What’s In Season: Spring Produce and Recipe Guide
When you’re trying to eat more seasonally, it’s helpful to have a short guide to what’s at its best, when! In this produce guide, we’re showcasing 10 fruits and veggies that shine in the springtime. You’ll learn about the health benefits of each and find more than 100 recipes to inspire you to use seasonal spring produce in your own kitchen. Happy shopping, happy eating!
I’ve written before about how I’ve enjoyed paying more attention to what foods are in season, and letting that guide grocery shopping and meal planning for our home. There’s a lot to love about eating seasonally:
- Eating foods at their peak, when they’re freshest and most flavorful.
- Saving money. In most major metro areas, it’s possible to buy almost any food, any time, but you pay a premium. When you shop in season, you save.
- Taking advantage of local farmers markets and CSAs. This is a wonderful way to shop, and really goes hand-in-hand with a more seasonal approach to eating.
Spring is officially underway, and is such a wonderful time to embrace seasonal eating. We persevered through winter on leafy greens and citrus fruits, but in spring most of us have far more locally grown options and a real burst of color and flavor. Just what the doctor ordered!
Read on to discover 10 fruits and veggies that shine in the springtime and more than 100 recipe ideas to help you use them!
Spring Produce Guide: Artichokes
Artichokes can be intimidating – all those pointy spears! But they’re also delicious and ready vehicles to steam, stuff, braise, or roast to your heart’s content. Plus, they’re packed with antioxidants and fiber, low in calories, and high in protein, as veggies go.
Canned or jarred artichokes are always an option and work beautifully in many recipes, especially dips and spreads. All the same, cooking with fresh artichokes is rewarding and just plain fun, so pick one up at the farmers market or grocery store and give it a try! The peak season for artichokes is March through May. (source, source, source)
- How to Cook and Eat an Artichoke from Simply Recipes
- How to Cook Artichokes in the Instant Pot from Clean Eating Kitchen
- The Most Amazing Roasted Artichokes from Gimme Some Oven (fresh)
- Lemon Pistachio Stuffed Artichokes from My San Francisco Kitchen (fresh)
- Hot Crab Dip Stuffed Artichokes from Fox and Briar (fresh)
- Almond-Herb Pesto Pasta with Artichoke and Tomato from Rachael Ray (fresh or canned)
- 10-Minute White Bean Artichoke Basil Toasts from Pinch of Yum (canned/jarred)
- Italian Antipasto Vegetarian Sandwich from Killing Thyme (canned/jarred)
- Skinny Crockpot Spinach Artichoke Dip (canned/jarred)
Spring Produce Guide: Asparagus
Asparagus is one of my absolute favorite spring produce finds! I really came to appreciate it after living for three years in Belgium, where you simply couldn’t buy green asparagus outside of its peak spring season. White asparagus was more widely available, but I personally never got on board with that. 😉
Roast it, grill it, add it to pasta, or mix with a protein to round out a quick skillet meal. Asparagus has essentially no calories, but is rich in fiber, folate, and vitamins A, C, E, and K, with a bevy of other health benefits. (source) And you know it’s delicious wrapped in bacon or prosciutto!
- Roasted Lemon Pepper Asparagus
- Lemon Asparagus Pasta with Shrimp and Pistachios
- Chimichurri Chicken Asparagus Skillet
- Creamy Chicken and Asparagus Pasta from Tastes Better From Scratch
- Asparagus Sweet Potato Chicken Skillet from Primavera Kitchen
- One-Pot Whole-Wheat Spring Pasta with Asparagus, Peas, and Parmesan from Two Healthy Kitchens
- Shrimp Scampi Pasta with Asparagus from Natasha’s Kitchen
- Grilled Asparagus with Balsamic Syrup from Savory Sweet Life
- Easy Cheesy Asparagus from Salt and Lavender
- Garlic Butter Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus from Cafe Delites
- Bacon Wrapped Asparagus from Dinner at the Zoo
Spring Produce Guide: Avocado
Few of us need much convincing to embrace the avocado! Avocado has been on trend for several years now, and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon. Thank goodness!
Fun fact: avocado is a fruit, specifically a berry! An avocado is packed with healthy fats; carotenoids, which can boost eye health as you age; and more than 20 vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. (source, source, source) Avocados are relatively high in calories, but because many of the calories come from those healthy, monounsaturated fats, they keep you feeling full longer – always useful. So make me some avocado toast and pass the guac!!
