From the markets and out of the gardens come the first sweet offerings of the season. Dig in with these delicious spring recipes.
First up is Spring Pasta with Fava Beans and Peas. The vibrant colors of spring shine in this elegant, seasonal pasta dish. Choose firm, bright fava bean pods free of black marks—avoid pods on which the outline of the beans inside is pronounced, indicating older favas.
Strawberries don’t have to be dessert—you can work them into a main dish, too. Our Chicken and Strawberry Salad is a wonderful no-cook dish that’s a snap to make, combining sweet strawberries, tangy vinaigrette, moist chicken, and rich blue cheese.
Ready in just over 30 minutes, this spring side is simple and sophisticated. Look for bright green artichokes with firm, tightly layered leaves with no discoloration. Unlike big artichokes, baby ones don't have an inedible, thistly "choke" that needs to be scooped from the center.
We like the creamy, custardy consistency of this quiche when it's baked for 35 minutes. If you prefer a firmer texture, bake an additional 5 minutes.
Blanching the asparagus first helps set its color and texture. To ensure the best taste and cut down on prep time in the kitchen, buy firm, unshriveled morels that are dry, not slimy, and free of excessive dirt.
Assemble everything but the granola and almonds ahead of time, and store in the refrigerator for up to an hour. Sprinkle with granola and almonds just before serving for the optimum crunch.
Chef Khalil Hymore introduced us to the idea of a crunchy quinoa crust with a savory tart he developed for us; we take the notion to a sweet place here. The tart holds well overnight, so make it the day before, and serve chilled right from the refrigerator.
Make an upscale pasta salad that’s company worthy by combining penne pasta, roasted asparagus, tomato, arugula, herbes de Provence, and goat cheese and tossing with a lemony vinaigrette. Serve immediately or cover and chill for 2 hours for a cold pasta salad.
Asparagus popping out of the soil is one of the first signs of spring in the garden. The days are warming up, but the nights are still chilly—an ideal time for warm bowls of rich asparagus risotto. Save the more tender tips for the risotto pieces, and blend the larger chopped pieces of asparagus into the broth used to cook the risotto. Garnish with shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, if you like.
Pair roasted beets and goat cheese with crisp baby greens and crunchy walnuts for a salad that almost explodes with flavor and color. You can prepare the beets up to two days in advance.
View Recipe: Beets with Walnuts, Goat Cheese, and Baby Greens
Wider, less-lobed Eruca sativa varieties, which are more palatable in larger quantities when dressed simply, would be a great topping on this pizza. This is a new take on a “steak and salad with a side of bread” and a fun way to enjoy dinner in a bite.
Though a beloved pie classic, rhubarb has a strong tartness that sometimes needs moderating. Sweet raspberries do that job perfectly here, while a splash of crème de cassis adds even deeper berry flavor. A slice of this pie absolutely screams for a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
This delicious vegetable sauté pairs well with a variety of protein-based dinners, including salmon, chicken, and beef. Cutting half of the peas in half gives the dish a lovely look, but you can skip that step and leave them all whole, if you like.
Lemony dressing and fresh mint add vibrant flavor to this pasta salad. Serve chilled or at room temperature, and garnish with pretty mint leaves, if desired.
For a kid-friendly version, substitute 3 cups chilled club soda for the wine. When adding the wine or soda, pour slowly down the edge of the glass to tame the foam.
This salad is a model of nutrition. The greens and onion provide a variety of vitamins and minerals, the pecans add healthy fats, and the chicken is a great source of lean protein, all with less than 300 calories per serving. Açai dressing is rich in antioxidants, but so is any bottled berry dressing.
You don't need to cook asparagus to savor its unique, slightly grass flavor. Here it's delivered au naturel: shaved raw into delicate, elegant curls; dressed in zesty vinaigrette and creamy egg yolk; and punched up with crunchy nuts and salty Spanish cheese.
When you think rhubarb, you may only think pie, but that's selling it short: The rosy stalk packs enough bright tanginess to transform a variety of dishes. Here, paired with smoky heat and sweet tomato, it makes homemade BBQ sauce sing.
With a subtly flavored ingredient like artichokes, sometimes the simplest approach is best. A little roasted lemon, garlic, and fragrant rosemary are all you need to make tender baby artichokes shine.
Sweet, earthy baby beets have a natural affinity for ingredients like tangy goat cheese and peppery horseradish. The flavors in this dish are every bit as vibrant as the color.
This sweet, creamy treat is a festive, elegant showcase for everyone's favorite spring fruit: ripe, juicy strawberries, served up two ways — sliced and macerated and cooked into a ruby-red jelly.
Tender biscuits get a little lift from sweet, floral lemon rind. For slightly taller shortcakes with soft sides, pack biscuits into a round cake pan; for separate shortcakes with crisp edges, arrange onto a baking sheet with space between.
Don’t forget that something fresh, vibrant, and crunchy is often missing from potluck gatherings; this easy salad will get gobbled up quickly because it satisfies on those levels.
Beautiful ribbons of pasta intertwine with fresh spring vegetables in a light citrusy dressing. Pappardelle is a wide, flat pasta. If you can't find it, use fettuccine. Be sure to grate the rind before you juice the lemon.
An abundance of warm-weather produce brings bright sweetness to this recipe. The cool creaminess of a Hass avocado is the perfect addition to temper the spicy bite from the radishes and add extra flavor and texture.
Crunchy phyllo-wrapped asparagus makes great pick-up bites for a spring party. You can also chop the prosciutto and sprinkle it on the phyllo if you want.
Creamy goat cheese crowns a refreshingly bracing salad. Because the asparagus is shaved, it does not have to be cooked. Thick asparagus spears work best when it comes to making ribbons like these.
This dish is luxuriously creamy, but the pasta soaks up the sauce quickly. Be sure to serve right away. Use refrigerated pasta to cut several minutes off the cook time.
This is a ridiculously easy dish that manages to incorporate a range of great flavors―crisp, salty bacon, fresh, sweet asparagus, savory Parmesan―in less than 10 minutes. The bacon and veggies take about as long to cook as the pasta, and you just toss everything together to serve. Swap in whatever vegetables are on hand to create a quick meal anytime.
Hit up the farmers' market for the freshest spring veggies. You can also try the dish with shrimp, salmon, or pork in place of chicken.
Meyer lemons, available through May, have sweeter, more aromatic juice than regular lemons. To ensure the dessert doesn't get too tart if substituting regular lemon juice, begin with 2 tablespoons juice, and taste; add more juice if desired. Garnish with fresh mint sprigs.
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.
Springtime means it's time for peas! If you can find them, use shelled fresh English peas instead of frozen for this delicious, spring pasta dish.
When stuck in a rut with pasta and basic tomato sauce, turn to veggies. Sautéed in a little olive oil with lemon juice, this combination is great as a “sauce” on its own. It’s a wonderful way to enjoy the flavors of spring and get some color into your family’s diet. Make it a gluten-free option by using gluten-free pasta.
For perfect soft-scrambled eggs, cook slowly and stir often to form creamy curds. Use the thinnest asparagus you can find so it will become crisp-tender with gentle heat.
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.
These lemon bars are straight-up puckery perfection. We mix the filling together just before the crust comes out of the oven and then pour it onto the hot crust so that it sets quickly.
Press down lightly on the fillets for the first minute while they cook skin side down: The gentle pressure will keep the skin in contact with the pan to encourage it to crisp up wonderfully. If fillets are very thick, add about two minutes to your cooking time.
Crisp sheets of sugared phyllo, creamy ricotta and honey, and showstopping strawberries combine to create a delightful dessert that everyone will be sure to love. Seconds, please!
Here is a lovely twist on beloved pesto for spring. Baby spinach takes the place of most of the basil to give the sauce an earthy flavor. The thick, emerald sauce beautifully coats the flat noodles and serves up big flavor in every forkful.
