It's her special day, so go ahead and serve Mom a delicious meal she's sure to remember.

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Soft Lettuces with Prosciutto, Peas, and Poppy Seeds
Credit: Gentl and Hyers

This Mother's Day, gift the special mom in your life just what she needs: a relaxing meal she can enjoy with family and friends. Bonus points if it's one that you get to enjoy, too. You'll want the menu to feel special, but don't get caught up in the thought that a great meal has to mean a lot of time spent in the kitchen. The key to easy, impressive entertaining is selecting recipes full of vibrant, colorful ingredients and bold flavor pairings.

Start your Mother's Day lunch with a beautiful, crisp green salad studded with sweet peas and draped with prosciutto. As a main course, we chose a recipe that also takes care of the side: slow cooked salmon with golden beets. For a bright finish, bake a fruit-filled crisp, which is so easy to make and can be done entirely ahead off time. To make the meal even more special, mix up a kid-friendly bright orange carrot drink which can be turned into an adults-only beverage with the addition of gin, tequila, or vodka. Continue on for the menu and tips for easy prep.

Soft Lettuces with Prosciutto, Peas, and Poppy Seeds

The formula for a flavorful salad that doesn't need a ton of ingredients is contrasting flavors and textures. Pair salty prosciutto and a creamy, tangy dressing with pops of sweet peas and crunchy lettuce. Sprinkle poppy seeds over the top for even more texture and a little nuttiness. Pair our salad of Soft Lettuces with Prosciutto, Peas, and Poppy Seeds, pictured above, with artisanal cheese, such as the ash ripened goat cheese.

To make your job a little easier on Mother's Day morning, mix the dressing and cook the peas up to three days in advance—just store in airtight containers in the fridge.

Slow-Roasted Salmon Salad with Barley and Golden Beets
Credit: Gentl and Hyers

Slow-Roasted Salmon Salad with Barley and Golden Beets

Slow-roasted salmon is a bit of a misnomer: This dish still cooks much faster than other proteins like chicken and steak, requiring just 20 minutes in the oven to prepare a piece that serves six. Beets, on the other hand, could take a long time to roast in the oven, but we save time by shaving them thin and cooking them on the stovetop. Serve the dish on a bed of barley to round the meal out with a healthy carb. You'll find that our Slow-Roasted Salmon Salad with Barley and Golden Beets is great served straight from the oven or equally delicious at room temperature, so you can prepare it either as guests arrive or a little ahead of time depending on your preference.

Carrot Limeade recipe
Credit: Ren Fuller

Carrot Limeade

A signature drink turns any meal into a celebration. Tangy and bright orange, this alcohol-free Carrot Limeade is fitting for everyone at the table—kids included. For those who might prefer a cocktail, add an ounce of vodka, tequila, or gin to each glass. Look for carrot juice in the refrigerated drink section of your grocery store (most have it these days), or pick some up from a local juice bar.

strawberry-and-apricot-crisp-with-pine-nut-crumble-ma130124.jpg
Credit: John Kernick

Strawberry and Apricot Crisp with Pine-Nut Crumble

A fruit crisp is one of the easiest baked desserts to put together, and they always hit the spot. Our Strawberry and Apricot Crisp with Pine-Nut Crumble is no exception. The butteriness and crunch of the crisp topping comes together without having to get out a mixer and the addition of pine nuts melds so well with the sweet strawberries and apricots in the oven. Crisps and ice cream have an affinity for each other, so while it's not obligatory to serve a scoop of ice cream on top of each portion, we highly recommend it. Bake this dessert in advance and warm it up in the oven before serving or enjoy at room temperature.

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