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.

QUICK FACTS

CATEGORY
Holiday

MIN TO READ
15

RECIPES TO MAKE
72

Shopping Guide

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.

Two hands holding a plate of Tofurky Ham and vegetables.

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 Ham Alternatives
Vegan Lamb Alternatives
Vegan Holiday Roasts

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. 

An advertisement for the Natural Candy Store. Features a picture of colorful foil wrapped eggs.
vegan easter candy

Vegan Easter Candy & Vegan Jelly Beans

  • Amy’s
    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
  • Surf Sweets
    Delish Fish, Cinnamon Bears, Fruit Chews, Fruity Bears, Sour Worms, Watermelon Rings, Lollipops
  • Yum Earth
    Organic Lollipops, Organic Hard Candy, Organic Fruit Snacks, Organic Licorice, Organic Sour Twists, and Organic Sour Beans

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)

A wooden basket with a green bow filled with wooden eggs sitting on a wooden table.
Egg Alternatives

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.

Now, let’s talk about what to use to dye these egg-ternatives (sorry, I couldn’t help myself).

A variety of bowls and jars with various homemade food dyes in them (red, green, yellow, blue, purple).

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?

It’s true.

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.

I bought this McCormick Nature’s Inspiration Food Colors pack for these unicorn sugar cookies, and I love how vivid the colors turned out. I would absolutely buy these again.

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.

Disclosure: This article may contain affiliate links. I earn from qualifying purchases. See my Affiliate Policy for more details.

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.

Bunny rabbit on the grass.

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.

A close up of a box of brightly-colored chicks.

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.

Serving plates, bowls with salads and vegetables dishes, eucalyptus flowers on pink shabby background.

How to Plan a Vegan Easter Meal

This guide contains more than 72 delicious vegan Easter recipes perfect for any holiday table. And for the culinary-inclined, I’ve also included a full menu of homemade candies and confections that’ll show off those cooking skills.

Every recipe listed has notations for specific dietary needs, please see the legend below.

  • Gluten-Free Recipes = GF
  • Gluten-Free Option = GFO
  • Soy-Free Recipes = SF
  • Raw Recipes = R

Browse, scroll, or select from the following categories to plan your meal: Brunch, Appetizers, Mains, Sides, Desserts, and DIY chocolates & candies.

Vegan Brunch Recipes for Easter

Gluten-free Recipes = GF  •  Gluten-Free Option Recipes = GFO  •  Soy Free Recipes = SF  •  Raw Recipes = R

  1. Vegan Hot Cross Buns
    Delightful Adventures
  1. Carrot Cake Waffles w/Maple Cream Cheese
    Keepin’ It Kind
  1. Sweet Cinnamon Rolls
    Connoisseurus Veg
  1. Tofu Chickpea Quiche
    Yup It’s Vegan
  1. Vegan “Egg” Cups
    Bear Plate
  1. Easter Smoothie (R)
    Vegan Dollhouse
  1. Vegan Breakfast Skillet (GFO)
    Make it Dairy Free
  1. No-Bake Almond Butter & Strawberry Jam Breakfast Bars (GF + SF)
    Blissful Basil
  1. Blueberry Oat Flour Waffles (GF + SF)
    Feasting on Fruit
  1. Vegetable Frittata (GF)
    Sunnyside Hanne
  1. Tempeh Maple Breakfast Sausage Patties
    The Curious Chickpea
  1. Tomato & Spinach Tart
    Veganosity

Vegan Appetizer Recipes for Easter

Gluten-free Recipes = GF  •  Gluten-Free Option Recipes = GFO  •  Soy Free Recipes = SF  •  Raw Recipes = R

  1. Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip (GF + SF option)
    Yummy Mummy Kitchen
  1. Easter Egg Hummus Toasts (SF)
    Fork & Beans
  1. Olive Tapenade (GF+SF)
    Fried Dandelions
  1. Carrot & Coriander Fritters (GFO + SF)
    Thinly Spread
  1. Spring Pea Hummus (GF + SF)
    Veggie Desserts
  1. Cucumber Slices w/Smoky Sunflower Seed Pâté (GF + SF)
    Kitchen Treaty
  1. Cheese Hedgehog
    Vegan Dollhouse
  1.  
  1.  
  1.  
  1.  
  1.  

Main Dish Recipes for Easter

Gluten-free Recipes = GF  •  Gluten-Free Option Recipes = GFO  •  Soy Free Recipes = SF  •  Raw Recipes = R

  1. Vegan Mushroom Wellington
    Veggie Society 
  1. Carrot Pizza w/Carrot Pizza Sauce
    Veggie Desserts
  1.  
  1.  
  1.  
  1.  

Side Dish Recipes for Easter

Gluten-free Recipes = GF  •  Gluten-Free Option Recipes = GFO  •  Soy Free Recipes = SF  •  Raw Recipes = R

  1. Double Cream Cheese Smashed Potatoes (SF)
    Your Daily Vegan
  1. Roasted Beet Salad w/Dukkah (GF + SF)
    Happy Hearted Kitchen
  1. Spring Greens, Leek, Peas & Pesto Risotto (GF + SF)
    Cupful of Kale
  1.  
  1.  
  1.  
  1.  
  1.  
  1.  
  1.  
  1.  

Vegan Dessert Recipes for Easter

Gluten-free Recipes = GF  •  Gluten-Free Option Recipes = GFO  •  Soy Free Recipes = SF  •  Raw Recipes = R

  1. Wild Berry Tart (SF)
    Green Kitchen Stories
  1. Lime & Coconut Cake (GFO + SF)
    A Virtual Vegan
  1. Lemon Millet Bliss Balls (GF + SF)
    Feasting on Fruit
  1. Triple Chocolate Bundt Cake (SF)
    My Darling Vegan
  1. Lemon Coconut Doughnuts (GFO + SF)
    Connoisseurus Veg
  1. Pistachio & Orange Blossom Avocado Cake (R)
    Unconventional Baker
  1. Vegan Custard Puff Pastry Napoleon (SF)
    Veggie Society
  1. Bite-Size Coconut Macaroon Nests (GF + SF)
    Plant Crush
  1. Lemon Poppyseed Loaf (GF +SF)
    Sweet Simple Vegan
  1. Olive Oil Cake with Lemon 
    My Darling Vegan
  1.  
  1.  

Vegan DIY Candies & Confections

Gluten-free Recipes = GF  •  Gluten-Free Option Recipes = GFO  •  Soy Free Recipes = SF  •  Raw Recipes = R

  1. Avantgarde Easter Chocolate Eggs (GF)
    When Sweet Becomes Healthy
  1. Easter Bunny Treats (GF + R)
    When Sweet Becomes Healthy
  1. Almond Joy & Reese’s Copycat Vegan Eggs
    Veganosity
  1.  
  1.  
  1.  

Truth in Advertising

I am committed to providing accurate information to the vegan community. Meticulously researched, the topic explored in this article contains knowledge available at the time of publishing. Reviews and updates happen when new material becomes available.

Please contact me if you find incorrect data.

Sources

  1. Wikipedia. (2018). Chick Culling. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chick_culling

Photo Credit

Colorful Baby Chicks | Scott Ashkenaz
Tulips | Thinkstock

Product photos via product manufacturers.
Recipe photos via recipe authors; used with written permission.