Vegan Easter Guide
By KD Angle-Traegner / Last Update: March 2020
Easter is a Christian holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The holiday features celebrations with food and family activities such as dyeing eggs, egg hunts, and the gifting of chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, and other confections inside brightly decorated Easter baskets.
Because Easter is so egg-centric, it might be confusing how to create a fun-filled vegan version of all the traditions that make Easter celebrations so special. Don’t worry, I’m here to help.
Want a simple but elegant vegan Easter menu? Vegan Easter chocolates? Vegan jelly beans? Vegan Easter baskets?
Let me show you how.
MIN TO READ
RECIPES TO MAKE
Luckily there are plenty of vegan options to take center stage at holiday gatherings easily found at natural food markets or well-stocked grocery stores. The following plant meats are perfect for the vegan Easter dinner table.
Vegan Ham & Vegan Lamb Brands and Other Meat Alternatives for Easter
We live in the golden age of vegan products; no matter which foods are part of your family traditions, they can be recreated using plant-based alternatives.
Look for these vegan meat alternatives in refrigerated sections of health food stores and well-stocked grocers.
Also, check the freezer section, sometimes the roasts are sold frozen.
Vegan Lamb Alternatives
- Lily’s Vegan Pantry
Do you make a vegan meat alternative that isn’t listed? Contact me.
Vegan Easter Candy & Confections
Living vegan doesn’t mean missing out on the things you love like chocolate Easter bunnies or bags of colorful jelly beans. Today, there are plenty of choices.
Bunny Hutch by Lagusta Luscious
Vegan Easter Chocolate & Confections
Vegan Easter Candy & Vegan Jelly Beans
Sunny Organic Candy Bar, Dreamy Organic Candy Bar
- Clean Candy
Hard candy (6 flavors)
- Cocomel Caramels
Vanilla, Sea Salt, Dark Chocolate Covered Bites, Chocolate Covered Vanilla Bites
- Go Organic
Hard candy (7 flavors), Peppermint Pinwheels, Fruit Chews
- Go Max Go Candy Bars
Mahalo, Jokerz, Twilight, Buccaneer, Snap, Thumbs Up, Cleo Cups
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
- Newman’s Own Licorice
Black, Strawberry, Sour Strawberry, Sour Cherry, Pomegranate
- Oco Candy
Organic Coconut Bar
- St. Claire’s Organics
Fruit Tarts, Herbal Sweets
- Surf Sweets
Delish Fish, Cinnamon Bears, Fruit Chews, Fruity Bears, Sour Worms, Watermelon Rings, Lollipops
Do you make a vegan sweet treat that isn’t listed? Contact me.
Vegan Eggs for Dyeing
Making new cruelty-free traditions has never been easier.
Egg-Free “Eggs” for Decorating
Easter is ubiquitous with pastel colors, and dyeing eggs for Easter is a tradition for many families. Since vegans don’t use animal products, dyeing chicken eggs isn’t an option.
You might be asking yourself, “What’s the big deal? Chickens aren’t killed for eggs!”
It’s a good question.
Here’s the sad reality: Animals do die for eggs. Lots of them.
The Male Chick “Problem”
If there is only one fact that you remember about egg production, let it be this one: Male chicks don’t produce eggs; therefore, they are useless to egg producers.
So, what does that mean exactly? For male chicks, it means culling.
Chick culling is the process of killing newly hatched chicks for which animal agribusiness has no use. Because male chickens do not lay eggs, they are killed shortly after being sexed.
The primary methods of culling are gruesome stuff and differ from region to region.
Asphyxiation is the standard in the United Kingdom, for example. While the United States uses macerating with a high-speed grinder. (1)
Family traditions can be an important part of growing up, and parents might worry that their kids are missing out as wee vegans.
Luckily there are plenty of fun alternatives to help you ditch the chicken eggs while still keeping your treasured family traditions.
Here are a few egg-free eggs that are a great alternative and ideal for vegan Easter baskets or decorated egg plates.
- Unpainted Wooden Eggs
- Homemade Papier Mache Fillable Eggs
- Fillable Soft Fabric Egg
- Salt Dough Easter Eggs
Now, let’s talk about what to use to dye these egg-ternatives (sorry, I couldn’t help myself).
How to Make Homemade Food Coloring
The unofficial colors of Easter are pretty and pastel. Not just limited to eggs, these colors are everywhere you look; from cookies to cakes to cupcakes, too. Generally speaking, these food and drinks get their colors from artificial food colors.
I am not a fan of artificial food colors.
These toxic chemicals masquerading as food, artificial food colors are possible through the wonder of chemistry and the industry of oil drilling. Studies have shown various adverse health effects from ingesting them. And, did you know that artificial food colors undergo animal testing to ensure their safety as a food additive?
Relatedly, animal testing sucks and can yield dangerous results when physicians treat patients using medicine based on the results of these studies.
Artificial Food Colors Are Everywhere
Every time a holiday approaches, the artificial colors go on sale. Magazines, blogs, and videos feature impossibly cute and creative treats made with a variety of unnatural colors achieved through the magic of artificial colors.
There’s a better way; make bright, vivid colors at home.
A Better, Plant-Powered Rainbow
Look at those colors! Yellow, red, purple, green, and even blue. Easy to make, these colors come from everyday ingredients found in your fridge or pantry. Trust me, it’s not complicated or expensive.
Click here for the full step-by-step homemade food coloring tutorial.
Buying Vegan Food Dyes
Here are a few dyes that are colored with vegetable juice or spices, and contain no synthetic dyes.
