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While it may not seem like it some days, spring has arrived—at least from a grocery point of view. With the return of farmer’s markets and vibrant vegetables coming into season, it’s time to turn the page from winter to spring.
Say goodbye to the monochromatic winter scenes as well as those dull root veggies. The wide variety of spring produce will surely bring your kitchen back to life and make cooking much more fun.
Below are five recipes inspired by the most popular spring ingredients —asparagus, beets, artichokes and strawberries. Enjoy the most beautiful season with these delightful springtime dishes!
Asparagus: Simple is Best
As Martha Stewart said, the key to delicious asparagus is freshness. Fresh asparagus is sweet, succulent and crisp-tender that doesn’t require anything fancy to taste great. You can simply blanch them, top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, olive oil and some lemon zest to elevate the natural flavor of asparagus.
Too boring for a spring dinner party? If you’re looking to add a colorful presentation to your dinner table, I bet you’ll love this refreshing twist.
Asparagus Spring Rolls with Mangoes
(Recipe courtesy of Brett Moore)
- 1 Ib. asparagus
- ¾ cup fresh mint leaves
- ¾ cilantro leaves
- 1 mango
- Fresh ginger, 2-inch piece
- ½ red bell pepper
- ½ cup dry roasted, salted peanuts, chopped
- 2 cups fresh bean sprouts
- 8-inch dried rice paper spring roll wrappers, 6 to 8 sheets
- ¼ cup store-bought Asian Sweet Chili sauce
- Juice of 1 lime
- Blanch asparagus in boiling salted water until tender to the bite or approximately 3 to 5 minutes.
- Peel and julienne mango and ginger.
- Julienne bell pepper, set aside.
- Fill a large bowl with hot water. Slip rice paper wrapper into water until pliable, approximately 1 minute. (Note: Work with one wrapper at a time.)
- Place wrapper on the cutting board. In the center, put 3 to 4 asparagus spears with the tips coming off the end of the wrapper slightly, 3 to 4 mango slices, 3 to 4 pepper slices, 3 tablespoons sprouts, 2 tablespoons herbs, sprinkling of ginger and peanuts.
- Roll the wrapper from the bottom up, tightly, leaving the ends open.
- Set aside and cover with a damp towel.
- Finish with remaining wrappers.
- Slice wrappers into 3 segments and let them stand upright on a serving platter.
- Mix chili sauce and lime juice together. Serve alongside the rolls.
Beets: Delicious Ruby Red Root Veggie that Can’t Be Beat
More often than not, people hate beets because of their earthy taste. However, beets are famously high in many vitamins and minerals. It would be a shame if you let them walk away from your life. Fortunately, here’s the recipe that can transform beets into a delicious, sweet and brightly colored dish. The best part yet, spring beets are tenderer than those harvested later in the year.
Give it a try. I’m sure it will definitely change how you feel about beets as well as your life.
Spring Beet Salad
(Recipe courtesy of The Barefoot Cook)
- 3 medium-to-large size beets
- ½ cup Pecans – toasted and rough chopped into pieces (toast at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes)
- ½ cup Basil (optional)
- Zest and segments of one orange
- 1 garlic clove minced
- ¼ - ½ cup of mayonnaise (avoid any mayo made with canola or soy oil)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil for rubbing on beets
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Heat your oven to 400°.
- Scrub beets well. It’s not necessary to remove the skins, but you can if you’d like.
- Rub olive oil, salt and pepper all over the beets.
- Place them on a baking dish or cookie sheet and place inside oven. Bake until tender and a fork pokes through easily. This will take approximately an hour.
- Once cooled, dice beets into little squares.
- Place in a mixing bowl. Add mayo, garlic, pecans, basil and oranges and toss together.
- Stir in feta at the end.
- Season with salt and pepper.