Forego the packaged trimmed, peeled carrots labeled "baby carrots" and opt for small carrots with the tops attached. Trim the green tops to within one inch and refrigerate in the crisper drawer to keep them crisp. Freshly shelled green peas are sweet and tender. Look for pods that are crisp, with no blemishes or signs of wilting.
A balance of flavors is the key to this recipe. The bitter arugula, sweet artichoke, salty prosciutto, and creamy mozzarella are in perfect equilibrium atop a crisp-and-chewy crust and pesto sauce. Not only is the combination of tastes more satisfying than pepperoni and red sauce, this pizza takes just 11 minutes to bake―no longer than a frozen one.
To make this scrumptious strata ahead of time, prepare through step 2, cover, and chill. Before baking, let bread mixture stand at room temperature 10 minutes while the oven preheats, then assemble and bake. The cook time will increase by about 10 minutes. Garnish with parsley.
Look for asparagus stalks with deep green or purplish tips that are tightly closed and not slick. Remove the fibrous ends by bending each stalk until it snaps; the tough part will break off naturally.
Cheesy quiche partners beautifully with a bright, citrusy salad. Whisk together 2 tablespoons canola oil, 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon honey, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt in a large bowl. Add 3 cups baby kale, 3/4 cup grapefruit sections, and 1/4 cup sliced red onion; toss to coat.
View Recipe: Spinach and Feta Quiche with Quinoa Crust
You’re already grilling the chicken, so why not throw the pineapple slices on there too? The caramelized pineapple has a mellowed flavor and softness that’s perfect in this sandwich. A squeeze of lime is all you need to flavor everything.
The sweetness of pineapple and orange juice both complement and balance the spicy ingredients in this salad. Be sure to wear gloves when working with habanero peppers.
The combination of tart strawberries and rhubarb balance out the sweetness from the custard and create one wow-worthy presentation that will impress your guests.
Tamarind is a pod containing sticky, tart pulp and large seeds. Tamarind paste is more convenient, as it's seedless. Buy it at Asian, Latin, or Indian markets. Or substitute 2 tablespoons lime juice for less-complex flavor.
Toast the sweetness of spring with this homemade rhubarb liqueur. Flavored with sugar, vodka, Grand Marnier, and, of course fresh rhubarb, this seasonal drink is perfect served with seltzer or straight up and ice cold.
Radishes are an excellent vegetable to slice for salads or use as a stuffing, as seen here in our delicious pita recipe. Serve this easy-to-make sandwich with another spring favorite: steamed sugar snap peas.
Some like cooked carrots, while others prefer them grated to make a crunchy salad. You can do either with this recipe—just toss steamed carrot coins with the dressing. The sweetness of the carrots is balanced by the fresh bite of the sambal oelek and chopped herbs.
Sweet, crunchy, and tangy, this condiment should be a constant presence on your spring and summer table. Use as a sauce for any grilled meat or fish. Spread on grilled or toasted bread with goat cheese for bruschetta. Add some jalapeño slices for a tortilla-chip dip. The possibilities are endless.
Did you know that pea tendrils, the tiny wispy, curling stems, support the shoots as they climb? This recipe utlizes those climbing tendrils in a delicious way.
Overflowing with nutrients from vegetables like kale, peppers, carrots, and radishes, this salad is only 60 calories per serving and an excellent addition to almost any meal.
The ritual of eating whole artichokes―tear off a leaf, eat the tender flesh, and repeat―is as much a part of the experience as the flavor. The creamy texture and sweet savoriness of roasted garlic in the dipping sauce serve to enhance everything to heavenly levels.
Quinoa combines with crisp, colorful vegetables and tart vinaigrette for a delicious main-dish salad. Creamy queso anejo balances the tartness of the dressing. Queso blanco or ricotta salata are good substitutes.
View Recipe: Quinoa Salad with Vegetables and Tomatillo Vinaigrette
Grilled pineapple brings a delicious layer of irresistible flavor—not to mention, a bed of bold color on which to pile the rest of your favorite taco fillings or a topping for your favorite chicken recipe.