Make the Most of Spring Vegetables
Spring is a great time to take advantage of the colorful greens and vegetables that are in season this time of year as a way to add a healthy punch to your plate.
Pasta Shells with Spring Vegetables
Pea tendrils, the tender tips of pea vines that taste just like the peas, make an unexpected and charming garnish.
All the Green Things Salad
This salad is absolutely chock-full of lovely green spring produce, with textures ranging from crunchy to creamy. You can make the zippy lemon dressing and blanch, drain, and chill the peas and asparagus up to 2 days ahead, but combine all the elements shortly before serving to preserve the color of the avocado and the crunch of the greens. Delicate pea tendrils or shoots would be spectacular here, but watercress makes a delicious peppery substitute. Though you may be tempted to use only one herb, we urge you to use both: The parsley adds a burst of freshness, and the mint contributes deep herbal goodness.
Charred Spring Onion and Baby Artichoke Pizza
Getting some deliberately over-browned edges on the onions and artichokes adds wonderful flavor that makes your home-cooked pizza taste as if it came out of a wood-fired oven. When baby artichokes aren’t in season, you can use frozen artichoke hearts; thaw them, cut them into quarters if they’re whole, and char as directed in step 6. Be sure to allow the dough to come to room temperature so that it’s easier to work with (if too cold, it springs back when you try to shape it) and so it rises more in the oven.
Herbed Ricotta, Asparagus, and Phyllo Tart
If working with phyllo dough fills you with fear, don’t worry—this recipe is beginner-friendly. There’s no crimping or folding the dough; you just lay flat sheets of dough on top of each other for a rustic, unfinished edge. Do make sure to thaw the phyllo according to package directions—preferably overnight in the fridge. Properly thawed dough won’t stick together and is relatively easy to work with. Skip past the big, fat asparagus spears you might see this time of year; you need thinner spears so that they’ll get done in the 20 minutes it takes to crisp the dough.
Eggs in a Garden Breakfast Tart
Thanks to ever-handy, store-bought puff pastry, this stunning savory tart is shockingly easy to make. The flakey puff pastry crust cradles 8 over easy eggs, surrounded with vibrant spring vegetables (thus, the recipe’s name). What you have here is an incredibly impressive option for your next brunch gathering. Serve with a side of roasted red potatoes or fresh fruit for a complete meal that’s sure to wow.
Radish and Parmesan Salad
Arugula, Egg, and Charred Asparagus Salad
Just a hint of char on the asparagus adds fantastic complexity to this simple 5-ingredient spring salad. Look for medium stalks rather than pencil-thin ones—those would char and dry out too quickly. A soft-boiled egg adds protein and richness; let the slightly runny yolks mingle with the rest of the salad before enjoying. Whole-milk Greek yogurt has a lusciousness and milder tang than lower-fat yogurt. It’s the perfect binder for the lemony dressing. Serve with a slice of multigrain bread spread with goat cheese and a dash of cracked black pepper.
Braised Artichokes, Favas, and Carrots in Creamy Lemon Sauce with Fennel
The olive oil emulsifies with the braising liquid to create a silky sauce that deliciously coats the bright spring veggies. Thin lemon slices, charred and caramelized in a cast-iron pan, make a nice garnish.
Green Gazpacho with Corn and Radish Salad
Green (unripe) tomatoes have more vitamin C and calcium than the more popular ripe red ones, and they are rich in B vitamins, vitamin A, and vitamin K. They make a deliciously tart, tangy addition to a chilled gazpacho.
Vegetable Soup au Pistou
A traditional French pistou is a nut-free pesto, but the spinach pesto (or any refrigerated brand) is delicious here. Don't rinse the canned beans after draining; any remaining starches will help bring the soup together.
Indian-Spiced Pea Fritters
Spring Vegetable and Quinoa Salad with Bacon
Quinoa offers this dish a hearty base, while the spring veggies take over along with the bacon for a flavorful ode to spring.
Kale and Beet Salad with Salmon
White balsamic vinegar is slightly sweet; cider vinegar is tangier. Either will be delicious here.
Balsamic Kale and Radicchio Sauté
Serve a delicious and healthy side dish made with kale, radicchio, and garlic.
Roasted Red Pepper and Ricotta Soup
To make your satisfying supper hit the table even faster, go ahead and prep this creamy soup through step 1 in the morning. Then, all that's left to do is heat the soup and throw together a salad.
Asparagus with Lemon-Parmesan Breadcrumbs
Breadcrumbs offer a crunchy texture to these asparagus stalks.
Spring Vegetable Soup
Braised Mustard Greens with Spring Onions
Crunchy Zucchini Chips
Ann's kids fell in love with these chips, and you will, too. Besides the savory seasoning, the crispy zucchini rounds have a secret whole-grain weapon: amaranth in the breading. It makes them amazingly crunchy without overpowering the vegetable. Serve them with burgers, sandwiches, or grilled chicken.
Snap Peas with Herb Butter
These gorgeous peas are lavishly tossed in a butter and herb mixture with dill, chives, and lemon juice.
Spring Beet and Pea Salad
Beets, Snow Peas, and New Potatoes with Garlic-Parsley Skordalia
Skordalia is a traditional Greek garlicky puree enriched with potatoes, nuts, and bread. The skordalia base can be made up to 3 days ahead; stir in the yogurt just before serving. Skip bland crudités (baby carrots, celery sticks) and try earthy beets infused with cinnamon, red potato wedges, and crisp sautéed snow peas. In addition to a dip, you can use the skordalia as a spread for sandwiches or crostini.
Savory Carrot Ribbon Tart
With its tangle of bright carrot strips and bits of spicy chorizo, this beautiful tart makes an exciting appetizer or even a light main dish. An all-butter puff pastry, such as Dufour, gives especially flavorful and flaky results, but it's delicious made with any kind of puff pastry.
Spring Vegetable Soup
Fresh Peas with Mint and Green Onions
The combination of fresh peas with mint yield a harmonious and nutrition side dish. Peas are in the legume family, and these vegetables are typically high in protein and fiber, yet low in fat and cholesterol. Because they're higher in protein than many other types of vegetables, they're a good source of protein in vegetarian diets.
We love the interplay of crunchy, peppery radishes with refreshingly tangy yogurt spread. If you can, use a variety of radishes for more color.
Tarragon Asparagus with Eggs
Choose thick asparagus instead of thin for this dish. The wider spears have an excellent sweet flavor and can stand up to the bold tarragon vinaigrette.
These simple spring radishes offer a punch to any dish. Save the greens for use in salads, smoothies, or pestos.
Roasted Asparagus and Baby Artichokes
To get a head start, prepare the recipe through step 2 up to two days in advance. Shortly before serving, place asparagus on pan with roasted asparagus, and proceed with step 3.
Braised Mustard Greens with Spring Onions
Feta and Pea Tentril Omelet
Vibrant, crisp seasonal greens breathe new life into a classic French omelet. Jeanine Donofrio, author of The Love & Lemons Cookbook, guarantees a bright start to any spring day with eggs, avocado, feta, peas, and pea tendrils. Delicate pea tendrils, also known as pea shoots, aren’t usually sold at grocery stores. Look for them at farmers’ markets at the beginning of spring or grow them at home; shoots require little sunshine or space. A finishing touch of chili flakes adds a wake-up punch.
Feta and Pea Tendril Omelet
Reprinted from The Love & Lemons Cookbook by arrangement with Avery Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company.
Minty Pea Soup with Parmesan Croutons
This pea soup gets a pop of flavor from sprigs of mint.
Spring Pea Salad with Creamy Curry Dressing
Wonderful flavor comes from Madras curry powder--it's bold but not too heavy. If you can only find regular curry powder, start with half the amount we call for.
Pea Shoot Salad
Pea shoots offer the crunch of a salad green with the springy sweetness of green peas. They take wonderfully to Asian seasonings like soy sauce, rice vinegar, and ginger. Grating garlic accentuates its pungency.
Pea Pappardelle Pasta
Sugar snaps, green peas, and pea shoots enrich this dish with sweet flavor and a bounty of pleasing textures. Look for pea shoots at your local farmers market or Asian market, or substitute watercress.
Porcini, Artichoke, and Parsley Salad
Wild porcini mushrooms and artichokes are in season from late spring to early summer and again in early fall in the Pacific Northwest. Fresh porcini are sweet, woodsy, and delicious when thinly sliced and served raw. Substitute thinly sliced cremini mushrooms if you can't get fresh porcini.
Creamy Artichoke Soup
This taste-of-spring soup is made creamy with silken tofu and just a touch of half-and-half instead of the heavy cream—slashing the calories and fat found in traditional cream soups. Frozen artichoke hearts add all the flavor of fresh artichokes without the extra prep time. If frozen artichokes aren’t available at your market, you can use three 14-oz. cans drained and rinsed artichokes hearts packed in water instead. When pureeing hot liquids in a blender, it’s always a good idea to remove the center piece of the blender lid and place a towel over top. The center hole lets steam escape and prevents a hot soup accident. Serve as a light supper with a baby kale salad tossed with a Dijon mustard vinaigrette or with toasted baguette slices topped with melted fontina or Gruyère cheese.
Pasta Primavera with Shrimp
Many healthy eaters are quick to cut pasta out of their diets, but dishes like this have plenty of good-for-you benefits. This Pasta Primavera is filled with colorful veggies and light shrimp, and the homemade sauce isn’t heavy like its jarred or cream-filled counterparts. To make this dinner vegetarian, simply nix the shrimp and use water or vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. You might not believe that you can prepare a wholesome family meal in 30 minutes and one pot, but trust us. The key to this one-pot dish is cooking the shrimp, vegetables, and pasta in stages. When combined, all of the ingredients will be perfectly al dente and coated in a tasty sauce that is slightly thickened by the starch in the pasta. Add more spring flavor by stirring in a tablespoon of chopped soft herbs such as parsley, dill, or basil into the pasta along with the cooked shrimp.
Farro Salad with Peas, Pancetta, and Radishes
Toss farro with a radish mixture, peas, pancetta, arugula, and more to make this salad.
Spring Herb and Goat Cheese Linguine
Now's the time to use spring herbs with abandon, adding them by the handful to salads, eggs, and pasta. This quick vegetarian main dish combines your choice of herbs with a little cream and some goat cheese, which melts in the heat of the pasta to lightly coat each strand. Crumble more cheese on top.
Skillet-Toasted Gnocchi with Peas
Miso-Braised Mustard Greens
Miso greens lend a pop of intense color and flavor to any dish.
Classic Grilled Artichokes
A touch of char adds a pleasantly bitter counterpoint to artichokes' natural sweetness. Once you clean and simmer them, they grill in about the same time as boneless chicken breasts--cook both, and call it a meal with one of our sauce recipes.
Wine pairing with the caper sauce: A crisp, citrusy white like Grgich Hills 2013 Fumé Blanc (Napa Valley; $30)--bright enough to keep up with the capers, but earthy and minerally to pick up on the smoke from the grill too. --Sara Schneider
Spring Beet and Pea Salad
Raw Artichoke Salad with Herbs, Almonds, and Parmigiano
"Don't even try this salad unless you have very early artichokes, the first ones to show up in the spring markets," says chef Joshua McFadden of Ava Gene's in Portland. "As with all spring vegetables, the still-cold nights help the artichoke's sugars develop for the best flavor; and because they are smaller, young artichokes are less fibrous and more tender…but only if you slice them very fine."
Spring Pea Shoot Salad with Beets and Dulse Vinaigrette
Snap Peas with Feta
Be sure to pat the snap peas thoroughly dry before tossing with the creamy yogurt-feta dressing so the dressing coats the peas instead of slipping off. Fresh mint gives this dish a decidedly Greek flavor, but dill would also taste great. The peas are a perfect side for grilled lamb chops or oregano-garlic seasoned chicken.
Spinach-and-Romaine Salad with Cucumbers, Radishes, and Creamy Mint Dressing (Janie's Spinach Salad)
This salad is a tumble of great flavors and offers a wonderfully fresh and bright springtime feel thanks to the fresh mint.
One-Pan Pasta with Ricotta and Artichokes
One skillet from start to finish--can't beat it on a busy weeknight. The ricotta adds rich creaminess when mixed into each portion on the plate, while fresh mozza creates that ooey-gooey baked pasta feel.
Spring Polenta with Radishes and Garlic Scapes
This simple, luscious spring main uses chickpeas in place of a more traditional protein. The results are delicious.
Spring Lettuce and Leek Soup
Many lettuces are grown in sandy soil, so thoroughly wash and dry your greens to remove any grit. If you don't have an immersion blender, process the soup in batches in a blender until smooth.
Frozen artichoke hearts contain no added salt, unlike the canned variety, which may contain more than 300mg per half cup.
Radishes in Warm Herb Butter
Use a colorful mix of Watermelon, French Breakfast, and Easter Egg radishes in this crunchy but warm side. This recipe comes together in minutes, so prep the ingredients in advance and cook it right before serving.
Nothing says autumn like a hearty casserole—something you can make on a weekend afternoon, and have for leftovers over the next couple days. Here, rich Gruyere cheese marries with the bright acid of a dry white wine (try a Sauvignon Blanc) to bring a touch of elegance to this yummy comfort food.