Artichokes: Time to Try Fresh Artichokes
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In addition to beets, another strange-looking spring ingredient you perhaps never thought of putting in your grocery cart is artichoke. Okay, you may have tried jarred, marinated artichokes, but the fact is that processed food can never stand up to fresh produce. Additionally, preparing and cooking fresh artichokes are not as difficult as you think (Check out the tutorial video below.). Plus, like our friend at Serious Eats said, who can say no to the glorious mounds of fresh artichokes at the market?
If you live in Chicago or Boston where April snow is not rare, this soupy, braised artichoke recipe will certainly cure your cold heart.
Braised Artichokes with Leaks and Peas
(Recipe courtesy of Kate Williams)
- 4 large artichokes
- 2 ½ to 3 cups homemade vegetable stock or water
- 2 leeks, including 1-inch of the greens, sliced into ¼-inch rounds
- 2 fennel bulbs, cut into 1-inch wedges, joined at the root end
- 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
- ¼ cup diced shallot
- ½ cup white wine
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 12 ounces yellow-fleshed or new red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into quarters
- ½ or less cup crème fraîche
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 cup shelled peas or fava beans
- 3 tablespoons chopped fennel greens or parsley
- Freshly milled pepper
- Trim the artichokes by snapping off several layers of the tough outer leaves by pulling them downward so that they break off at the base. Stop when the inner leaves become a lighter yellowish green and look tender.
- Trim the stem and slice off the top third of the artichoke. With a paring knife, smooth the rough areas around the base, removing any dark green parts.
- Cut the trimmed artichoke into quarters and remove the fuzzy chokes with a paring knife. Slice into sixths, and set them aside in a bowl of acidulated water (water and lemon juice or vinegar) until ready to cook.
- Melt the butter in a wide soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and leeks and cook, stirring frequently, without browning for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the wine, raise the heat, and simmer for 2 minutes.
- Drain the artichokes and add them to the pan with the fennel and stock. Season with 1 teaspoon sea salt, then press a piece of crumbled parchment or wax paper directly over the vegetables.
- Bring the liquid to a boil, then simmer, covered, until the artichokes are tender, approximately 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, steam the potatoes until tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
- When the artichokes and fennel are tender, remove them with a slotted spoon to a dish.
- Whisk enough crème fraîche and the mustard into the broth and boil briskly to make a thin sauce, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Add the peas and cook until tender, then return the vegetables and potatoes to the broth. Add the chopped fennel greens, season with pepper, and serve.
Strawberries: More than Just Desserts
Nope. I’m not going to introduce strawberry recipes that you can think of in seconds. For this common ingredient, largely used in sweet treats and salads, I challenge you to try this adventurous cocktail recipe – strawberry basil sangria.
Sangria, the Spanish fruit punch doesn’t have to always go with citrus. Oftentimes, people use the strong citrus scent just to cover up the bad wine. If you want to enjoy a good bottle of wine with a hint of fruit in a spring morning, strawberry basil sangria is it. Unlike citrus, the aroma of in-season strawberries is sweet but not overwhelming, which can showcase the high quality wine. Moreover, the addition of basil can give the drink a clean finish, making it a go-to drink for a Sunday brunch or an afternoon picnic.
Strawberry Basil Sangria
(Recipe courtesy of Hall Nesting)
- 1 pound strawberries, hulled and quartered
- 1 bottle Chardonnay
- 1 cup brandy
- ½ ounce triple sec
- 8-10 basil leaves, finely diced
- ½ cup club soda
- Combine all ingredients in large pitcher except club soda. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
- Add club soda.
- Refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving.
After a long, cold winter, signs of spring have finally made a grand entrance to the local farmer’s markets and grocery stores. Catch all the vibrant fruits and veggies at their peak. Spring produce will not only add variety but also brighten up your meals. The best part yet, with the freshest ingredients, you don’t need any advanced cooking skills or a huge kitchen to enjoy the taste of spring.
What’s your favorite spring recipe? Share your spring recipes in the comments section below. We love to hear from our fans!