Make Mom Lunch Not Brunch with Our Marvelous Mostly Make-Ahead Menu

She'll love this colorful spring meal and you'll love that you get everything prepped so easily.

pomegranate-and-pink-grapefruit punch
Photo: Nico Schinco

This Mother's Day, focus on lunch not brunch for Mom. Using our marvelous mostly make-ahead menu, means you won't spending all morning cooking and instead can just relax and focus on a few final touches like topping off a fruity punch with bubbly, putting out colorful dips with beautiful crudités, tossing the salmon-and-snap-pea salad you prepped ahead with a zippy vinaigrette, and slicing into a multi-layered no-bake, no-fuss strawberry-and cream-cake. Light, bright, and full of flavor, this colorful menu is both beautiful to look at and satisfying. Not to mention so fresh, Mom won't know you prepared the majority of it the day before. For our menu and make ahead tips, read on.

Pomegranate-and-Pink-Grapefruit Punch

A delightful trio of juices—grapefruit, lychee, and pomegranate—combine with fresh basil in our Pomegranate-and-Pink-Grapefruit Punch, a beautiful sunset-hued drink. Each glass can be served as is or topped off with sparkling white or rosé wine. Prepare the grapefruit-lychee mixture up to two days in advance right in the pitcher, cover and refrigerate letting the flavors meld. Just hold off on the ice and pomegranate juice drizzle, which lends the beverage its layered appearance and should be added right before serving.

Julia Gartland

Beet-and-Tahini Dip

Start the meal with this delightful hummus-inspired Beet-and-Tahini Dip. Here, red or golden beets stand in for the typical chickpeas creating vibrant color and rich sweet, earthy flavor. Roast the beets and blend the dip up to five days in advance, storing it in airtight containers in the refrigerator. If you want to prepare both a red and yellow version, like we did in the photo, make sure to roast the two different color beets in separate foil packets. Serve with lots of crisp vegetables and crackers.


Grilled-Salmon Salad

The key to fantastic salads isn't a laundry list of ingredients, instead it's a few well selected ones with varied flavors and textures. With just eight ingredients, our Nicoise-inspired Grilled-Salmon Salad proves just that point. Grilled salmon, sugar snap peas, boiled eggs, and potatoes are combined with a Dijon vinaigrette, all of which can be prepped up to two days in advance of the lunch and stored separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator. Bring the dressing to room temperature and shake to make sure it is combined before tossing everything with the watercress or other greens just moments before serving.

strawberries-and-cream stack cake topped with fresh strawberries
Chris Simpson

Strawberries-and-Cream Stack Cake

Finish off the perfect Mother's day lunch with an upgrade to a classic spring duo, strawberries and cream. This gorgeous Strawberries-and-Cream Stack Cake hits notes of tiramisu and strawberry shortcake. It's made by layering everything with caramel dipped ladyfinger cookies and it tastes better made ahead—an overnight chill melds the flavors in this no-bake cake and creates an irresistible light and fluffy texture.

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