Ham became a main attraction for Easter tables back when refrigeration wasn't available, and hams prepared by salting and smoking in the winter months were just finishing the long curing process in the spring. Baked ham has a mellow and slightly sweet flavor that pairs well with cuisine from around the world. Nutritious side dishes that are low-fat or high-fiber help balance out the salty richness of the meat for a delicious and healthy Easter dinner.
Mashed potatoes are a traditional favorite to serve with an Easter ham dinner. Add low-fat sour cream, butter or yogurt to create a smooth texture. Leave the skins on the potato to boost the taste and nutrients in the dish. Stir crushed garlic, chopped chives, diced rosemary or dry ranch-flavored seasoning into the potatoes to add depth to the overall flavor. Ask kids to help when it comes to the actual mashing, as crushing the cooked potatoes is always an entertaining way to burn off youthful energy.
A rice side dish provides a nutty flavor and extra fiber to complement your ham entéee. Use brown rice as the base for any mix of fruits, nuts and seeds to create the ideal texture and taste to go with your ham. Mix brown rice, wild rice, diced apples and chopped walnuts for a mellow dish. Combine brown rice, sunflower seeds and dried cranberries for a tart dish. Transform the rice into a creamy, kid-friendly side dish by mixing in a flavorful creamy dressing. As this dish is best served cold, save some prep time on Easter day by making the rice the night before.
Green beans have a light flavor and a delicate crunch that make them a wonderful companion to smoky ham. The key to good green beans is to steam them just long enough to be warm, but not long enough to lose that crunch. Toss the steamed beans with sliced almonds and a little lemon juice or creamy dressing for a simple side. Combine the steamed beans with light Italian dressing and Parmesan for a healthy dish with a little zest.
Find inspiration in the fresh blooms of spring and serve a mixed garden salad with your Easter ham entrée. Toss mixed baby greens, baby carrots, chopped tomatoes, sliced cucumber, and vinaigrette or creamy dressing together for a colorful side salad. Mix baby spinach, lettuce, celery, red cabbage, baby carrots, red onions, sliced strawberries, and balsamic vinaigrette or creamy balsamic dressing for a flavorful and slightly sweet spring salad.
Add a refreshing spring twist to your Easter ham dinner with a fresh fruit salad. You can buy a premade fruit salad at the store if you’re in a rush, but homemade salad isn’t that hard and tastes much better. Dice up oranges, apples and green grapes for a simple and refreshing side. Toss grapes, pineapple, banana, mango and coconut flakes together to create a tropical flavored salad. For a heartier salad, mix pears, apples, celery and walnuts with a creamy dressing.