Stressed about Easter lunch? Worry no more! I’ve put together an Easy Easter Lunch Time Plan and Shopping List. All the deliciousness, none of the stress!
Are you putting together an Easter lunch this year and are a little worried about timings or whether you will remember to buy everything you need? Big occasions can be stressful times especially if you are cooking for a crowd, but I always find that having a solid plan makes all the difference! (And even better if someone else does all the hard work creating that plan for you!!)
To make your life easier and less stressful, I have put together a simple but delicious Easter lunch menu. I’ve worked out an easy time plan to ensure everything gets on the table at the same time (and you are not trying to do 10 things at once!!) and I have also created a printable shopping list for your Easter lunch, thus ensuring you don’t get half way through your lunch preparations and realise you’ve forgotten to buy something crucial!
If you use my Easy Easter Lunch Plan and/or my Easy Easter Lunch Shopping List, I would love to know how you get on in the comments below, or on social media…and if you can share a photo or two with me on social media, so much the better! You can find me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
So let’s get cracking! (Note I have assumed an Easter lunch for 8 people, but in the notes you will find tips on how to scale this up or down. This lunch menu would be suitable for 8 adults with average appetites, but might stretch to 10 if your party includes younger children or people with smaller appetites.)
Easy Easter Lunch Menu for 8 people
Easy Easter Lunch Menu
Mixed antipasti platter
Easy Homemade Parmentier Potatoes (1½ x original recipe)
Honey Mustard Roast Vegetables (1½ x original recipe)
Steamed Broccoli (or another green vegetable of your choice)
I give most of the instructions for how to make this Easy Easter Lunch in the printable time plan below, but if you would like to access the individual recipes, simply click on the links above.
If you are catering for vegetarians too, I can highly recommend my Quinoa Stuffed Butternut Squash. They can be made ahead of time and reheated 20 minutes before they are needed, so you are not trying to juggle too many pots and pans at once. (If you feel cranberries are a little Christmassy, you could easily substitute with apricots or sultanas.)
To keep things simple I have suggested having nibbles, such as a charcuterie platter, olives, nuts, crisps and dips etc. which you can serve to your guests while you are cooking, rather than a formal sit down starter which is tricky to manage with a roast dinner like this. This is also the perfect opportunity to crack open some fizz!
Being as this is an Easter lunch, I have suggested using mini eggs to top your carrot cake, rather than the walnuts/orange zest topping in the picture, to give it an even more Eastery feel, or see the recipe for alternative decoration suggestions.
I have assumed on a 1.6kg leg of lamb, which will feed 8 people, but with no leftovers. If you wish to cook a bigger piece of lamb, see the advice on timings in the time plan notes and adjust your lamb cooking times accordingly.
Easy Easter Lunch Time Plan
This is a simple time plan to ensure you manage to make everything you need without trying to juggle too many things at once. I have suggested you make the cake and the frosting the day before. This will mean your cakes have ample time to cool down and mean one big job is out of the way before Easter morning – giving you time to enjoy a leisurely Easter breakfast rather than stressing about making a cake and getting it cool enough to ice whilst also stressing about the main course!
I have assumed on your lunch starting at 1pm (with the antipasti starter served as ‘nibbles’ to graze on from 12pm). If you would like your lunch to start earlier or later than that, simply adjust the time plan by that many hours – I have provided a printable version you can download in a Word document format below so you can adjust to suit your own timings.
Although this menu is designed to be cooked by one person, I highly recommend drafting in a second person to act as your sous chef – it will make cooking much more relaxing and fun!
Day before Easter:
Make the carrot cakes according to the Coconut Pineapple Carrot Cake recipe. Allow to cool and store in airtight tins.
Make the Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting and store in a plastic tub in the fridge.
If your leg of lamb was frozen ensure you defrost it in plenty of time so it is fully defrosted by the time you need to start cooking on Easter Sunday.
Double check you have bought everything you need for your Easter lunch (see my shopping list below).
Make sure you have enough oven trays and serving dishes. Make sure all your oven trays will fit in the oven at the same time.
10.30am Remove your lamb from the fridge and allow to come up to room temperature.
10.35am Decorate your cake as per the instructions in the Coconut Pineapple Carrot Cake recipe, but using mini eggs on top, instead of walnuts and orange zest. Refrigerate your cake until needed (as the frosting contains cream cheese).
11.15am Preheat your oven to 220C / 200C / gas mark 7 / 425F.
11.20am Remove lamb from packaging and stand on a board. Cut lots of little holes all over the lamb. Drizzle the lamb with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Rub the oil, salt and pepper all over the lamb and then push a small sprig of rosemary and a slither of garlic into each hole.
11.30am Put the lamb in the oven and roast uncovered for 1 hour 10 minutes.
11.50am Prepare your antipasti platter. Serve to your guests with a glass of fizz.
12.05pm Put 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a roasting tray and place in your oven to heat up (this is for the Honey Mustard Roast Vegetables). Peel and chop the parsnips and carrots.
12.10pm Remove the roasting tray from the oven and carefully place the parsnips and carrots in the roasting tray. Add a little salt and pepper, then turn the vegetables in the hot oil, spread the vegetables out on the tray in a single layer and return to the oven.
12.15pm Put 3 tablespoons of olive oil in another roasting tray and place in your oven to heat up (this is for the Parmentier Potatoes). Chop your potatoes and place in a large saucepan. Pour over boiling water and parboil for 5 minutes. Drain the potatoes and allow to steam dry.
