30 Easter Dinner Dishes That Aren’t Ham or Lamb

updated Jun 9, 2023
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Three salmon filets with crab meat on top, on a plate with lemon wedges and green garnish
Credit: Maria Do

When it comes time to plan your Easter menu, a glazed ham or a big roast leg of lamb is the default. These dishes are classics for sure, but they’re far from the only options, especially if, like mine, your celebration will be on the small side this year. But what to make? Large cuts of beef, roast turkey, and cheesy pans of baked pasta are well-suited for the winter months, but don’t quite have the light, fresh feeling so many of us crave every April. If you want something different, we’ve come up with 30 recipes for Easter dinner that aren’t ham or lamb.

More Ideas for Easter Dinner

Pork tenderloin or pork chops can be easily dressed up with a sauce or simple glaze. (A ham glaze will go great with your tenderloin!) The same goes for chicken, which can be stuffed, doused with a lemony sauce, or cooked with a medley of spring veggies, to bring a little something extra to your holiday spread.

Slow-roasted or poached fish is also a good choice. It’s packed with flavor and nearly foolproof to make without overcooking. (Yes, really!) And when it comes to meat-free mains, a sunny lemony pasta loaded with fresh spring vegetables or topped with burrata is all but a guaranteed hit.

If you want to switch it up, here are 30 fresh ideas for Easter mains that aren’t ham or lamb.

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Buttermilk-Poached Salmon
Salmon loves bright acidic flavors, and buttermilk is full of sharp tang. This recipe cooks salmon in two parts buttermilk and one part vegetable stock, and calls on lemon slices, garlic, bay leaves, and shallots to infuse the poaching liquid with flavor without a ton of effort.
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Chicken Scallopini
Chicken scallopini is simple, straightforward, and thanks to the bath of buttery lemon-white wine sauce, is far, far greater than the sum of its parts.
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Poached Shrimp with Thousand Island Dressing
Gently poached aromatic shrimp served with a tangy Thousand Island dressing
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Pizza Rustica
This double-crusted deep dish pie is filled with an egg and ricotta mixture that has been studded with some of Italy’s finest cured meats and cheeses.
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Beef Wellington
A showstopper entrée of tender beef wrapped in mushroom paste and crispy, buttery puff pastry.
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Spaghetti with Mascarpone, Meyer Lemon, Spinach, and Hazelnuts
If you're goal is a meat-free meal that's easy, yet irresistibly delicious, this creamy spring pasta is a good idea. If you can find Meyer lemon, it makes a difference; the delicate floral, sweet notes helps puts this dish on another level.
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Parmesan Risotto with Roasted Shrimp

This creamy risotto with salty Parmesan and sweet roasted shrimp feels appropriately fancy.

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Asparagus Salad
Mint and dill make this salad extra refreshing.
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Vegetarian Chick’n Pot Pie with Cheddar Biscuit Topping
Hearty vegetables and plant-based chicken in a rich gravy and topped with cheddar-thyme drop biscuits.
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Garlic Parmesan Chicken
The garlic Parmesan sauce is thick, creamy and packed with a mellow aroma of garlic and shallot.
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Crab-Stuffed Salmon
This restaurant-worthy dish takes under 40 minutes to put together.
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Stuffed Chicken Breast with Spinach and Cheese
Any time you want to dress up an everyday chicken breast into a dinner that feels fancy, all you need to do is stuff it with some greens and cheese.
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Sheet Pan Pork Loin with Herb Potatoes and Vegetables
Pork loin is rubbed with a garlicky compound butter, then roasted alongside herby potatoes, green beans, and wild mushrooms for an easy one-pan dinner.
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Seafood Boil
This flavorful mix of seafood, sausage, and vegetables is guaranteed to make your next party a crowd-pleaser.
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Skillet Braised Cod with Asparagus and Potatoes
This fast-and-fancy skillet dinner finishes with light, bright flavors that are perfect for a springtime holiday meal. It's surprisingly easy to pull off.
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Honey-Glazed Pork Tenderloin
The tenderloin, which comfortably feeds about four, is simply cooked, and finished with a sweet and tangy mustard-flecked glaze that makes it feel fancy.
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Foolproof Salmon Baked with Olive Oil and Herbs
Perfect to make for a crowd and cooked at gentle 250°F, this fish finishes with a rich, buttery texture.
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Feta-Brined Chicken Breast with Rosemary
Lots of briny feta and roasted garlic transform mild-mannered chicken breasts into a full-flavored, holiday-worthy meal.
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Spinach Pasta
Sneaking in greens is welcomed in this creamy, spice-packed pasta dish.
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Gorgonzola-Stuffed Steak Roll-Ups
A duo of vegetables and a touch of gorgonzola keep this steak dinner light, and just right for an Easter celebration.
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Juicy and Tender Roasted Pork Loin
If you prefer to skip ham and lamb, a juicy pork loin is a nice alternative when you need a main to feed a crowd.
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Skillet Creamy French Mustard Chicken
Chicken thighs braise quickly in a sauce made with two kinds of mustard and just a touch of cream.
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Lemon-Herb Sole on Crispy Potato Rafts
If you're looking for an easy but elegant main course, this is it. The fish cooks up perfectly on top of its own side dish of crispy potatoes, and the whole thing is just beautiful to look at.
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Panko-Crusted Salmon with Dill and Lemon
Lemon and dill are a classic salmon pairing, but it's the crispy golden panko crust that makes this version stand out on the table.
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Spaghetti with Crispy Pancetta, Peas, and Burrata
This fast and fancy spring dinner is what happens when pantry staples meet fresh indulgence, with creamy burrata leading the charge.
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Flank Steak with Bourbon Cream Sauce
Swirled with smoky, sweet bourbon, a splash of stock, and some cream, this combo takes flank steak to a new level.
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Easy Creamy Mustard Pork Chops

Bathed in a creamy pan sauce fragrant with apple cider, fresh thyme, and the sharp notes of two kinds of mustard, these pork chops feel indulgent, but only need about 30 minutes of cooking time.

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Slow Cooker Spinach and Artichoke Chicken
Poached chicken breasts in a luxurious lemon broth with wisps of green spinach and forkfuls of tender, nutty artichokes.
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Zuni Cafe Roasted Chicken
If you're leaning towards roast chicken, you cannot go wrong with this herb-packed rendition from Zuni Cafe. Take advantage of all the drippings and toss them with a salad of toasted bread and fresh greens, just like they do at the restaurant.
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Pork Chops in Port Wine Sauce
If you want to get an early start on Easter, make the port wine sauce a day ahead and reheat as the pork chops cook.
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