Warmer weather means an abundance of fresh, bright fruits and vegetables. From seasonal produce to traditional foods that come with the season, here are 26 ingredients and recipes found on Honest Cooking to kick off your spring celebration.
A is for Asparagus and Artichoke
Asparagus and artichokes are some of the first sure signs of spring. Both vegetables are delicious when simply cooked and served with a rich, buttery hollandaise sauce. To combine the two greens together on one delicious spring pizza, try the Artichoke and Asparagus Thin-Crust Pizza.
B is for Broccoli and Butter Lettuce
When cooking with broccoli, be sure to use the whole thing, stem and all! Try Crispy Tofu and Broccoli Bowls with Spicy Hoisin Sauce to use the traditional florets. Butter lettuce arrives in early spring when gardeners and farmers pull out baby plants in order to allow other lettuces to come to full size. The versatile green stays true to its name with a mild, delicious flavor. Try making a lettuce wrap with its silky leaves or a simple salad using spring’s radishes, herbs, and avocados.
C is for Chives
The garlic or onion tasting plant is ideal for adding bright green color to a dish. A great topping for a soup, an appetizer or eggs benedict. Try making savory chive donuts for great garlic flavor.
D is for Dandelion Greens
If you are looking for a leafy green with a nutritious punch this spring, try dandelion greens. The foraged plant can be easily found in your own backyard or at your farmers’ market. The bitter, peppery green has a robust flavor that can add interest to a plain lettuce or grain salad, it can be a nutritious addition to a smoothie, or a toned down side dish when sautéed. Try adding it to pasta or risotto, too.
E is for Endive
What could be better than a bitter lettuce that is perfectly shaped to hold delicious appetizers? Fill the leaves with cold, marinated shrimp, avocados, herbs, and other seafood for a truly refreshing appetizer. Or, try endives stuffed with a quinoa, blueberry, and basil salad.
F is for Fennel and Fiddleheads
Fennel is either loved or hated for its interesting anise and licorice flavor. Serve the herb root fresh with this Fennel Salad Topped with Sesame-Orange Tofu. For a different flavor, try it caramelized. Totally rich, this Caramelized Fennel and Shallot Pasta with Creamy Burrata will turn you into a fennel lover (if you aren’t already).
G is for Green Garlic
Green garlic is a true highlight of spring. It also goes by spring garlic or young garlic. Just like butter lettuce, green garlic is produced when the garlic crop is thinned out in the spring. Pickle your green garlic for later, add it to sauces, spreads, your morning omelet or to top a pizza or sandwich. Try this green garlic pasta with rich brown butter and a fresh hint of lime.
H is for Halibut
Although available year round, Pacific halibut season officially kicks off in March and runs until the fall. The fresh flavor of this white fish makes it perfect to serve with spring vegetables or spring-inspired pastas. This fish cooks quickly and is great for your first grilling adventure of the season.
I is for Iceberg Lettuce
A popular leaf in American salads, this mild green is great for flavorful sandwiches (especially BLT’s) that don’t need a additional spice from something like arugula.
J is for Jicama
Rather than debuting in the spring, the season for jicama is ending soon. So, eat it up while you can! Similar to a turnip, but with a milder flavor, jicama can be enjoyed raw with some salt and lime juice. Try it for a nice raw crunch in a pineapple salsa or cook similar to how you would a potato.
K is for Kohlrabi
This root is truly a refreshing sign of spring. Enjoy it raw for a delicious and addictive crunch that almost reminds us of a cross between watermelon and cucumber. Try this recipe for kohlrabi fitters or keep it raw and add it to coleslaw.
L is for Leeks
Leeks are grown all winter and harvested in the spring. With a mild-onion flavor, the leek is usually enjoyed sautéed or fried, but may also be eaten raw. Use leeks in any recipe that you would normally use onions and garlic. For a fun baking project, try leek and rosemary pork sausage rolls.
