How To Sprinkle Your Easter Lunch With Some Olive Oil Magic
If you are gearing up for a leisurely Easter lunch with family or friends but want to keep health and wellbeing on the menu, look no further than these olive oil infused Mediterranean recipes for inspiration.
Packed full of heart healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, Mediterranean meals made with the best olive oil you can buy are a great way to fill your Easter table with colour and joy.
Here are some healthy favourites from the Morocco Gold team to tempt your Easter taste buds with polyphenols and antioxidant goodness.
Blanched Asparagus With Mediterranean Salsa
For the Mediterranean Salsa
- 12 oz cherry tomatoes chopped or halved (place in a small sieve over a bowl to drain a little)
- 1 shallot finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove finely chopped
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
- ¼ cup chopped fresh mint leaves or basil chiffonade, if you prefer
- Salt and pepper more for later
- ½ teaspoon sumac
- 2 to 3 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil more for later
- 1½ lb Asparagus tough ends trimmed (preferably baby asparagus if available)
- Zest of 1 lemon
- What better way to start your healthy Easter feast than with this visually stunning treat for Asparagus lovers from The Mediterranean Dish.
- Make the Mediterranean salsa. In a mixing bowl, add the tomatoes, shallots, garlic and herbs. Season with salt, pepper, and sumac. Add lemon juice and a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Mix and set aside so flavors will meld nicely (or, if you prefer, cover and chill until ready to serve).
- In a cooking pot or large saucepan, bring 8 cups of water, seasoned with 2 tablespoons of kosher salt, to a boil. Have a large bowl of ice water ready next to it (this is an ice bath for the blanched asparagus).
- When water comes to a rolling boil, add the prepared asparagus. Boil until tender, 3 to 4 minutes (depending on thickness). Remove with tongs, or drain in a colander, and immediately transfer to the bowl of ice water for 1 minute to stop the cooking process. Drain; set aside to cool down a bit (or if you prefer to serve it as a salad, chill in the fridge for a bit).
- When ready to serve, arrange the asparagus on a serving platter. Season with salt and pepper. Add a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil and lemon zest. Top with the Mediterranean salsa. Enjoy this alternative!
Easy Moroccan Lamb Stew
- Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 3 carrots, cubed
- 6 Yukon gold potatoes (or any small potatoes), peeled, cubed
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 2.5 lb boneless leg of American lamb, fat trimmed, cut into cubes (Or American lamb shoulder, bones removed, fat-trimmed)
- 3 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- ½ cup dried apricots
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 ½ tsp ground allspice
- 1 ½ tsp ras el hanout Moroccan spice blend.
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 6 plum tomatoes from a can, cut in halves
- 2 ½ cups low-sodium beef broth
- 1 15-oz can chickpeas
- Lamb so often takes centre stage in any healthy Easter lunch but who would blame us for choosing this fabulously mouth-watering Moroccan Lamb Stew, also from The Mediterranean Dish, as the main event for your meal.
- In a large Dutch oven or heavy oven-safe pot, heat 2 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking.
- In the heated oil, saute the onions, carrots, and potatoes for 4 minutes or so. Add the garlic and season with salt and pepper. Remove from the pot and set aside briefly.
- In the same pot, add more oil if needed, and deeply brown the lamb on all sides. Season with salt and pepper.
- Turn heat to medium-high and return the sauteed vegetables to the pot. Add the dried apricots, cinnamon stick, bay leaf and spices and stir to coat.
- Add the plum tomatoes and broth and bring everything to a boil for 5 minutes or so.
- Cover the pot and place in the 350 degrees F heated-oven for 1 ½ hours (check partway through to add water or broth if needed). Now stir in the chickpeas, cover and return to the oven for another 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and serve hot with your choice of Lebanese rice, couscous, pita bread or your favorite rustic bread.
Greek Style Olive Oil Brownies
- 300g good-quality dark chocolate (10 oz)
- 160g (1/2 cup) Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil
- 4 eggs, preferably organic
- 200g sugar (7 oz)
- 120g flour, sifted (4.2 oz)
- 50g walnuts, chopped (1.7 ounces) – optional
- Now, we all know that no self-respecting Easter spread is complete without a generous injection of chocolate somewhere and we really loved these olive oil brownies from Mygreekdish.com
- To prepare these olive oil brownies, break the eggs into a large bowl and add the sugar. Whisk with an electric mixer at high speed, until the mixture is thick, foamy and doubles it’s original volume. This should take about 5 minutes and should have stiff peaks forming.
- In the meantime melt the chocolate. To melt the chocolate it is best to use a bain-marie (or double boiler), a piece of equipment used to heat the chocolate gently and gradually to fixed temperatures so that it doesn’t burn. If you don’t have a Bain-marie, break the chocolate into small pieces and drop into a heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over a small saucepan about a quarter full with hot water and place the bowl on top so that it rests on the rim of the pan (the bowl should not to touch the water). Place the pan, with the bowl on top, over low heat until the chocolate has melted, whilst stirring occasionally.
- Remove the pan from the stove and stir in the extra virgin olive oil, the egg-sugar mixture and the chopped walnuts. Blend with a spatula with light circular movements from the bottom up. Sieve the flour over the bowl a little bit at a time and blend, folding gently the mixture with circular movements from the bottom up, until the ingredients combine. You don’t want to overwork the mixture.
- Line one round baking tin (approx. 18cm/7 inches ) with parchment paper and tip in the mixture in an even layer.
- Bake these olive oil brownies in a preheated oven to 160C 25-30 minutes, until they have formed a shiny and dry slightly cracked layer but are still moist underneath.
- Serve these delicious olive oil brownies with a full spoon of vanilla ice-cream on top. Enjoy!!
- These olive oil brownies are very addictive, so in the highly impossible case that you do have some leftovers.. keep them in an airtight container at room-temperature for 1-2 weeks.
- Not entirely falling under the healthy easter bracket but some indulgence is allowed at Easter!