Just a few ingredients and common kitchen tools will do the trick.

By Julia Heffelfinger
Updated May 28, 2020
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John Kernick / Sur La Table

We’re all celebrating Easter a little differently this year. Whether it’s a small gathering with the people in your home or you’re having a virtual feast and toasting with your friends and loved ones from afar, this is still a perfect time to cook up something showstopping. In these changing times, we’re turning to recipes with less, but impactful, ingredients that make use of staples we already have on hand.

We find that if we have flour, butter, eggs, pasta, good bread, dried beans, garlic and a quality olive oil on hand, that we can make just about anything (with a few fresh, peak-season ingredients mixed in for good measure). Here, the recipes - and tools - we’re leaning on for our Easter feast.

1. Boursin Omelet

Victor Protasio / Food52

A classic French omelet is a great recipe to have in your repertoire: It’s impressive enough for your Easter brunch, but also something you can serve with a simple green salad for dinner any day of the week. This version is made even better with the addition of melty boursin cheese and sweet onion. If you haven’t upgraded your nonstick skillet in awhile, now is the time. It will make all the difference in the final result.

What you’ll need: Food52 x GreenPan Nonstick Skillet (Set of 2), $92 from food52.com; GIR Silicone Spatula, $13 at target.com

Get the recipe: Boursin Omelet

2. Buttermilk Biscuits

Crate and Barrel / Eva Kolenko

Buttermilk adds a cultured tang to these delicate, flaky biscuits. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can make your own by adding fresh lemon juice or distilled white vinegar to whole milk, 2% milk or heavy cream. Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes until it thickens slightly. We find 1 tablespoon of acid to 1 cup of milk does the trick. Also, don’t worry if you don’t have sorghum syrup - we also like to sub in a spoonful of molasses, honey or maple syrup. Pro tip: Make your dough in advance, then cut out the biscuits and refrigerate them on the rimmed baking sheet. Pop the whole thing in the oven when you’re close to eating.

What you’ll need: Nordic Ware Half and Full Sheet Pans, $24 (usually $30) from crateandbarrel.com; Biscuit Cutters (Set of 6), $8 from crateandbarrel.com 

3. Leek and Spinach Pasta

Quentin Bacon / Crate and Barrel

This simple spring pasta is an excellent vegetarian option for Easter dinner. It’s also incredibly versatile. Don’t have leeks? Swap in yellow onion or shallot. No fresh spinach? Try frozen, or use any sturdy winter greens you have on hand like kale or Swiss chard. The most important thing to remember about this pasta is to slightly undercook your noodles so that they don’t overcook when you toss them in to cook with the cream sauce. We like a larger 12-inch skillet for a job like this.

What you’ll need: All-Clad 12-inch Stainless Steel Fry Pan with Lid, $129 from bedbathandbeyond.com or crateandbarrel.com

4. Spring Toasts

Crate and Barrel / Eva Kolenko

While some pantry staples can be hard to find these days, the produce section of our local stores are surprisingly well-stocked. The most laborious part about these spring toasts is blanching and peeling the fava beans, but beyond that they are perfect in their simplicity. If you can’t find fresh fava beans, check your freezer aisle for frozen shelled favas or edamame.

What you’ll need: Mateo Small Acacia Board, $40 from crateandbarrel.com

Get the recipe: Ricotta-Fava Toasts

5. Grand Aioli

Con Poulos / Sur La Table

If your “meals” these days are more like a series of snacks, then make the ultimate grazing platter: A French grand aioli. When paired with a saffron-tinted aioli, this is an elegant way to use up leftover vegetables in your fridge, steamed potatoes, or that bag of shrimp in your freezer. A food processor or a handheld immersion blender makes quick-work of the garlicky sauce.

What You’ll Need: Cuisinart Smart Stick Hand Blender, $40 (usually $70) from surlatable.com

Get the recipe: Saffron Grand Aioli

6. Pavlova

KitchenAid / Con Poulos

Easter is the perfect time to dust off the grill. This year, instead of grilling lamb, grill your dessert! If you have egg whites sitting in your fridge (say, from some homemade aioli?), it’s also a great time to make a pillowy pavlova. This one is topped with a mix of fresh and grilled berries, which are cooked in a foil packet creating a beyond-easy sauce.

What You’ll Need: Artisan Series 5 Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer, $280 (usually $380) from kitchenaid.com

7. Artichoke Salad

John Kernick / Bed Bath & Beyond

This rustic spring salad is all about the raw artichokes. While you can slice them by hand, we like to use a mandoline to get those paper-thin slices. Until you’re ready to toss the salad, store the sliced artichokes in a bowl of ice water with a squeeze of lemon juice so that they don’t discolor.

What You’ll Need: Benriner Mandoline Slicer, $40 from bedbathandbeyond.com

Get the recipe: Shaved Artichoke Salad

8. Polenta Dutch Baby

Smithey / Gregory DuPree

Uncooked polenta is an exceptional pantry staple to have on hand. Turn it into a thick, creamy porridge and top with sautéd vegetables, crumbled sausage, a poached egg, kimchi, fresh herbs - the possibilities are endless. Here, it’s turned into a rich and savory Dutch Baby pancake big enough to feed 4 people. This recipe calls for ingredients that are likely already in your cupboard and fridge, but you can also make it a complete meal with the arugula and grape salad with Champagne vinaigrette. Smithey offers some of the best cast iron skillets on the market.

What You’ll Need: No. 10 Cast Iron Chef Skillet, $140 from smithey.com

9. Zucchini Bread 

John Kernick / Sur La Table

Instead of going through the effort to make a carrot cake, try this not-too-sweet quick bread. Shredded carrot and zucchini keep it extra-moist, while the toasted coconut adds a bit of tropical flair. Serve alongside your Easter brunch, then the next day toast any leftovers and spread with cream cheese or salted butter.

What You’ll Need: One Pound Loaf Pan, $15 from surlatable.com

10. Glazed Ham

Food52 / Con Poulos

If you’re still planning on a whole Easter ham (we do love leftovers), try this DIY sweet-and-spicy glaze on this year’s roast. Chef Akasha Richmond doctors up store-bought pepper jelly with bottled pomegranate juice, mustard and a few aromatic spices. It’s simple and so much better than what comes in the sugary plastic pouches with your ham. Psst! Interested in ordering something really special this year? Check out our Holiday Ham Buying Guide.

What You’ll Need: Handmade Crinkle Edge Platter, Starting at $105 from food52.com