Healthy holidays with our favourite traditional Easter foods from around the world

traditional easter dinner menu

Rather than going head first into gorging on chocolate Easter eggs, we thought we might do a bit of hunting around and dig up some different and unique traditional Easter foods and dishes for you during this upcoming holiday period.  Some a little more healthy…others not so much :) The whole idea was to simply show you that there are many different flavours and tastes to be explored!  We like to present things that are a little ‘outside of the box’ to get you thinking. We respect all views on religion, so whatever Easter means to you and your family – remember to use the time off to spend it with love ones, laugh and enjoy your food!

Jewish Passover The Passover Seder is a Jewish festival that marks the beginning of the Jewish Passover.  The Passover was observed before the birth of Christianity and the ‘Easter’ as we now know it. According to Butler, the history of the Jewish Passover is from “The biblical Exodus story, the people of Egypt suffered a series of terrible plagues, including the death of all firstborn sons. Jews painted their doorposts with sacrificed lamb’s blood so that God would “pass over” their homes while carrying out the punishment. Accustomed to eating roast lamb on Passover, Jews who converted to Christianity continued the tradition at Easter.” (


Z’roah  (lamb shanks) – In traditional times Jewish people would sacrifice one lamb per family to eat at the Passover meal.  The meal was to be eaten with bitter herbs and unleavened bread.

Maror (bitter herbs) – typically horseradish and Romanian lettuce are eaten as bitter herbs.  This symbolises the bitterness of the slavery of Egypt in traditional times.

Traditional Passover Seder plate –  The plate is positioned in the centre of the table and consists of six items that symbolize the struggles of the Jewish slaves in Egypt. Z’roah, or lamb shank, Maror (horseradish or bitter herbs), Charosset (apples, dates, honey, cinnamon), Beitzah (roasted egg), Karpas (parsley dipped in salty water)  and wine. Jessica and Jon from Bite Sized Blog have a lovely description of the plate (the pic above is theirs as well).

Rejuvenated lamb shank meal – Make slow cooked lamb shanks in tomato puree with cinnamon, star anise, chilli, garlic and turmeric. Serve with gremolata made of chopped parsley, garlic and lemon zest.  Serve with cauliflower or sweet potato puree and a side salad made with rocket, baby spinach and slightly bitter radicchio.

German Gründonnerstag Holy Thursday (also known as Maundy Thursday or Palm Thursday) is known as Gründonnerstag or ‘Green Thursday’ Germany.  Apparently the name was not from any actual association with the colour green, but from the similarity for the German word for “weeping”.  People of certain religions traditionally eat foods such as green vegetables and green salads, such as spinach, kale and nettles as a way to humble themselves before God.

Try out spinach and leek soup here.


Russian Pashka Pashka is a pyramid-shaped dessert, which is made from curd cheese and various dried and candied fruits and is a Russian Orthodox Easter tradition, usually served to be eaten on Easter Sunday.  The pashka is taken to the church on the Thursday or Friday beforehand to be blessed.  The shape of the pashka is said to symbolise the tomb of Christ and is decorated with the letters XB which mean ‘Christ is risen’ in Cyrillic script. Pashka is a good gluten and grain free dessert if you tolerate dairy. We’ve created a delicious and healthy version of a pashka recipe you can try over Easter.

Try out healthy version of ricotta & raspberries pashka.


Mexican Capirotada Mexican Capirotada is a spiced bread pudding that is eaten over the Easter period, usually on Good Friday.  The ingredients, which include raisins, cinnamon, cloves and cheese are said to carry a reminder of the suffering of Christ.  In particular the cloves are symbolic of the nails used on the cross and the cinnamon quills of the cross itself. You can adapt a capirotada recipe from here.

Good Friday Fish Many Christians follow the practice of eating fish on Good Friday.  Fish is traditionally eaten on Good Friday as red meat was not to be consumed as a form of penance in honour of the death of Christ.  Catholics traditionally are also required to fast on Good Friday and are meant to eat only one full meal that day.

Try our macadamia-crusted fish fingers here.


Whatever you decide to cook and share with your friends and family, remember to cook with love and laugher and don’t sweat the small stuff! The key to good health is…“Making time to be around people and being happy nourishes not only our heart but our soul and it keeps us healthy! You can have the best diet in the world and still end up sick if you are stressed, lonely and unhappy. And don’t get yourself into a position where you cause yourself huge amounts of undue stress – you know what stress does to the body. We need to remember to look after our whole health!”

More healthy Easter recipes we like

Portugese roasted potatoes
Gluten & dairy free hot cross buns
Whole baked trout with herb salsa
Blackberry jam drop cookies
Raw vegan Easter Pashka
Polish white Borscht
Roasted lamb with rosemary

What are you planning to cook for Easter? Do you have favourite dishes and recipes?

Claire Yates

By Claire Yates

Claire Yates is a Nutritional Medicine Practitioner, holding a Bachelor of Health Science, who is passionate about paleo nutrition, health and having fun! She is the author of Optimal Health The Paleo Way and is a self-confessed lover of good food and good coffee.

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