the month) on the Jewish calendar. Therefore, Passover always falls on the same day of the Jewish calendar; the 15th day of the month of Nisan, and Pesach is always on the full moon.

Easter however, can occur two times in one year –one Sunday celebrated by Western churches and one Sunday by Eastern churches. Both churches actually use the same formula for calculating the date on which Easter falls –the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the vernal equinox. However the churches base their dates for Easter on different calendars. Western churches use the Gregorian calendar, the standard calendar for much of the world, and Orthodox churches use the older, Julian calendar.

According to Borgna Brunner, “The two churches vary on the definition of the vernal equinox and the full moon. The Eastern Church sets the date of Easter according to the actual, astronomical full moon and equinox, while the Western church does not use the astronomically correct date for the vernal equinox, but a fixed date (March 21).” For the Eastern church, Easter always falls after Passover. In the Western Church, Easter sometimes precedes Passover by weeks.

So, this Easter thing is pretty complicated to us Jews who follow our lunar calendar. Though in terms of the actual holiday, things are pretty simple; I don’t do any Easter festivities other than buying the boys a few jelly beans from a bin at Whole Foods the week before the holiday. Sometimes we go to a friends house for a little Easter repast, however, more often than not, we forget about it. In fact, one year, I was such a moron, that I accidentally planned (and threw) my son’s birthday on Easter Sunday. Now that’s what I call rude.

What does Easter mean to you? Did you have an awareness of why this holiday falls on a different Sunday each year? Will you be celebrating Easter? If so, how?


posted on April 18, 2011, 25 comments

  1. These are great ideas for a light spring celebration, no matter what it’s for! The poppy seed bunny cookies look wonderful for Easter baskets!

    Thanks!
    Pat

  2. My place, Sunday afternoon. 12 little ones all under 7 years and 9 adults. Wow, it’s gonna be busy and fun. I just started gluten free this month so I’m thankful to your blog/books! I’m gonna try some food out on Sunday and see what everyone thinks. Thanks elana!

  3. Kiran @ KiranTarun.com @ kirantarun.com/blog

    It’s amazing that we are all made up of different backgrounds and cultures. Thanks for sharing lovely glimpse of celebrations. That Easter bunny is so cute :)

  4. I have a very similar view to Easter that our ancestors did (when they called it something else), in the fact that it’s a celebration of the returning of light (the sun) and warmth (spring). It’s an awakening of the earth after a cold, dark winter. I make sure to decorate eggs, as eggs symbolize life, and I LOVE hiding them in nature. It’s the best time, too, because life is renewing all around you!

  5. Darkhorse

    Hi Elana,

    What do you use for gf matzah? Thanks!

  6. Alex

    I’m Jewish, and I consider my 4 year old Jewish. My dad was a lapsed Catholic; my husband goes back and forth between “nothing” and “Christian, if you need to call me anything,” and “Jew-ish”; my MIL, who lives with us, goes to church each Sunday and teaches at a church preschool. Mostly I make Passover happen, but we LOVE LOVE LOVE eggg hunts. I don’t really see anything Christian about them. We do all the local free Easter activities we can fit into our schedule, which is a lot, and then have my husband’s siblings over for an Easter meal and egg hunt. With quarters in a few of the eggs, and the rest empty, due to everyone’s various food restrictions/issues. :)

  7. As always, I so appreciate your recipes!
    We are Orthodox Christians, and so celebrate “Pascha” this coming Sunday. (Incidientally, the word Pascha has the same origins as the word Pesach.) This is for us the biggest celebration of the year, full of lots of serious days as we walk through the last days of the life of Christ, and then a great and joyful celebration that begins at midnight on Saturday and continues on, in some ways, for the following forty days.
    I once observed Passover with about 1000 Israelis in Kathmandu… it was a great experience. But that is a story for another day. :>
    A blessed Pesach to you!

  8. Tai

    Thanks for the recipes Elana! I want to try the bunny cookies, but all of it sounds so fresh, easy and delicious. We are Christians so for us Easter is all about Christ. We do add in an egg hunt for fun, but we don’t get into all the big baskets with all the toys and what not. We try to keep it focused on Jesus. I find the different calendars somewhat amusing. We follow the typical western calendar but really if you think about it Easter should follow Passover!!

