This Easter, be inspired by signs of new life by cooking a simple, vibrant spring vegetebale side dish with your kids.
by Theresa Wilson
Easter Sunday brings the joyous news that Jesus has risen. Our time of anticipation and waiting is over; death is defeated and life has prevailed. We see the signs of God’s love for us and new life all around: bulbs that were dormant all winter are breaking through the ground, the joyful chirping of birds as they build their nests, and a whole new crop of spring vegetables are finding their way onto our plates.
Pointing these things out to my nearly 4-year-old little sous chef, I tell her, “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad!”
This Easter I’m inspired by all these signs of the risen Lord to create a simple, vibrant spring vegetable side dish with seasonal asparagus, radishes, sugar snap peas, and of course hard-boiled eggs.
Radishes are one of my favorite spring treats. Raw, they have a crunch with a peppery bite. I eat them sliced thin with a sprinkle of salt or mixed into a salad. Once roasted, radishes have an earthy, mild and almost sweet flavor that can be enjoyed by even the pickiest of eaters.
A nice bonus to this side dish is the grated egg. Not only does it add a rich creaminess and texture, but it’s another way to use up all those dyed eggs!
Admittedly, this side dish requires a bit more prep time than some of my other recipes, but it allows me the extra time in the kitchen with my young daughter to talk about Easter. At nearly 4, she has quite a few questions: “Why did those people want to hurt Jesus? Why would they put a spiky crown on him? How did Jesus get out of the tomb?”
As we clean the sugar snaps together, I try my best to answer the questions to her satisfaction, recalling Easter Sunday’s readings. I explain that Jesus loved us so much that he gave up his life for us, and that he has risen because he is God.
I tell her that Jesus’ friend Mary discovered that he was no longer in the tomb. She ran and told Jesus’ other close friends that he had risen again. I explain that it’s OK if it doesn’t all make sense yet. Jesus’ friends also struggled to understand that magnitude of what had happened.
One of the alternative second readings for this Easter uses food to symbolize our rebirth in the risen Christ. Since here we are in the kitchen together cooking, we are in the right place to talk about food. The reading calls for us to throw out the old yeast of hatred and to prepare a new feast with unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. Easter is an occasion for a feast and celebration of a new life of sincerity and truth that we have prepared for throughout Lent.
Noting the responsorial psalm that she will hear at Sunday’s Mass, I ask her to point out something she sees in her life that reminds her of God’s love for us, something that she sees in her life that God has made for us. Her mom and dad? Maybe her little brother?
As only the daughter of a chef would say, she exclaims, “ASPARAGUS!”
This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad!
Theresa Wilson is an alumnus of Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, New York. After pursuing her passion for all things food, she quickly rose the ranks in fine dining cuisine as a professional chef, and as a chef instructor and assistant director at a culinary institute. She is now a busy stay-at-home mom and short order cook to her amazing, energetic young daughter and son.