Color Kitchen Food Colors from Nature
This brand started popping up at my local markets, so I picked up a few packets to test out on my favorite sugar cookies. I’m a fan.
First, the colors come packaged in individual packets, which means I don’t over-buy. Second, the colors mix easily and create beautifully, even colors. I don’t even mind that they’re more pastel than bright. Lastly, they’re budget-friendly. Here’s a 10-pack, Color Kitchen Food Colors from Nature, that makes a perfect starter pack.
McCormick Nature’s Inspiration Food Colors
By far, these colors from McCormick are the cheapest and the most widely available in mainstream grocery stores everywhere. These plant-based powdered colors come in a pack of three colors (Sky Blue, Berry & Sunflower), which you can mix for an infinite amount of color options. And I know this is a small thing, but I really like how they’re packaged in resealable dry powder pouches. That makes for easy storage, and more importantly, easy re-use.
Natural Earth Paints
Natural Earth has a full line of products to choose from. They come in biodegradable packaging made from pure, natural earth and mineral pigments and organic ingredients. This natural egg dye kit is perfect for those who are looking to dye artificial eggs.
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Buying a Real Easter Bunny or Baby Chick
There are many things to consider before bringing home a live animal for children. Here are a few of the most important things to know about living with bunnies and baby chickens to help you make informed choices.
What to Know About Bringing Home an Easter Bunny
The Easter Bunny is perhaps the most well-known holiday character after Santa Claus. Not only is he prominent in many family traditions, but he also makes appearances in Easter baskets everywhere in the form of chocolates or stuffed toys.
Many well-intentioned parents may also bring a real, live Easter bunny home to excited children. While these intentions may have been good, often bringing home a rabbit ends up badly for both the children and the rabbit. Sadly, after cats and dogs, more rabbits are abandonded or surrendered to animal shelters than any other animal.
It’s a Long-Term Commitment
Many people who purchase bunnies at Easter don’t realize that caring for a rabbit is a ten-year commitment. Including:
- house-training (rabbits can be litter box trained)
- bunny-proofing your house (rabbits like to chew on wires, boxes, papers, among other things)
- several hours of daily playtime
- spaying or neutering
Contrary to popular belief, rabbits are not the perfect small animal for children. Rabbits like the ground and become frightened when held or restrained. This fear can lead to kicking and scratching, which can cause injury to whoever is holding them. They also have incredibly fragile spines. If dropped the rabbit could break their back or worse.
Raising Rabbits is a Lot of Hard Work
Caring for a rabbit can be a lot of work. In fact, rabbits can take just as much time, attention and care as a dog or cat would.
Sometimes, when people realize they’re in over their heads, they’ll release their family pet rabbit into the wild. This is an extremely dangerous choice since domestic rabbits are not the same as their cousins and most won’t survive outside on their own.
Because well-intentioned people can unknowingly make bad decisions, it’s important to do plenty of research. Before making a lifelong commitment to a rabbit, take some time to read the information at rabbitron.com.
One last thing: If you’ve done all the research and still want a rabbit, please don’t shop, adopt. Contact your local animal shelter or a rescue organization like Hug-a-Bunny Rabbit Rescue, the House Rabbit Network, or Rabbit Rescue.
Candy-Colored Easter Chicks
Brightly colored newborn chicks might seem like the perfect festive Easter gift for an excited young person, but nothing could be further from the truth.
In reality, dyed chicks is a cruel practice that turns live birds into nothing more than playthings that are quickly discarded by children with short attention spans.
Caring for Baby Chicks
These birds have many of the same needs as rabbits do — plenty of attention, room to roam and roost, veterinary care — and they face many of the same problems, too. Much like rabbits, people can become overwhelmed by the idea of caring for a baby chick as it grows into adult chickens, which can lead to abandonment or worse.
Unfortunately, these young birds have no knowledge or the experience of foraging or evading predators, making death an inevitable possibility. For those that do survive, they can ban together into feral colonies, disrupting native wildlife populations. Once the communities become unmanageable, cities will enact mandatory culling of the birds.
Easter chicks surrendered to animal shelters (if you can find one to take them) don’t fare any better either. In spring, many shelters and humane societies become overburdened, and finding suitable homes for them can be a real challenge.
The sad truth is, many of these chicks will eventually be euthanized because there are not enough adoptive homes for them.
Other Ethical Problems
In addition to the problems of caring for young chicks, the practice of tinting animals is also problematic for other ethical reasons. According to the New York Times, about half of the United States currently have laws against dyeing animals.
The process is unnecessary and invasive.
“You take regular food coloring and inject it into the egg on the 18th day of incubation,” said Peter R. There, a retired poultry rancher who lives outside Lampasas, Texas. “They take 21 days to hatch. Put a little dab of wax on top to cover the hole up, and put it back in the incubator.”
But this is only one method; others are even crueler.
Another tinting process begins with newborn chicks inside a large bucket or container. A worker will pour food dye over the chicks before shaking them — similar to tossing a salad — to obtain an even coat.
Some don’t survive the process, while others sustain injuries like broken bones. None of the birds make it out unscathed from the process.
Please remember, baby chicks might seem like a cute gift, but they grow up into adult chickens who will need time, attention, and veterinary care. Instead of offering children brightly colored chicks as real, live toys choose a cute stuffed toy for their vegan Easter basket instead.
Vegan Easter Recipes
Plan the perfect vegan Easter meal to share with friends or family this holiday with these recipes.
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