Today we will take a look at the best dishes from the Dominican Republic that are perfect for Easter, better known in the DR as Lent. These dishes are all incredibly hearty and relatively easy to make, and many can even be made ahead of time.
But before we dive deep into these today, I first felt it’s necessary to explain why many of these are so strongly associated with this period of time.
What Is Lent?
This is a 40-day period that starts on Ash Wednesday. It’s meant to represent the 40 days Jesus Christ spent fasting in the scorching desert while being faced with the temptation of Satan.
While I won’t go into too much about the occasion itself, it’s meant to represent a time of restraint, fasting, and sobriety.
While the restrictions during this modern age aren’t nearly as rigid as they used to be, the historical dishes that used to be served are still popular today, especially during this time.
They are meant to be indulgent, and hearty and bring immense joy. Simultaneously, it is always best to make dishes that are quick, easy, or that can be made ahead of time.
12 Dishes Perfect For Easter From The Dominican Republic
Here are some of my favorite Dominican Republic recipes that can be served during Easter.
If any of these sound irresistible to you, I recommend giving them a couple of practice rounds before the time comes. I’m sure the whole family will love you for it!
1. Habichuelas Con Dulce – A Dominican Easter Staple
Habichuelas Con Dulce is also commonly referred to as Dominican sweet beans. It is one of the best-known traditional Dominican Republic desserts that is made around Easter time. It’s a sweet chilled dessert made from beans and coconut.
To make this dessert, you only need a couple of ingredients. As I’ve mentioned, you can use beans (preferably red beans), coconut milk, batata (sweet potato), evaporated milk, raisins, salt, and sugar. You also have to add a couple of winter or autumn spices, but these vary from recipe to recipe.
This dessert does take some time to make, or at the very least plan. You have to cook the sweet potatoes first, and after the ingredients have been cooked and blended, you need to chill them completely. There are ways to cut back on time, but it’s still not going to be done in 30 minutes.
This refreshing, hearty dessert is often served alongside Sancocho Dominicano, another popular Easter recipe we will look at a little later.
You can make this delicious sweet-savory dessert a couple of days in advance and store it in the fridge.
2. Bacalao Guisado Con Papa (Codfish With Potatoes)
There is a TON of history behind Bacalao – far too much to get into today. So I’ll just give you a brief overview as to what it is and how you make this dish.
Bacalao is the Spanish word for codfish (no matter the form). In the DR, it usually refers to salted and dried codfish.
Today, bacalao is one of the most popular ingredients used during Lent. Furthermore, bacalao dishes quickly became the best-known fish dish as well.
Now, what exactly is bacalao guisado con papa?
This is a codfish stew made with potatoes and green olives (which many believe are a must-add ingredient). The recipe is seasoned with red onions, garlic, bell peppers, tomatoes, and parsley.
It’s a VERY simple dish, relatively inexpensive to make from scratch, and packed with delicious savory, hearty flavors.
There are many different versions you can make depending on the region you are getting the recipe from. But the basis for all of them remains the same.
You don’t have to serve bacalao guisado con papa with anything. However, I love adding some flatbread to wipe up the delicious meaty juices from the plate.
3. Chacá (Corn Pudding)
This is definitely a dish that you will find at any Dominican Easter celebration! Also often referred to as “Maiz Caquiao,” this is a type of cracked corn pudding.
This is a dish that is also very cheap to make and can be served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
Now, while the traditional method of making chacá takes a while, the more modern method is much simpler. You can buy pre-made cracked corn or substitute it with dry golden hominy. The cracker corn will need to be soaked and cooked to soften.
Then, you will also need rice, water, milk, cinnamon, and cloves. Once the ingredients are cooked together, they are seasoned with butter, salt, sugar, and raisins.
You should serve your chacá chilled for the best flavor and texture of this dish! Again, this is one of the simplest, yet most flavorful and filling recipes we will cover today. Make sure that when you do prepare this dish, you make enough to last you a week! It’s simply irresistible!
4. Buñuelos De Yuca For A Dominican Easter
To clarify, “buñuelos de yuca” refers to the Dominican version of a better-known Spanish dish, “buñuelos de viento.” Obviously, seeing as this is a DR recipe list, we won’t be making the Spanish version.
So, what makes this recipe special? The Dominican recipes are made from cassava beignets served with spiced wintery syrup. In my opinion, it’s WAY more flavorful than the better-known option.
But how do you make it? I’m not going to lie, this recipe does take some time as most fried recipes do. It’s not very difficult to do, but it is a lot.
First, you need to make a cassava (yuca) batter. Once the batter is made, it needs to be rested in the fridge for about 3 hours. During this time, you can make the spiced syrup.
Pro Tip: chill the yuca batter in the freezer for 20 minutes or so. It saves a ton of time!
Once the batter is chilled significantly, you can scoop up a dollop of batter and place it directly in the hot oil. This will make beautifully fried fritters.
To serve, you can drizzle over a spiced syrup while the balls are still hot. Usually, you will season the syrup with cloves, cinnamon, star anise, and cardamom.
5. Bacalaítos (Codfish Fritters)
See? I told you codfish is popular for Easter dishes in the Dominican Republic. It truly is a staple! And as previously mentioned, this dish also uses salted bacalao (codfish).
For making fritters, you usually need to desalt the codfish. You can check out this guide which showed me how the process works. This is a lengthy process but relatively hands-off.
Making the fritters is pretty easy. You will need basic fritter ingredients like eggs, milk, sugar, and cornstarch.
Then, for added flavor, you can also incorporate some onions, herbs, garlic, bell peppers, and seasonings (pepper, chili, etc).
Once you made your fritter dough, you can fry them in a little bit of oil until they become golden brown and crispy.
