It’s hard to believe that Easter is almost here. As a Christian, I celebrate Easter as Resurrection Sunday, usually with sunrise service and Easter brunch at my church. And as someone who’s part Italian, I also make a lot of traditional Easter-time food! While other people are filling baskets with decidedly non-vegan candy, I’m filling our kitchen with the unmistakable smell of anise. Because in the QV household, anise is synonymous with the Easter season.
These little cookies are a traditional Italian Easter treat, and the recipe we have in our recipe box reflects the very same one that my great-grandmother used to make. I almost felt like I was cheating when I veganized and posted the recipe last year, because the only non-vegan ingredient in the original is eggs. All it took was some ground flax seed (and extra anise extract), and these babies were good to go!
Like the cookies, Easter bread is another Italian Easter tradition that makes use of the unique flavor of anise. It’s a sweet bread meant to be eaten as a snack or dessert, and can be frosted with a bit of simple icing for a pretty presentation. I made mini-loaves for church last Easter, but standard loaves are great as well! I’ve already made a loaf this year and I tried some toasted with almond butter as a breakfast treat. That was decidedly delicious.
Yet another Italian Easter tradition, and one that continues to be upheld in the QV household despite my best efforts to convince the family to replace it with a vegan version, is ricotta pie. Though ricotta cheese is easy enough to emulate with tofu, the tofu ricotta used for savory recipes doesn’t quite do the job in ricotta pie. It’s a much sweeter dish that relies heavily on the texture of the ricotta to make the filling “just right,” and it took me more than one try to come up with something that was close to what I remembered. I wouldn’t have bothered, except that this is one tradition I missed like crazy. It’s worth trying if you’ve never had it, or if you have and remember it fondly!
Cadbury creme eggs are another thing I crave around Easter. I think all kids and kids-at-heart probably do. I haven’t tried this vegan version from Vegan Show and Tell and so can’t vouch for its authenticity, but I couldn’t resist including it! If you’ve got the time and the patience to make your own, I’d say give this recipe a shot. It sounds pretty darn good, and who can argue with a cruelty-free nostalgia trip?
In addition to all of this, my mom and I have been contemplating Easter dinner. I had a vague recollection of there being a roasted veggie lasagna in 1,000 Vegan Recipes. Oddly enough, I’d forgotten that was what I made last year!
What’s your favorite Easter treat? Have you found a vegan alternative or veganized version of it?