M is for Morels
The honeycomb-shaped, earthy-flavored mushroom only pops its head out in spring when the temperatures are warmer and wet. Because of low levels of toxicity, always cook these mushrooms before eating and be sure to obtain them from a trustworthy source. Try this grilled ciabatta with earthy morel mushrooms.
N is for New Potatoes
These thin-skinned potatoes are smaller, younger and some of the first of the crop to be harvested. Because of their small size and delicate flavor, we suggest incorporating them into simple dishes like salads. They are also wonderful bite-sized appetizers when roasted with herbs.’
O is for (Green) Onions
Just like green garlic, green onions are undeveloped bulbs harvested early in the season. Being a familiar vegetable, we know what enticing, subtle flavor they can bring to a dish, whether served raw or cooked. Try them in scallion pancakes.
P is for Peas
We all know that spring peas in a variety of forms will be dotting our tables shortly, especially at Easter celebrations. If you have a garden you also know that it is far too easy to eat all of the peas you have collected before you make it back inside. Truly get into the spring spirit with mint and pea salad, or try this pea burrata. For a smashed pea recipe, treat it like you would avocado toast. We love this go-to recipe for a pea and chive spread on crisp bread.
Q is for Quiche
Please excuse the lack of ‘q’ named ingredients—a recipe will have to do. Quiche is far from being a strictly spring food, but it is easy to incorporate spring vegetables and flavors into its eggy structure.
R is for Ramps
When ramps arrive you can be sure it is officially spring. Growing exclusively on the East Coast of the United States and Canada, and only in season eight weeks out of the year, this elusive member of the onion family has created quite the reputation for itself. Try Honest Cooking’s favorite ramp recipes.
S is for Strawberries
The berry kicks off its season in April and will continue bringing delicious joy until about August. From savory salad preparations to sweet and summery strawberry shortcakes, these berries really put us in a warm weather mood. Put the strawberry into cakes, plop one in your next drink, or try a wild sorbet.
T is for Turnips
Turnips have a wide range of colors, shapes, and varieties that are available throughout the year. However, they are at their prime in the fall and spring. Their greens have a bold, mustard-like flavor, but the root is more mild and starchy. Try this Portuguese rice recipe to use turnip greens.
U is for Ugli Fruit
Get the last of the ugli citrus fruit before it leaves for the summer. Grown in Jamaica, the ugli fruit is teardrop shaped with a unique green, wrinkly skin until it ripens and becomes orange. Juice the citrus for your next smoothie, juice or cocktail or incorporate it into baked goods or salad dressings.
V is for Vidalia Onion
The Vidalia onion grows under the soil during the winter months and is ready to be enjoyed in early spring. This sweeter onion is used all year round in cooking, but it is fun to give it its special spotlight in the spring.
W is for Watercress
Take advantage of watercress during its spring harvest and add the delicate-looking leaf to your meals for a refreshing and peppery flavor. Check out this goat cheese dip that goes from plain to unique with the addition of the green and blueberries.
X is for X Marks the Spot
The spring season is where its at, but for this spot on the alphabet we are currently accepting submissions for spring foods that start or, let’s face it, even contain an ‘x’.
Y is for Yolks
There aren’t many spring fruits or vegetables that begin with the letter ‘y’. However, when you think about it (or really need a word that starts with ‘y’) you will notice that eggs, especially yolks take the spotlight in spring. Around Easter, eggs are deviled, pickled, dyed, and cooked every which way for brunch. Yolks become apparent in salads showcasing baby greens and steal the show in rich sauces drizzled over asparagus. Also, what kid hasn’t wondered if an egg will balance during the spring equinox?
Z is for Zucchini – Plant it
Zucchini is not ready to eat right now, but if you want to enjoy the squash and its blossoms later in the summer, now is the time to plant. Once they arrive, be sure to make these baked zucchini fries, or grate and freeze some for the winter months when you are craving this chocolate and yogurt zucchini bread.