- Perfect Classic Guacamole
- Fresh Mango Avocado Salsa
- Cilantro Lime Chicken with Avocado Salsa from Joyful Healthy Eats
- How To Make Avocado Toast Four Ways from Killing Thyme
- Tahini Ranch Avocado Chicken Salad from Gimme Some Oven
- Baja Fish Tacos with Avocado Crema + Chipotle Slaw from Root + Revel
- Avocado Kale Caesar Salad + Sweet Potato Fries from Pinch of Yum
- Avocado Shrimp Salad with Citrus Miso Dressing from Little Spice Jar
- Spicy Tuna Stuffed Avocado from Salt and Lavender
- Cucumber Avocado Wraps from Girl Gone Gourmet
- Avocado Pasta Salad from Spend With Pennies
Spring Produce Guide: Broccoli
Broccoli is one of those veggies that is more or less always available, but generally the plants prefer cooler temperatures, so it’s a perfect early spring option. (source) It’s high in fiber, protein, and a whole array of vitamins and minerals, including folic acid. (source) It also happens to be extremely versatile – and always delicious with cheese – so you won’t hear me complaining about its extended availability.
- Healthy Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli from Ina Garten (this stuff is ADDICTING)
- Favorite Broccoli Salad from Cookie + Kate
- Pesto Broccoli from What’s Gaby Cooking
- Easy Weeknight Bacon Broccoli Pasta from How Sweet Eats
- 12-Minute Chicken and Broccoli from Gimme Some Oven
- 15-Minute Keto Garlic Chicken with Broccoli and Spinach from Gimme Delicious
- Creamy Garlic Parmesan Broccoli and Bacon from Cafe Delites
- Easy Cheesy Broccoli Rice from Budget Bytes
- Broccoli and Cheese Casserole from Dinner at the Zoo
- Extra Crunchy Broccoli Salad from Bunsen Burner Bakery
Spring Produce Guide: Fennel
I must admit that fresh fennel has yet to grace the pages of this blog, and I’ve only cooked with it once or twice! Maybe this is the year I change that? I keep dried fennel seeds in the pantry to flavor Italian sauces and the occasional pork tenderloin, but the fresh stuff generally eludes me.
I can’t say why – it’s not a mystery food by any means. Fennel belongs to the carrot family, and looks a little bit like a cross between an onion and base of celery, where all the stalks come together. It typically adds a light, bright, spring-like flavor to a dish, and could be roasted, braised, or just sliced raw into a salad or slaw. (source) It can have a slight licorice taste, so bear that in mind as you experiment!
- Basic Roasted Fennel from Fine Cooking
- Pasta with Fennel, Kale, and Lemon from A Beautiful Plate
- Grilled Fennel with Parmesan and Lemon from Skinny Taste
- Curry Roasted Fennel Salad with Rosemary Tahini Dressing from Minimalist Baker
- Fennel Salad with Walnuts and Avocado from Love & Lemons
- Shaved Fennel and Celery Salad from Platings + Pairings
- Easy One Pan Mediterranean Baked Cod with Fennel, Kale, and Black Olives from Abra’s Kitchen
- Italian Parmesan Baked Fennel from An Italian in my Kitchen
- Roasted Fennel and Quinoa Crunch Salad from The First Mess
- Roasted Fennel, Mushroom, and White Bean Brown Rice Gratin from Vanilla and Bean
Spring Produce Guide: Fresh Herbs
Using fresh herbs is one of the simplest ways to go from everyday to gourmet. Most of us are probably accustomed to seeing herbs as a garnish, but they can also play a starring role. And, hello – pesto and chimichurri! Herbs are the backbone of these and other amazing sauces that keep well in the fridge and are essentially magic shortcuts to fresh, delicious meals.
Herbs are so fragrant and delicious, it’s easy to forget that they also have health benefits in their own right. For instance, I recently read that oregano has four times the antioxidant power as blueberries! (source) If you’d like to read more about cooking with fresh herbs, you can find a great reference from The Food Network here, and more ideas here at Nutritious Life.
Recipes with Fresh Herbs
- Homemade Basil Pesto with Lemon Zest
- Wholesome Zucchini Basil Pesto
- Pistachio and Herb-Crusted Pan-Seared Salmon
- Parmesan Herb-Crusted Red Potatoes
- Creamy (non-dairy!) Roasted Tomato Basil Soup
- Skirt Steak with Chimichurri Sauce from Tastes Lovely
- Pan-Seared Cod in Herb and Garlic Butter from Killing Thyme
- 5-Minute Magic Green Sauce from Pinch of Yum
- Herb-Loaded Kale and Quinoa Salad from Monday Sunday Kitchen
- Herb-Infused Ice Cubes from The Merry Thought
- Citrus Blueberry Thyme Cake from Hungry Rabbit
Spring Produce Guide: Peas
Peas come in many varieties, but they’re all good and good for you! OK, admittedly I was a skeptic as a child, but since then I’ve come full circle. Frozen peas are a great staple for a quick and easy weeknight veggie, but come spring time, we have the added bonus of finding sugar snap, garden, and snow peas in the markets, and that just makes a good thing even better.
