Easter Brunch Top 7 Recipes: What Do Latinos Eat for Pascua?


Easter brunch is coming up fast. What does your familia or friend group make for Easter brunch or dinner every year?

We’re betting the answer is: “Nothing special.”

To my sopresa, when we started planning this roundup of favorite Latino Easter Sunday traditional recipes to spotlight for our community spotlight here at Familia Kitchen, not one traditional main dish came to mind at first.

And that’s when it really hit me.

For most Latino families I know, including my own, Easter is all about planning the dishes to make for the fish or vegetarian no-meat Fridays of Lent. But when we finally get to the end of 40 days after Ash Wednesday to semana santa and the flower-filled grand finale — Easter Sunday! Pascua! — it’s pretty much nada, comida-wise.

You’d think we’d have a huge food feast for the whole family to enjoy together, like we do with the other big holidays. But a ta-da! pernil or fancy dish for the Easter Sunday family blowout? Not so much.

What do Latinos eat for Easter? I asked a sampling of my Latino family and friends, and I heard a whole lot of no-big-deal when it came to Mexican, Dominican, Puerto Rican, Cuban and Venezuelan family food traditions on Easter Sunday, including these highlights:

“Oh, we never did much of a big deal, food-wise. We just went to church in the morning and then hung around the house the rest of the day,” said my Puerto Rican mom Marisa Jiménez Caviness.

“We would go to church and then my mom made a normal dinner later, I think,” said my friend Ana González Quaid, of her Mexico-born mother, Gollita, and their family Easters.

“We went to church in the morning, and then we would order out. I can’t remember what. Maybe Chinese?” said another friend Angela Pagán, who is of Puerto Rican and Mexican heritage.

“My mom sometimes makes this Dominican dessert, habichuelas con dulce, and then she traded it with friends and comadres and cousins. But not something every year for dinner,” said one of our favorite Dominican cocineras Naihomy Jerez.

There was one exception, a notable one! A super-talented Venezuelan homecook who lives just outside of Atlanta, Liliana Hernandez, told me she thought her family did nothing special when she was growing up, but then she checked in back home in Venezuela. “My familia just reminded me,” Liliana later reported, ”That for Easter we like to make a plato riquísimo called pastel de chucho. Chucho is a fish very much like shark or cazón and we make it like a lasagna, but with ripe plantains. It’s delicious!”

Sounds a lot like this Puerto Rican pastelón recipe, but with fish instead of ground beef: Que rico. We’re intrigued. Also: Liliana is more than happy to share her recipe for empanadas de cazón and here are her family recipes for arepas, enslada rusa, bienmesabe cake, and asado negro, which she cooks in person on her Spanish-language YouTube channel, Mi Show de Cocina.

But, with the exception of Venezuelan Liliana, my Latina friends remembered the church part, but not the getting-the-family-together-and-eating afterwards food part. Interesting, no?

Familia Kitchen would like to help change this: Food is family. Family is food. To help us all get into the springtime family-food celebration spirit, here are 7 recipe recommendations for Easter brunch and dinners, all familia-friendly and guaranteed delicioso recipes.

Easter Sunday Brunch and Dinner Recipe Ideas

Capirtotada, Mexico’s Easter Weekend Sweet Treat

Capirotada, the Mexican bread pudding traditionally made every Easter Good Friday, is made with boillo loaves of bread, piloncillo, raisins and other fruit. Delicioso, hearty and the perfect sweet treat to fill the hearts and bellies of family and neighbors after weeks of no-meat Fridays it was the star of Abuelita Toña’s Pascua spread every year in East Los Angeles. ”The point of having the capirotada: We eat it on Easter Friday when we don’t eat meat,” says her daughter Naomi Rodriguez. ”This is a very traditional dish for Mexican people. And it’s amazing,” says Naomi. Which is why she, her sister Beatriz, and the rest of their family look forward all year to taking that first dulce bite of her mother’s family-famous dessert every Easter weekend, when they break the Lent fast. You can find the how-to video here.

naomi capirotada
Naomi Rodriguez’s mother’s recipe for capirotada is unusual (and extra delicioso) in its use of shredded coconut and baked prunes.

