Easter Recipes

Easter favorites with all the taste but less fat and calories.

By Elaine Magee, MPH, RD
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD

Spring holidays are here and sometimes we need a little something special when we gather with friends and family. Here are a few traditional recipes that I have doctored into lighter fare for you to enjoy as you celebrate Easter and Passover. Feel free to enjoy these foods but remember to limit your portions and journal them as indicated for each recipe.

In anticipation of Easter, it would be a good idea to get a little extra exercise and/or bank a few calories by eating less throughout the week prior to the holiday. If you plan ahead and exercise portion control, your won't skip a beat on your diet as you enjoy the holidays with friends and family.

Honey Wheat Buttermilk Bread or Rolls

I like to use my bread machine to make the dough and let it rise once--then I break it into rolls and let it rise overnight in my refrigerator. Then, when you are ready on Easter day, just take it out and bake! They are great right out of the oven.

1/4 cup honey
1 large egg, beaten (egg substitute can be substituted)
1 cup lowfat buttermilk
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1 3/4 cups white bread flour (unbleached white or all-purpose flour can be substituted)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
3 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet can be used)
1 teaspoon melted butter or canola oil (optional)
1 tablespoon oats (optional)

  1. Add all the ingredients to the bread machine pan in the order recommended by the manufacturer (for my machine it is in the order listed here)--the last ingredient added is usually the yeast and you make a well in the center of the flour and then add the yeast.
  2. Set bread machine to the DOUGH cycle (usually 1 hour and 40 minutes) and press START.
  3. When the bread machine is done, remove the dough from the pan and break or cut into 12 balls (or add dough to a loaf pan coated with canola cooking spray). Place balls on a cookie sheet that has been coated with canola cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with canola cooking spray (so it doesn't stick to the dough) and place in refrigerator to rise overnight or while you work or play during the day (or let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size.)
  4. Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Gently brush the top of the rolls or bread loaf with melted butter or canola oil then sprinkle oats over the top of the rolls if desired.
  5. Bake rolls for about 15 minutes or until they are golden brown and test done (bread will take about 35 minutes to test done).

Makes 12 dinner rolls

PER ROLL: 160 calories, 6 g protein, 30 g carbohydrate,2 g fat, (.7 g saturated fat, .6 g monounsaturated, .5 g polyunsaturated fat), 18 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 323 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 12 percent. Omega 3 fatty acids = .5 grams, Omega 6 fatty acids = .3 grams

Hashbrown Casserole

This is a favorite holiday side dish in many homes across the country. In this light version, we used Healthy Request cream of celery soup, reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese (and less of it), and fat free sour cream. It's bubbly and golden brown on top and totally irresistible!

The original recipe contains 330 calories, 22 grams fat, 11 grams saturated fat, and 41 mg cholesterol per serving.

1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Healthy Request Cream of Celery soup, condensed
2 cups (8 ounces) reduced fat grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup fat free sour cream (light can also be used)
1 cup finely chopped onion
30 ounce (or 2 lb.) bag of frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, unthawed
1 ounce regular or reduced fat potato chips, crushed into coarse crumbs

  1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Coat a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish with canola cooking spray.
  2. Combine first 4 ingredients in large bowl and stir to blend well; stir in the hashbrowns.
  3. Spread into prepared baking dish and bake about 1 hour. Sprinkle top of casserole evenly with potato chip crumbs and bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 5-10 minutes.

Makes 12 servings

PER SERVING: 186 calories, 8 g protein, 24.5 g carbohydrate, 6 g fat (3.3 g saturated fat, .3 g monounsaturated fat, .7 g polyunsaturated fat), 16 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 392 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 29 percent.

Green Bean Casserole

I couldn't believe how a few ingredient changes made such a big difference in fat grams. I also doubled the amount of onion and switched to frozen French style green beans instead of canned, which is what the original recipe called for, but you can choose for yourself.