12.20pm While your potatoes are parboiling, use this time to prepare the broccoli and to prepare the honey mustard glaze by combining 3 tablespoons olive oil, 3 tablespoons honey and 3 tablespoons wholegrain or Dijon mustard in a jam jar. Set aside until needed.
12.30pm Remove the second roasting tray from the oven and carefully tip in the potatoes. Add a little salt and pepper, then turn the potatoes in the hot oil, spread the potatoes out on the tray in a single layer and return to the oven.
12.35pm Mix the garlic and herbs for the potatoes together in a small bowl. (3 sprigs chopped rosemary – leaves only, 2 sprigs chopped thyme – leaves only, 5 cloves crushed garlic)
12.40pm Remove the lamb from the oven and leave to rest for 20 minutes. (Cover with foil if your room is cold.) Remove the parsnips and carrots from the oven and drizzle with the honey mustard glaze and turn them to get them all coated. Spread the vegetables out on the tray in a single layer and return to the oven for a further 15 minutes.
12.45pm Remove the potatoes from the oven. Add the garlic and herbs mixture and turn the potatoes in the garlic and herbs to ensure they are all coated. Spread out again in a single layer and return to the oven.
12.50pm Make the lamb gravy. Start by crumbling the lamb stock cube into a jug and adding 2 tablespoons plain flour. Mix to a smooth paste using a small amount of cold water and then add 400ml boiling water to the jug, stirring constantly. Remove the fat from the tin you roasted the lamb in and put the tin on the hob over a low heat. Pour in the jug of lamb gravy and stir to incorporate the bits on the bottom of the tin. Add the juices from the resting lamb and then cook the gravy on a low heat for about 5 minutes.
12.55pm Steam the broccoli for 5 minutes or until done to your likeness. Remove the vegetables from the oven. Remove the potatoes from the oven.
1.00pm Serve everything up and enjoy!!
This will result in lamb that is just pink inside. If you prefer your lamb more well done, cook for 5-10 minutes more. (Start the lamb 5-10 minutes earlier so it still has time to rest when it comes out of the oven.)
This time plan is designed for 8 people with average appetites, if you wish to cook this for more people you will need to cook a larger piece of lamb, which will need to be started earlier. As a rough guide you will need an extra 200g (7oz) lamb per extra person and each extra 200g (7oz) will take an extra 10 minutes. So for example a 2kg leg should feed 10 people and take 1h30 in the oven. A 2.4kg leg should feed 12 people and take 1h50 in the oven. For larger pieces you may want to cover with foil for the first until there is 1 hour left of cooking time left, to avoid burning.
Whatever size piece of lamb you choose, aim to put it in the oven such that it comes out at 12.40pm, so that it can rest for 20 minutes or so before you serve it. (So for example put a 2kg leg in at 11.10am, put a 2.4kg piece in at 10.50am.)
If you are cooking for more people you may also want to double up the gravy and increase the quantity of potatoes and vegetables. Increasing quantities of veg and gravy will not dramatically increase their cooking time, so long as you ensure you use large enough roasting trays for the veg. However your prep time may be increased, so either start earlier or enlist help!!
Shopping list for Easter Lunch for 8
I have created a simple shopping list to cover all the things you will need for a this simple Easter lunch for 8. I suggest before you hit the shops you check your cupboards as you may have some of these things already (e.g. olive oil, salt and pepper.)
I have given each course a separate list as I appreciate you may want to serve a different starter or pudding, and this will make it easier to make changes.
I have provided a editable and printable version of the shopping list too, to make things even easier for you!
Mixed antipasti such as a charcuterie platter, olives, nuts, dips and crisps etc. Buy what you and you’re your guests would like but this is what I would buy:
1 mixed Italian or Spanish meats platter
1 pot mixed olives
1 mixed dip platter
2 large bags plain tortilla chips
1 bag plain almonds
1.5kg/3.3lb white potatoes
1 large head of broccoli
8 garlic cloves
7 large sprigs of rosemary
3 large sprigs thyme
1.6kg/3.5lb leg of lamb
150ml/5floz olive oil (or your preferred oil)
Salt and pepper
1 lamb stock cube
2 tablespoons plain flour
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons wholegrain or Dijon mustard
350g/12½oz self raising flour (or all-purpose flour plus 4tsp baking powder)
325g/11½oz dark soft brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
200g/7oz unsweetened desiccated coconut
4 medium eggs
200ml/6¾floz mild olive oil (or coconut oil)
150g/5¼ pineapple (fresh or from a tin)
500g/17½oz full fat cream cheese (I used Philadelphia)
250g/9oz icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
200g/7oz mini eggs (or decoration of your choice – see recipe for ideas)
Wine Suggestions for your Easter Lunch
Starter: for me a bottle of fizz is always the best way to start a celebratory lunch and would go brilliantly with the starter I have suggested. I would either go for a good bottle of Champagne (it Easter after all!) or if you are looking for something a little cheaper, go for a nice Prosecco or, my personal favourite: Crémant de Loire!
Main Course: My favourite wine match with traditional roast leg of lamb done like this with rosemary and garlic, would be a robust red such as a Rioja Crianza or Reserva, or a Southern Rhone – either a nice Côtes du Rhône-Villages or splash out on something a little more expensive such as a Rasteau, Gigondas or Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Other options that would work well include Chianti, Red Bordeaux or Chilean Merlot. This is one occasion when I personally feel white wine just doesn’t work. But if you do want to get a white in too, go for something gutsy like a full-bodied, oaked Chardonnay.
Dessert: I know not everyone likes dessert wine, but I love it! Carrot cake is tricky to match but I would suggest something like a Late Harvest Riesling or a sweet style of sherry, such as Lustau East India Solera Sherry.
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