Mother’s Day Luncheon
Mother’s Day is all about showering your mom with love, and what better way to do it than with a beautiful homemade lunch spread? Cooking for mom allows you to have full control over the menu, so you can avoid her dislikes and play to all her favorite flavors. We’ve gathered some of our most popular springtime recipes to choose from, all of which highlight in-season produce and can be served at any time of day. They’re also all perfect for outdoor dining, so if you can, serve this feast on the porch, complete with coffee, mimosas, and of course the Minty Moscow Mule Punch. Most of the recipes can be made in advance, too, which will save you from day-of stress. The Niçoise Pasta Salad, for example, only gets better as it marinates in the fridge, and the salad dressings are easy to prepare the day before. Additionally, don’t hesitate to enlist your siblings, your husband or wife, your father, or whoever else is coming for lunch to help you out in the kitchen. Mom will be thrilled to see the whole family spending time together, and the kitchen is one of the best places to bond. And don’t worry too much about how you’re going to present the spread. The dishes are so vibrant, they speak for themselves. The grapefruit salad is bursting with oranges and ruby reds, the frittata screams “spring” with its gorgeous green veggies, and both of the cakes are studded with vibrant pink and red fruits.
Bibb Salad With Basil-Buttermilk Dressing
Bibb lettuce is the perfect tender green for the creamy herbaceous dressing, which is just the right amount of tart thanks to the buttermilk. A sprinkling of fresh basil and green onion give the salad balance, the radish adds a bit of bite, and the walnuts provide a rich finish. In fact, the nuts are one of our favorite parts of this dish—they’re perfectly crunchy, and a nice foil for the dressing. If you can find it, use full-fat buttermilk, not just for the full-bodied flavor, but for its velvety texture. Traveling with the salad? Prep the components at home and keep them separate, then toss the lettuces and radishes with the dressing upon arrival. Garnish with walnuts, and drizzle more dressing over the top. Finish with fresh basil.
Get the recipe: Bibb Salad With Basil-Buttermilk Dressing
Niçoise Pasta Salad
This lovely dish tastes just like the classic Niçoise salad, but in pasta form. The dressing strikes a balance between sweet and tart, and pairs deliciously with the pickled beans and radishes. Use your favorite pickled green beans—we like the spicy ones—and invest in nice jarred tuna packed in oil (you’ll taste the difference). To ensure a perfectly-cooked soft boiled egg, plunge the eggs quickly into an ice bath to stop the cooking process as soon as they come out of the pot. If there are leftovers, use the extra dressing the following day to brighten them up.
Get the recipe: Niçoise Pasta Salad
Grapefruit, Beet, and Radish Salad
You’re just four ingredients away (plus a dash of salt and pepper) from a show-stopping salad your mom is sure to love. For the most vibrant color, use a ruby red or red grapefruit (pink can get muted by the other bright ingredients). Or, switch it up and use blood oranges instead of grapefruit, and pink beets instead of yellow. The possibilities are endless! When buying beets at the store, look for ones with the greens still attached, a sign that they are fresh. Older beets tend to dry out and lose some of their color. The crunch from the radishes (look for watermelon radishes, which have a green exterior and bright pink interior) is great against the juicy citrus.
Get the recipe: Grapefruit, Beet, and Radish Salad
Minty Moscow Mule Punch
This crowd-pleasing cocktail is the only one you need on your Mother’s Day table. It’s refreshing, smooth, and not overly sweet, and it will taste delicious on a warm spring day. To make it extra-special, freeze ginger beer in ice cube trays and serve with the punch. Not only is this a fun party trick, it also keeps the cocktails from getting watered down as the ice melts. If your mom prefers vodka, feel free to substitute it for the gin. To perk up mint before using it as a garnish, plunge it into an ice bath. You’ll be surprised at how bright it becomes.
Get the recipe: Minty Moscow Mule Punch
Spring Vegetable Frittata
If you’re hosting the luncheon, you’re likely looking for ways to get some of the prep work done in the few days leading up to Mother’s Day. Good news: all of the veggies in this stunning spring frittata can be chopped the day before. That’s right: trim and chop the asparagus and broccoli, and wash and dry the watercress. The rest comes together quickly the day-of. Does your mom prefer bell pepper to tomatoes? Feel free to swap it in. No matter what direction you go in, the frittata pairs well with any salads and carb-y items you’re serving. For some extra oomph, add ⅓ cup crumbled bacon into the mix. It goes deliciously with the creamy goat cheese.
Get the recipe: Spring Vegetable Frittata
These crispy latkes hold together well and fry like a dream—meaning they're easy enough for new or intimated fryers. They are a flavorful base for salty smoked salmon, tangy crème fraiche and bright dill. You can vary up the toppings to your mom’s liking: try cinnamon and applesauce, or sour cream in place of the crème fraiche. To ensure you achieve maximum crispiness, make sure you squeeze out as much liquid as possible from the potato and onion mixture. To do so, wrap the shredded veggies in a couple layers of paper towel, and squeeze. You’ll be happy you did when you see those crispy brown edges.
Get the recipe: Turnip Latkes
Strawberry Almond Cornmeal Cake
This spring treat is the ultimate snacking loaf, and leftovers can be toasted and spread with butter throughout the week ahead. It’s not too sweet, which means you’ll still want a bite after filling up on lunch. We love the combination of almond flour and cornmeal (you can sub instant polenta), which sets it apart from a traditional vanilla loaf cake. It’s also an unexpected way to use sweet May strawberries, which pair nicely with the nutty almond flour. Just before baking, you’ll sprinkle the cake with sugar, which results in a sugary crust that adds a delicious crunch.
Get the recipe: Strawberry Almond Cornmeal Cake
Rhubarb Upside- Down Cake
In this gorgeous dessert, a buttery, tender cake gets topped with soft, juicy fruit for a satisfying combination of flavor and texture. Don’t worry if a full pound of fruit looks like it won’t fit in the pan—it shrinks as it bakes, resulting in a perfectly plump cake. While it’s best served warm the day it's made, it will still be tasty Monday morning. It’s a great way to use peak-season rhubarb, and the vibrant color can’t be matched by any other fruit. However, frozen rhubarb, thawed and drained, can be used instead of fresh. Serve with strawberry or vanilla ice cream.
Get the recipe: Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake