Easter is one of my favorite holidays. I love the anticipation of springtime, with its soft colors, beautiful weather, and feeling of renewal. We bring our family and friends together for one festive and celebratory Middle Eastern feast for Easter.
The idea of an Easter Middle Eastern feast began several years ago. I bought a few pounds of gyro lamb meat from our favorite local Mediterranean restaurant and rounded out the meal with fitting accompaniments. It was an instant hit with friends and even our young toddlers, so we have continued to serve a Middle Eastern style meal every year since.
One of the beautiful aspects of this Middle Eastern “mezze” style meal is that it combines easy-to-prepare dishes and quick cooking meats with sides that pour straight from a package, ready to serve. There is a large variety of flavors and styles of food included in the menu, so guests can pick and choose their favorites. There is no rush to have everything hot and ready at the same minute, so the whole day feels much more enjoyable.
I learned I could substitute the purchased gyro lamb for some simple and delicious spice-rubbed lamb and chicken kabobs, which cook in just minutes in the oven or on the grill.
This year’s Middle Eastern feast menu:
- Lamb kabobs rubbed with Baharat spice blend and grilled
- Chicken kabobs marinated in a combination of Za’atar spice blend and Greek Yogurt, then grilled
- Pita bread and fresh carrots, served with hummus drizzled in olive oil and sprinkled with black pepper
- Green salad with fresh feta cheese, tomato, and cucumber
- Easy-to-make and delicious falafel mix served with store-bought tzatziki sauce
- Israeli couscous with pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries
- Figs in syrup drizzled with honey and sprinkled with cardamom and nutmeg
- Marinated olives
- Spiced fruit and nuts
- Sparkling red grape and rosehip soda and sparkling white grape and elderflower soda to drink
The food is so pretty, the table doesn’t require much decorating. The soft, warm colors and floral design in this table runner and matching napkins set a perfect tone, and I was thrilled to find these gorgeous paper mache eggs to use on each of the place-settings. They would be lovely with a simple hand-written name along side as well.
Add a few fresh blooms into simple mason jar vases, and enjoy the beautiful, festive feeling of the feast.