The arrival of springtime means longer days, ﬂowers blooming, and some of our favorite fruits and vegetables coming back into season.
Why should you eat seasonally? Traditionally, this is what most people had to do, eating and cooking with the crops that were available to them throughout the year in their region. These days, eating seasonally is a sustainable practice, because it ensures that we’re eating close to the land, and that our food isn’t traveling thousands of miles to arrive at the grocery store. It can also save us money, since these foods are often discounted when they’re in-season and abundant. Not to mention, it’s delicious and keeps our dinner menus interesting! There’s nothing like those ﬁrst in-season strawberries in the springtime.
Which foods are in season in spring? Here’s a list to get you started, although speciﬁc crops will vary from location to location, and make their debuts earlier or later in the season depending on exactly where you live:
- Fava beans
- Fresh herbs
- Green onions
- Kale, collard greens and mustard greens
- New potatoes
- Swiss chard
Here are a few delicious ways to use spring produce, inspired by traditional diets from around the world!
This Asian-inspired Asparagus cooks the asparagus until just tender, with a tangy honey and lime dressing. Delicious warm or chilled, a sprinkling of chopped almonds and sesame seeds on top adds crunch.
Asparagus can also bring spring ﬂavors to a delicious pan of stir fry or fried rice. Asparagus and Ginger Fried Rice is an easy and quick dinner side dish. You’ll notice the recipe emphasizes brown rice, because it doesn’t clump as much as white rice and is better suited to the dish.
There are plenty of ways to use fresh strawberries–both sweet and savory!
For breakfast, start with a refreshing Strawberry and Banana Smoothie. With silken tofu as one of its ingredients, it provides a boost of protein to start your day. Or, try out these Strawberry Barley Scones. If you’ve never baked with barley ﬂour, you’re in for a treat. Its sweet, almost creamy texture pairs perfectly with the fruit in this scone.
At lunch or dinner time, you’ll love adding strawberries to salads or grain bowls. In this Spring Salad with Farro and Strawberries, a creamy pillow of burrata cheese is balanced by hearty farro grains and fresh fruits and vegetables. In this Strawberry Kalamata Salad, the sweetness is balanced by the saltiness of kalamata olives.
Transform your mashed potatoes with this vegetable-forward Kenyan Vegetable and Potato Mash! With in-season peas and fresh greens, this recipe is ﬁlled with ﬂavor, inspired by a traditional mashed potato dish called Irio in Kenya.
Or, transport your dinner table to Spain with this Paella recipe featuring green peas, whether fresh or frozen. Add chicken or shrimp to this rice dish, or simply omit to keep the meal vegetarian.
In a rush? This 15-minute Pasta with Peas is a lifesaver for busy weeknights!
Carrots feature prominently in this Sheet Pan Meal with Moroccan spices. With ﬁsh, carrots, green olives all cooked on the same sheet pan, all that’s left is to prep a whole grain like farro or rice on the stovetop. You’ll love the seasoning blend of garlic, lemon, cinnamon, cumin and paprika.
These Nori Rolls with Gingered Tofu use grated carrots and beets along with tofu and rice. This colorful dish is a feast for the eyes as well as the tastebuds!
Arugula, Spinach & More Spring Greens
Callaloo Soup is a traditional Caribbean soup created by enslaved Africans using African heritage, wisdom and indigenous plants. The main ingredient is the green leafy tops of either the amaranth plant (called callaloo or bhaaji) or taro root (sometimes called dasheen). Outside of the Caribbean, spinach and other delicate greens are used. This blended soup combines buttery soft spinach greens with a peppery habanero heat.
For a fast side dish, try this Aloo Palak, an Indian recipe combining spinach, potatoes, and spices. In a pinch, frozen spinach will work very well in this recipe, too. For a versatile dinner format, try these Burrito Bowls with Chicken. Use your quinoa or favorite whole grain as a base, spinach or your favorite leafy green, and garnish with avocado and a dollop of Greek yogurt for tanginess.
What will you be cooking up this spring? Tell us in the comments, or follow us on Instagram for more cooking inspiration!
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