These essential Spring ingredients grow just like the name of the season; they spring up seemingly overnight. Most are light in texture with bright flavors. The foods of Spring are exactly what our bodies need to shake off the sluggish feelings of winter feel re-energized.
I love creating recipes that celebrate the freshness of Spring ingredients. Those that are available all year long are at their tastiest in Spring. Others can only be found for a few short weeks. Either way if you spy these Spring ingredients snap them up to be enjoyed immediately.
Over the next few months, keep your eyes open for these vibrant Spring ingredients. Don't be afraid to try something new!
Photo via: lifeasastrawberry.com
Thanks to its popularity and how easy it is to grow, we see arugula year round but it is at its best in the cool months of spring and fall. Its long spiky leaves vary in flavor from mild to peppery making it a wonderful addition to salads, pasta, or even to top pizza.
Arugula recipes to try:
- Fresh Tomatoes and Arugula Risotto
- Easy Arugula and Blistered Tomato Crostini
- Arugula and Asiago Pesto
- Cauliflower and Arugula Soup
Photo via: dinneratthezoo.com
Usually green, sometimes purple or white (grown under the soil) asparagus spears are best eaten soon after picking. Thick or thin, look for supple spears with good color and tight buds at the top. A fun fact about asparagus: we eat the shoots of what would grow into a large feathery fern if left unharvested.
Asparagus recipes to try:
- Balsamic strawberry asparagus
- Spring Pasta with Asparagus and Edamame
- Lemon Asparagus Pasta with Grilled Chicken
- Crispy Parmesan Asparagus Spears with Lemony Aioli
- Roasted Asparagus with garlic and parmesan
Photo via: eatingrichly.com
You can recognize chard by its large dark green leaves and thick colorful stems. Several varieties are often available, like Swiss, red, and golden. Rainbow chard is a combination of the three. Chard is a two-for-one vegetable in that the leaves and stems can be cooked separately. The leaves are often braised (cooked with a flavorful liquid) while the stems can be sautéed or roasted.
Chard recipes to try:
- Leek chard frittata
- Sauteed greens and onions
- Tortilla-less "Enchiladas”
- Swiss Chard Gratin
- Orange Braised Rainbow Chard
Photo via: abeautifulmess.com
Parsley, mint, chives, cilantro, rosemary, and more are happiest in the temperate seasons. These herbs instantly liven up a recipe. Softer herbs like parsley, mint, or chives should be added near the end or after a recipe is cooked to maintain their bright flavors. Try mixed herb into a salad for a refreshing twist. Use the woody stemmed herbs in cooked recipes like roasts, soups, or sauces so their essence infuses the main ingredients.
Fresh Herb recipes to try:
- Chimmichurri Sauce
- Whipped Goat Cheese with Lemon and Herbs
- Brown ButterHerb Garlic Knots
- Roasted Vegetables with Fresh Herbs
- Creamy pea and fresh herb fettuccine
Green Garlic or Garlic Scapes
Photo via: teaspoonofspice.com
Green garlic is immature garlic that has been pulled early to make room for the remaining garlic plants to grow into bulbs. It has a milder flavor than mature garlic but is stronger than an onion. Green garlic can be minced and used just like garlic or kept raw to showcase its strong bite. Garlic scapes are the mature stalks from hard-neck garlic. The firm green stalks grow in whimsical swirls and twists giving them a fantastical appearance. Garlic scapes have a mild but distinctly garlic flavor. They can be used raw or cooked. You are most likely to find these ingredients at a farmers' market or a supermarket with a specialty produce department.
Green Garlic or Garlic Scape recipes to try:
- Garlic Scape Green Goddess Dressing
- What are scapes and how do I cook them?
- White Bean and Garlic Scape Dip
- Grilled Tofu Steaks with Pistachio & Garlic Scape Pesto
Photo via: howsweeteats.com
Lettuce is another ingredient that prefers mild temperatures but has become available year-round. If the larger leaves feel a bit dull look for one of the many other varieties of lettuces available in Spring: butter lettuce, mesclun (a mix of tender young greens), mâche or lamb's lettuce, purslane, or watercress. These less commercially grown lettuces tend to have a more pronounced flavor that the most common grocery store options. You are likely to find a wider variety of lettuces at farmers' markets.
Lettuce recipes to try:
- Ottolenghi's Potato Salad
- Greek Chicken Lettuce Cups
- Lentil & Tempeh Lettuce Wraps
- Spiced Lettuce Cake Bars
Photo via: handletheheat
Unlike the light bright flavors of the other Spring ingredients listed, morel mushrooms have an earthy richness reminiscent of their forest floor home. Fresh morels are a treat in creamy pasta dishes or heartier stews. They are very fragile and highly perishable. Fresh morels should be used immediately or dried for longer term storage. In the store you are most likely to find them dried. Morels grow wild in the Pacific Northwest - foraging them is a wonderful weekend adventure. Like all wild mushrooms morels have deadly impostors and should only be harvested under the direction of an experienced mushroom hunter.
Mushroom recipes to try:
Photo via: eatingrichly.com
Unlike the potatoes that have been stored all winter, new potatoes are small with a thin skin. They have more moisture than overwintered potatoes and tend to be sweeter. New potatoes are excellent in salads or simply prepared as a side dish.
New potato recipes to try:
- Easy New Potatoes - ready in 30 minutes
- Greek Yogurt Potato Salad with Parsley and Dill
- New Potatoes in Garlic Cream Sauce
- Sausage Potato Bake
- Green Bean Potato Salad
Photo via: thecozyapron.com
Known for their peppery bite, Spring radishes are much sweeter and their bright colors make a wonderful contrast to all the fresh greens on this list. Try boiling radishes, they will soften and the taste similar to a potato!
Radish recipes to try:
- How to Quick Pickle Radishes
- Radish Sweet Pea Salad
- Radishand Cucumber Salad
- Hoisin Steak Sliders with MarinatedRadishes and Spicy Asian Slaw
Photo via: hummingbirdhigh.com
Often used like a fruit, it is easy to forget rhubarb is a vegetable. Its celery like stalks range from green to fuchsia and are naturally very tart. Cooked with fruit or a bit of sugar rhubarb has a lovely tang. Though commonly sweetened rhubarb is wonderful in savory cooking. When simmered with onions and spices rhubarb makes a wonderful sweet and sour chutney.
Rhubarb recipes to try: