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From asparagus to rhubarb, we’ve got you covered.

By Stacey Ballis
April 05, 2021
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If your spring gardening is underway, you know that your first bumper crops are imminent. So, what should you be planning to make with the first bounty of your labor? Here are eight of our favorite things that should be appearing in your gardens soon, with easy, delicious recipes to make from them.

Asparagus

Asparagus is the harbinger of spring, and for most of us, we are happy to gorge on it for the full length of the season. It is terrific simply steamed or grilled, but early season asparagus is tender and sweet enough to eat raw, so try it in a shaved salad. Want a dish that will be a showstopper? Top your asparagus with fried goat cheese balls and get ready to fall in love.

Cucumbers

Those early cukes are super sweet and crisp, ideal for eating raw or pickling. But also, think about using that freshness to its best advantage by making a raita to go with grilled meats, or a chilled white gazpacho for a light meal starter or lunch option. They are also surprising when cooked: Give this braised cucumber recipe a try with fish or chicken.

Sugar Snap Peas

Sugar snap peas are a great spring crop, especially since they are so great for snacking on raw. You can steam them or sauté them for a simple side dish or add to salads for crunch. They work well in carb salads like this fregola salad; or make a tonnato dip and dunk away.

Lettuces

Early lettuces are one of the first things to appear in your spring garden, and your salads will never be as fresh or bright. But you can also cook with these verdant beauties! Think about a spring lettuce and leek soup, or serve a roasted chicken with wilted spring lettuce and peas.

Spring Vegetables
Credit: Getty / Westend61

Radishes

Peppery radishes are one of the hardier vegetables that pop up in our gardens in spring. They bring a welcome bite and crunch to salads. Think about starting meals in the French tradition with radishes, butter, and salt, or take it up a notch with this cornichon caper butter. But don't shy away from cooking these beauties—they will get sweeter with a delicate heat and are a wonderful companion to grilled meats or fishes. Try braising them or making a version of a creamy chilled vichyssoise.

Spring Onions

Early onions come up pretty quickly in your spring garden, and I love them as an easy way to add onion flavor to everything from omelets to stir fries without the bother of chopping a whole onion. They can be used as a spicy garnish for salads but also take on a wonderful sweetness. Grill them whole and serve with romesco sauce, or make classic Chinese scallion pancakes.

Herbs

Nothing brings more flavor to your spring cooking than the first shoots of all those fresh herbs you planted. From chives to chervil, basil to dill, these delicate leaves pack a punch. Toss individual leaves into your salads as an added green or make salsa verde to top any protein.

Rhubarb

Don't forget some sweets in spring: That patch of rhubarb is the gift that keeps on giving! You can pickle it to add to salads or charcuterie platters or make a BBQ sauce with it, but it really shines in desserts. Try a rhubarb granita or a rhubarb cake, poach it as an accompaniment to rice pudding, or let it shine as a topper for cheesecake.