  9. Karen

    We get together and enjoy family time. This year one of my students gifted me with tickets to see Wicked…which he purchased without realizing it was Easter. That means we’ll have a late light meal after the three of us ‘girls’ get back from seeing the production. Wonderful people, an entertaining story, delicious food…good times….

    But we will color eggs Thursday night. By ‘we’, I mean the adults. The kids have outgrown it. Sad. But the grown up kids have more fun than I can put into words doing it. :^)

  10. Pamela

    This year, Easter is very late…. So, it actually falls as at the same time as my wedding anniversary. Usualy , we have a big dinner with the family….. We go to worship the resurrection…. then celebrate with a feast. I also enjoy going to a Passover Seder…

  11. AnneKD

    We’re going to see my family, who I haven’t seen since Christmas. Really looking forward to seeing my niece and nephews.

  12. I am inspired! My Mother-in-law and sister-in-law will be in town and I am ready to create wonderful food safe for my kiddos and beautiful to eat. Thanks!

  13. Yaya

    My husband and I celebrate Passover. Our families celebrate Easter – so we celebrate Passover with friends and Easter with families. Let me just say your chocolate chip scones were a BIG hit at our Sedar this year. Thank you, Elana. I appreciate your hard work and am grateful to have found your website and your books. Again, thank you.

  14. Unfortunately they don’t have jelly beans in Paris so I’ll be without my favorite Easter tradition this year! :) Do you have any delicious Passover recipes? Just made your coconut macaroons (in my tiny parisian kitchen mind you!) Love your site and recipes (your coconut cupcakes actually changed my life :) Merci beaucoup! Best from Paris, Rebecca

  15. Do you have any delicious Passover recipes? Just made your coconut macaroons (in my tiny parisian kitchen mind you!) Love your site and recipes (your coconut cupcakes actually changed my life :) Merci beaucoup! Unfortunately they don’t have jelly beans in Paris so I’ll be without my favorite Easter tradition this year! :) Best from Paris, Rebecca

  16. Amanda

    We are Christian and I love the Easter season. We are very busy with all of Holy Week (Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Easter brunch, Easter church services and the annual baptisms at our church). But I love Easter not just for the spiritual reasons, but also for the family and the food! This year I will be making hard boiled eggs dyed with natural dyes, and probably a gf dessert to take to Easter dinner for my gluten intolerant cousin and picky aunt :)

  17. A Roman Catholics my family and I are busy with Holy Week and we will be at church for Good Friday, Holy Saturday (maybe) and then on Saturday night, after nightfall (like in Judaism, the beginning of the following day) we will attend the Easter Vigil Mass. We will get home late at night and have the entire Easter Sunday to relax, cook and eat. I will make something with meat this Easter because we gave up all meat for Lent (except for fish) and I’m really craving some beef. Forget jelly beans- I want a burger!!!!

    Your scones sound perfect for breakfast on Easter Sunday with some fresh fruit.

    Have a very happy and blessed Passover week. I have attended several Seders in the past and I find them very moving (plus I actually like the Seder food and the Manischewitz wine!).

  18. Jen @ keepitsimplefoods @ keepitsimplefoods.com

    These are so fun and playful! Thanks fo sharing. Especially love those crackers! :)

  19. Heidi Henzel

    just getting to your site. good job. why the use of agave nectar…fructose and really bad (unhealthy). will appreciate comment. thanks.

  20. cami

    these look delicious! i would love to see a “hot cross bun” recipe made with almond flour. thanks for sharing all your wonderful recipes!!!

  21. CC

    My daughter sent me your new book. I’ve read it from front to back. It’s wonderful! I have your first book and use it constantly. Thank you for your delicious recipes!
    CC in Dallas

  22. Karen

    I made the fruit salad, Roasted Chicken with Olives and Prunes,
    Asparagus Basil Salad, Spinach Cake, for Mother’s Day dinner yesterday for my parents and in-laws. It was all wonderful.

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