Food

Why you should absolutely host a big spring feast and how to do it with ease

The tips, the recipes and the case for a spring fling!

The tips, the recipes and the case for a spring fling!

(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

This article was originally published March 7, 2018 and was updated April 24, 2019.

The lightness in your step and abundance of energy you may feel when those crocuses pop up is no accident. Spring fever affects our mood and maybe even our biological clock. If an early case of spring fever has you thinking of hosting a feast to celebrate, let us be the first to encourage you to do it. Winter can get almost everybody down at some point. We've been cooped up for months, guilty of tucking under the TV-room blanket rather than braving the cold to get out and see friends. It's a time of year when many of us are unhappy with our bodies (winter weight gain IS a thing), and the lack of daylight hours can be harsh on happiness. Can you blame us for looking forward to spring?

Hosting a feast gives everyone an opportunity to shake from winter's stronghold. Bringing people together encourages real social connections, which are essential to our well-being. It'll also motivate you to get that spring cleaning done early! Nothing like clearing out the hall closet and even those coils behind your fridge to help you feel on top of things. Celebrating the change of seasons can be simple too, even if you are hosting a holiday feast. Here are some tips for making it easy breezy.

Make a workback schedule

Take the time to plan your menu and make a list of all the extra tasks you need to conquer before the big day and you'll be so glad you did. Mark a calendar with little things to do each day in the two-week lead up to the party. A plan helps keep you on track and efficient and gets all of those nagging details out of your head.

Reach out early to your guests and take inventory of any dietary restrictions

Always build a vegetarian option into your menu that will satisfy meat lovers too — even meat-eaters don't want to eat meat all the time. We've got some great suggestions below to help with that. And if you're cooking for kids too, you can easily modify what you're already making to suit picky eaters. Setting out mini buns beside the ham for sandwiches is always a good way to get everybody eating something.

Delegate!

By hosting a feast, you're also assuming the position of organizer and — don't be shy — BOSS. "Bring your favourite dish," is an invitation, not a punishment, and guests generally like feeling useful and being told how to help. Easy tasks like bringing ice or assembling a cheese or fruit plate are all good ones to give away.

Make as many dishes as you can ahead of time

Get a head start on mashed potatoes, quiche, or even this grain salad. Finding a do-ahead dessert is even easier. Panna Cotta, cheesecake or a show-stopping ice cream pie can all be made ahead, freeing up time and oven space on feast day.

Now for the menu. Keep that simple too! We suggest choosing one appetizer, two sides, one meat main, one veg main, and one dessert from the list below. Many of these can be made ahead, and all of them will help you feast with ease.

Pick one of these appetizers:

Honey Roasted Pear & Ricotta Crostini

(CBC Life)

Spice-Roasted Carrot Hummus

Parsnip Pancakes with Lobster and Salsa Verde

Pick two of these sides:

Broccoli Walnut Slaw with Ginger Lemon Tahini Dressing

(Photography by Debi Traub)

Lemon Dijon Snow Peas

(CBC Life)

Potato Salad Prima Vera

Pick one of these meat- or fish-based mains:

Cider and Mustard Braised Lamb Shanks

(CBC Life)

Pork Loin Roast with Spicy Spring Chimichurri

(CBC Life)

Salmon Brandade

(Photography by Ellen Silverman)

Pick one of these vegetarian mains:

Spring Vegetable Quiche

Cauliflower Steak with Crispy Chickpeas and Broccolini

(Image: Dennis The Prescott)

Roasted Eggplant with Baked Eggs

(Credit: Kyla Zanardi)

Anna Olson's Mushroom and Brie Wellington 

(Photo credit: Janis Nicolay)

Pick one of these desserts:

The Easiest Mango Vanilla Mousse

(Credit: Nassima Rothacker)

Ice Box Lemon Squares

(CBC Life)

Dark Chocolate Mud Pie


Jessica Brooks is a digital producer and pro-trained cook and baker. Follow her food stories on Instagram @brooks_cooks.

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