Lig’s Dominican Pernil with Lemon, Oregano and Mojo

”Holidays in our home always included this pernil with mojo or slow-roasted ham, sometimes cooked in a pressure cooker, sometimes on a spit, sometimes in the oven. But always, however we made it, the pernil was roasted low and slow, which Mom and my grandmother swore yielded the most tender meat and best flavor,” writes Ligia Mendez Goodwillie of her family’s succulent pernil recipe.

Ana’s Ropa Vieja with Muchos Spices and Red Wine

One of our favorite cocinera abuelas, Ana Osadzinski (Colet) was born in Cuba—in the city of Bayamo, located in the Oriente province—and moved to the States at age 14. Ana is an expert at making Cuba’s national dish, ropa vieja or shredded beef, in a delicious and wine-rich tomatoey sauce. In fact, she reports, ropa vieja is one of her most requested dishes from her now-grown kids and their kids. A close second is her picadillo with olives and raisins, which she serves alongside crisp yuca con mojo—or tostones.

ropa vieja cuban ana

Titi Rosa’s Arroz con Pollo, Made With Love and Pegao

No denying it, arroz con pollo is the official traditional Latinx comfort food for Boricuas. One of our favorite Puerto Rican cooks, Michelle Ezratty Murphy of @BowlandApron, learned to make this hearty rice and chicken dish when she was dating her Puerto Rican husband. Pat would always take her to his aunt’s house in the late afternoon, where all the family would congregate. This is his Titi Rosa’s recipe. And it’s the winner of our Familia Kitchen Your Favorite Arroz con Pollo recipe contest.

Anjie’s Huevos Ranchers: A Flavor Explosion in Your Mouth”

These huevos rancheros are a “flavor explosion,” promises Anjie Villalobos, one of our favorite Mexican-food homecooks. Best of all: her family-famous recipe can be prepared in less than 15 minutes and has just three main ingredients.  

“I never tire of making it or eating this dish,” Anjie says. 

She especially loves making these huevos on mornings when she’s pressed for time but is craving something delicioso, hearty and healthy. Luckily, Anjie almost always has everything she needs for these huevos rancheros stocked. The ingredients are staples in her Southern California kitchen: eggs, salsa and corn tortillas.

huevos ranchers

Habichuela Con Dulce 2 Ways: Traditional and Flipped

Habichuela con dulce is a Dominican Easter tradition and has forever been a family-favorite Easter sweet treat in the family of Naihomy Jerez, one of our favorite D.R. cocineras. The New Yorker remembers her Dominican mom making her own version of the dessert and trading with friends, comadres and cousins.

This Easter, Naihomy and her mother, Mamá Rosa, offer us their dueling versions of the traditional Dominican postre. The mother-daughter duo did this same flip thing last fall with pumpkin flan in their bakeoff: Dominican Flan de Calabaza 2 Ways: Classic and Dairy-Free — and all of us in the Familia Kitchen community are better for it. Try both of their habichuela con dulce recipes, below, to judge the best one for yourself!

habichuela de dulce traditional
Mamá Rosa’s TRADITIONAL habichuela con dulce
habichuela de dulce
Naihomy’s FLIPPED-to-HEALTHY habichuela con dulce.

Veronica’s Vegan Verde Pozole Party

If you’re vegan, we have Easter inspiration for your feast: meatless pozole! ”My intention is that this spicy, meat-free pozole verde dish will not only bring you and your family together warmly, but it will also leave you feeling full: In your belly, heart and soul!” says Veronica Giolli, a Mexican homecook and holistic health coach based in Laguna Beach, California.

Easter Sunday is a day to celebrate what’s most important and family togetherness — and what better way than over a traditional meal that invites Latino families to cook our way home, together?

Food is familia. Familia is love. All of these come together at so many families’ Easter tables. Here’s wishing you a festive, safe, family-and-food-filled day, whoever you spend it with, including, of course, you!

Happy Easter Sunday, Familia Kitchen familia. Find more recipes for your Easter spread here!

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