6. Sopa De Pescado (Traditional Fish Head Soup)
Making fish head soup is one of the best ways to utilize a whole fish without wasting any part. You can use the tail, fins, and bones to make stock or broth as well.
This soup is PACKED with incredibly umami, savory, and hearty flavors. And the main reason is the type of meat you use, aka., the head of the fish.
This soup usually includes other flavorings like garlic, lime, cilantro, carrots, salt, and pepper. To bulk it up, most people add potatoes, auyama (a West Asian pumpkin), and fish fillets.
The type of fish you use is entirely up to you. I prefer using less expensive but still flavorful cuts because it isn’t served fried or grilled.
I like to strain the soup to remove bones and any large hard pieces. You can return any larger meaty bits to the soup so that it’s still bulked up.
This soup is also usually served on its own. But a flatbread or salad will never hurt anybody! And you can check out my site for MANY delicious options.
More Delicious Dominican Dishes
7. Mala Rabia (Guava In Plantain Syrup)
Don’t be confused by the name, which you may notice translates to “bad rage.” To this day, I am still not sure where it comes from.
But you will be happy to know that despite the confusing name, this is one of the most delicious Dominican preserves I’ve ever had! And, unfortunately, it is extremely underrated!
So, what is it? Simply put, it’s extremely ripe plantain and prepared guava fruits (flesh only) that are preserved in seasoned sugar syrup. Some people also add sweet potato for an earthy undertone.
Another element that makes this recipe unique is that some people like adding milk, evaporated milk, or condensed milk after the fruits have cooked. This makes it creamier and gives it a less sticky mouth feel.
You can use the preserved fruits over Western desserts like vanilla ice cream, custard pudding, or even Panna Cotta. But it also makes a great sweet snack on its own.
8. Bacalao Con Huevo (Codfish With Egg)
Bacalao Con Huevo is a popular dish in the Dominican Republic, especially during Easter time. It is a flavorful and hearty dish that can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
To make Bacalao Con Huevo, you start by soaking the salted codfish overnight to remove the excess salt. Then you boil the codfish until it is tender and flaky.
Next, you sauté onions, garlic, bell pepper, and tomatoes in a large pot until they are soft and fragrant. These form the bases of all recipes, along with some basic seasonings like salt and pepper.
Once the vegetables are cooked, you add the flaked codfish to the pot and stir everything together. Then you crack eggs over the mixture and stir gently until the eggs are cooked to your liking. Finally, you season with salt and pepper to taste.
Bacalao Con Huevo can be served with tostones, which are fried plantain slices, mashed yautía, which is a starchy root vegetable similar to taro, and boiled yuca, which is a starchy tuber with a mild flavor.
A traditional Dominican Sancocho stew consists of 7 types of meat. That’s part of the reason it’s only for special occasions, like Lent.
While 7 kinds of meat do sound a little excessive, today you only have to use between 2 and 4 kinds. Usually, they include a combination of beef, pork, lamb, and chicken.
You can, of course, use any kind of meat that you’d like. But try to stay away from fatty cuts. The fat will render during the cooking process and rise to the top of the stew. While it’s easy to skim off, it’s more work than it needs to be.
Along with the meat, there are several popular vegetables that are added for heartiness and flavor. These include anything like corn, cassava, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkins, or unripe green plantains. You can even add Dominican sausage too (but it would technically form part of the meat list).
Seasonings are usually very basic and can include coriander, parsley, oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper.
10. Easter Dominican Tostones
This is a savory treat you would have likely seen several times on my blog. As I mentioned in my Dominican fried salami with tostones recipe, tostones are one of the easiest and most delicious snacks you can make. And coincidentally, it’s one of the most popular side dishes for a lot of today’s Lent recipes.
Tostones are twice-fried green (unripe) plantain slices. What makes them so great is that they provide a relatively neutral flavor that serves as a vessel for other dishes.
Making tostones from scratch is also incredibly easy. And, you don’t even have to fry them inside a deep fryer. An air fryer will work equally well! Just remember to brush the plantain slices with some olive oil to give them color.
So, first, you can slice the plantain into roughly 1/2-inch slices before frying them for two or three minutes. Remove them, flatten them with a fork, and fry them again. This makes them super crunchy and helps the sugars caramelize to make a savory-sweet snack.
You can also use the plain flavor profile and season the plantain chips with a spice mix of your own. Just make sure it works with the accompanying Dominican Easter dishes you are serving it with.
11. Yaniqueques As A Dominican Easter Side Dish
Imagine these flat cakes as being the Dominican version of traditional French crepes. They are also much smaller in diameter.
Yaniqueques are thin, fluffy, yet crispy treats that are commonly served on the street and at fancier restaurants.
You can also make them savory or sweet, savory being the more popular option that functions in a similar way flatbread does.
You can also serve them flat (as-is) or fill them with whatever you’d like. This instantly transforms them into more of a turnover or wrap. And the best part is that there is no set type of filling for these. You can use whatever you want!
That’s exactly why it’s extremely popular on a spread during Lent.
12. Morir Soñando
Morir Soñando is an extremely refreshing traditional Dominican drink that is very quick to make. But that’s only one of the reasons it’s popular for special occasions like weddings, birthdays, and, of course, Dominican Easter gatherings.
This beverage has many versions, but there are only a few that can be seen as truly authentic.
For this recipe, you would need milk, orange juice, and flavorings like vanilla and sugar, that’s pretty much it!
You can use regular milk substitutes, like almond milk, coconut milk, or soy milk. And for the orange juice, always make sure that you squeeze it fresh. This will give you the healthiest version of this juice with the least amount of artificial ingredients.
You can serve this drink with or without ice and make enough to last you a couple of days.