Easter Dinner Ideas with a Latin Twist
Two Easy Easter Dinner Recipes
Lunch or Dinner
Recipe #1 Mojo Pork Lettuce
There is nothing like enjoying a mouth watery mojo pork lettuce wrap. Pork is nested in a lettuce wrap topped with fresh cilantro and crunchy pickles.
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons Ground Cumin
- 2 teaspoons Ground Pepper
- Salt, to taste
- 3 juice Limes
- 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Fresh Cilantro
- 6-8 pounds Pork Shoulder, boneless
- Fresh Pickles, optional
- Butter Lettuce, loosen leaves and set aside
Step by Step Instructions
For the Mojo: Combine garlic, cumin, pepper, salt, lime juice, and olive oil in a large bowl and whisk. Taste and make sure you are happy with the amount of salt.
Transfer half of mojo to a sealed container and reserve in the refrigerator.
Add pork to the remaining mojo and turn to coat. Refrigerate 2 hours or up to overnight before continuing.
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 275°F.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Place pork and juices on top and fold up foil, crimping to seal loosely but making sure that there is room for air to circulate inside.
Place in the oven and roast for 4 hours. Fold back foil, increase oven temperature to 325°F, and continue roasting, basting pork with pan juices occasionally.
Add 2 hours until pork shows almost no resistance when a metal skewer or knife is inserted into it and the surface is crackly and brown.
Remove the pork from the oven and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
Pull it apart. Add reserved mojo to pork drippings, along with fresh chopped cilantro.
Serve over butter lettuce wraps. Top with small pickles (if desired) and fresh cilantro. Enjoy!
For my mojo pork recipe, I used a boneless pork shoulder. You can also use a pork tenderloin and create a pull pork, or a sirloin pork roast. Boneless or bone-in is not an issue for this recipe. What matters most is the seasoning and the cooking process.
Make sure you cover your meat with aluminum foil to keep the juices in and use low temperature for an extended period of time. Here are some of my favorite baking dishes for this meal. This is a slow cooking recipe, but oh so worth it!
Lunch or Dinner
Recipe #2 Siracha Grilled Chicken Taco Bowls with Creamy Avocado Sauce
Grilled chicken marinated with a sriracha, honey and garlic sauce served in a taco bowl drizzled with a creamy avocado sauce is the perfect way to end any day.
- 8 Flour Tortillas, I used Guerrero Tortillas
- 2 Chicken Breasts, without bone, split in half
- Salt and Ground Pepper, for seasoning
- 3 tablespoons Sriracha
- 2 cloves garlic, minced, or paste
- 2 tablespoons of Honey
- 2 cups Green Lettuce, I used Romaine Lettuce
- 2 medium Carrots, cut into matchsticks
- 1 medium Red Onion, thinly sliced
Creamy Avocado Sauce
- 1 Avocado, peeled and pitted
- 1/2 cup Sour Cream
- 1 juice Lime
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup Fresh Cilantro
- Salt and Ground Pepper, to taste
Step by Step Instructions
Turn muffin pan upside down.
Spray each tortilla with a cooking spray.
Nestle a tortilla in the space between 4 cups to form a “bowl.” Repeat with 3 more tortillas, making 4 bowls in total.
Bake until firm and beginning to brown, for about 10 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining 4 tortillas.
Creamy Avocado Sauce
Place all the ingredients in a food processor or blender.
Process until smooth and creamy consistency, stopping to scrape down the sides a few times.
Keep in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks.
Sriracha Grilled Chicken
Combine the honey, sriracha, and garlic together. Set aside part of the sriracha sauce, about 1 1/2 tablespoons. Add the remaining to the chicken and let stand for 15 minutes (or up to 1 hour) to marinate.
Prep lettuce, carrots, and onion. Set it aside.
Grill the chicken for about five minutes per side. Once grilled, let them sit for 5 minutes before cutting them into strips.
Grab a taco bowl, assemble with some lettuce, carrot sticks, grilled chicken strips, drizzle some creamy avocado sauce and some honey sriracha garlic sauce.
Repeat until you have made all 8 taco bowls.
Several of my uncles grow avocado trees in Puerto Rico and we enjoy them when they are ripe and ready to eat. Avocados are an integrated part of our meals. Imagine a slice of avocado sprinkled with sea salt between a piece of bread. It is a great snack.
Those thoughts take me back to my mom’s kitchen, that is why I always try to include avocados in our family meals. Cooking Easter dinner with some of my mom’s favorite spices and flavors takes us all back to our Latin culture.
Tips and Tricks to Give Eastern Dinner a Latin Twist
1. Sauces: Introduce sauces that represent your culture and the flavors your upbringing. As seen above we made a Creamy Avocado Sauce, which brings back many memories of the delicious and juicy avocados from my uncle’s avocado tree farm.
Sauces that Enhance Latin Flavors
- Chimichurri Sauce. An Argentinean sauce or condiment, similar to pesto popular throughout South America. This basic version uses fresh parsley, oregano, garlic, oil and vinegar and a little bit of chili pepper, though the variations on this theme are endless.
- Mojo. In Cuban cooking, mojo applies to any sauce that is made with garlic, olive oil or pork lard, and a citrus juice, traditionally bitter orange juice. It is commonly used to flavor the cassava tuber and is also used to marinate roast pork.
- MayoKetchup or Fry Sauce. To make what is known as Puerto-Rican Fry Sauce or mayoketchup, you need about equal part mayonnaise and ketchup. But what makes our “mayoketchup” dip unique is that you can add more ingredients to make the flavor unique. Perfect for Easter side dishes.
To create this ketchup and mayonnaise dip, you are going to need the following ingredients: mayonnaise, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder.
2. Sofrito: Latin flavor all in just one blend. This aromatic blend of vegetables, herbs, and spices is easy to make. Sofrito comes together by combining a few fresh ingredients that are staples in Latin American and Caribbean households. It is very practical and a time saver when it comes to making delicious stews, soups, and meats. It is also a great option for vegetarians to add flavor to dishes like beans and grains, pasta or even roasted or sauteed vegetables. You are probably writing down some Easter dinner ideas with sofrito as a seasoning. I can relate.
It is traditionally made with garlic, peppers, culantro, cilantro, onions, olive oil, and some salt. Other ingredients that are used in an authentic sofrito are cubanelle pepper and ajicitos gustoso (which are sweet small peppers).
3. Sazon Seasoning: Sazón gives Spanish and Latin rice dishes their traditional yellow color and signature flavor. Homemade Sazón Seasoning is an easy-to-make alternative to the store-bought packets that eliminates MSG and lets you control the salt. Ideal for homemade chicken & rice, a variety of Latin dishes, and as a dry spice rub.
Sazon is traditionally store bought, but to make a homemade version all you need is ground cumin, powder garlic, coriander, ground annatto (achiote), salt and ground black pepper.
4. Fresh herbs: When I think of a fresh herb I use and go back to over and over for my main dishes at home. Cilantro features distinctive, jagged leaves and a strong flavor that is often present in Mexican dishes, but the fresh herb pairs well with a variety of foods. Try cilantro in soups, on sandwiches, in sauces and in your casseroles.
Growing your own cilantro gives you constant access to fresh leaves. Here are some easy indoor gardening tips and how to start an indoor garden and save money. If you purchase your cilantro at the store, however, avoid leaves and stems that are limp, wilted, or uneven in color. Use the cilantro right away for the best flavor.
5. Dry spices: Dry spices like cumin, garlic powder, and ground pepper are important spices in Latin America. Usually toasted before grinding. Whole seeds are best as ground cumin, for example, rapidly loses flavor and aroma.
6. Aromatic dry herbs: Home cooks add bay leaf and sprigs of herbs to stock, which in turn becomes the essential liquid stirred into mole, rice, and guisados.
Different herbs are also blended into soups, stews, beans, and moles. This does not count the fresh herbs that also flavor soups, beans, and other savory dishes. We love having at hand a mix of thyme, marjoram, bay leaves, and oregano. These herbs, which are used either fresh or dried, make an appearance in almost every savory dish.
Spices and marinades, whether mild or hot, play a key part in making Latin foods both distinctive and tasty. And what would Latin food be without colorful, tasty, and healthful produce?
Please note that even though I am mostly referring to Puerto Rico as it is my native country- Latin food is the umbrella name we ultimately use when refering to the Caribbean islands, South and Central America, including Mexico.
Any dish you have enjoyed can be given a twist of your choice to bring out those flavors you long for from your childhood memories. These Easter dinner ideas are a great example of that.