For centuries, and still today, Easter food traditions, such as rich, tender spring lamb and cured or smoked ham, marked the end of a Lenten fast — 40 days before Easter, when people ate smaller and lighter meat-free meals.

Traditions from pre-Christianity, which celebrated the spring equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, found their way into Easter holiday celebrations, and spring flowers, decorated eggs, and bounding bunnies came to symbolize the joy, warmth, and renewal of the Easter season.

Here, we offer dishes with spring’s bounty of fresh fruitsvegetables, and sweet selections for gathering with loved ones over a joyful Easter brunch. From easy-to-prepare yet plentiful egg dishes and nutrient-rich veggie sides to accompany a brunch spread or traditional holiday main course, to treats that satisfy a sweet tooth during one of the sweetest times of the year, these recipes are sure to become mainstays at all your future Easter gatherings.

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Theresa Gambacorta is a freelance food writer, a veteran of New York City restaurants, and cookbook co-author to chef Joey Campanaro's Big Love Cooking (Chronicle) and James Beard-nominated chef Nasim Alikhani's Sofreh: A Contemporary Approach to Classic Persian Cuisine (Knopf). She is currently working on a forthcoming vegan cookbook to be published by Simon Element.

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