Peas are a starchy vegetable, and serve as a good source of fiber, protein, and vitamin A. They also have antioxidants as well as iron. (source) Who knew? All reasons I am extra happy that peas are the latest veggie my three-year-old has started to eat. Progress! 🙂
Spring Peas Recipes
- Spring Sugar Snap Pea Salad with Buffalo Mozzarella
- Spring Pea and Asparagus Pasta from Cookie + Kate
- Spring Pea Risotto with Lemon and Pecorino from The Yellow Table
- Spring Pea Pasta with Burrata from What’s Gaby Cooking
- Spring Pea Guacamole from Tori Avey
- Spring Pea Wasabi Soup from A Spicy Perspective
- Spring Pea and Strawberry Salad from No Spoon Necessary
- Easy Bacon Pea Salad from Foodie with Family
- Spring Pea and Basil Soup Recipe from The Inspired Home
- Spring Pea Crostini with Feta and Dill from Well Plated
Spring Produce Guide: Radishes
Radishes are another veggie I’ve only cooked with once or twice – although I do love them on a veggie tray with some white bean dip! They’re incredibly pretty, though, and, like so many veggies, delicious when roasted. So I’m setting my mind to try at least one or two new radish recipes this spring.
- Simple Roasted Radishes from Salt and Lavender
- Salted Rosemary Roasted Radishes from Running to the Kitchen
- Roasted Radish and Brussels Sprouts Salad from Veggie Inspired
- Cucumber Radish Salad from Natasha’s Kitchen
- Pan-Fried Radishes with Bacon from That Low Carb Life
- Quick-Pickled Radishes from Grateful Grazer
- Braised Spring Radishes from Barefeet in the Kitchen
- Radishes with Butter and Salt from A Couple Cooks
- Sauteed Radishes with Vinegar and Herbs from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Spring Produce Guide: Rhubarb
Rhubarb is quintessentially associated with spring, and while it’s most commonly thought of as a pairing with strawberries in crumbles, pies, or other desserts, it has a multitude of other uses, also. I mean, rhubarb BBQ sauce – hello! I’m craving that on some ribs for Memorial Day weekend!
Rhubarb looks a bit like pink celery, and its stalks are nearly always cooked in some way. You won’t typically see rhubarb sold with its broad, dark green leaves still attached, and for good reason – if eaten in really large quantities, they are toxic! The stalks, in contrast, are nutrient-dense: extremely high in fiber, vitamin K, and calcium – almost as much calcium as spinach and salmon, in fact! (source, source, source)
- Strawberry Rhubarb Oat Crumble Bars
- Small Batch Rhubarb Jam from Rhubarbarians
- Easy Rhubarb Breakfast Cake from The View From Great Island
- Rhubarb Crisp from Spend With Pennies
- Rhubarb-Strawberry Smoothie from She Wears Many Hats
- Vegan Strawberry Rhubarb Pop Tarts from Minimalist Baker
- Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Yogurt Parfait from The Wooden Skillet
- Rhubarb BBQ Sauce Grilled Chicken from House of Nash Eats
- Honey Roasted Rhubarb from Two Peas and Their Pod
- Honey Roasted Rhubarb Salad with Fennel and Mint from Abra’s Kitchen (scroll to bottom for recipe)
Spring Produce Guide: Strawberries
Saving the best for last! I doubt many of you need convincing to add strawberries into your diet this spring. But just in case, did you know that strawberries are rich in fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants? (source)
While it may be most common to enjoy strawberries as a snack or in desserts, they also make wonderful additions to salads, and can be a fun base for sauces or other components of savory meals. So buy a full flat at your local market if you can, and pick out a new idea to try this year!
- Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes
- Luscious Strawberry Banana Muffins
- Strawberry Mascarpone Ice Cream
- Easy Strawberry Sorbet from Saving Room for Dessert
- Simple Summer Strawberry Cake from Once Upon a Chef
- Strawberry Oatmeal Bars from Well Plated
- Fresh Strawberry Crisp from Belle of the Kitchen
- Detox Strawberry Chicken Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing from Joyful Healthy Eats
- Shredded Chicken Tacos with Balsamic Strawberry Salsa from Food Faith Fitness
- Strawberry Mango Salsa from Damn Delicious
- Strawberry Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette from A Couple Cooks
- Strawberry Chipotle Glazed Ham from Striped Spatula
- Strawberry Balsamic Chicken from Gimme Some Oven
- Strawberry, Lime, Cucumber, and Mint Infused Water from Wholefully
- Strawberry Bruschetta Grilled Cheese from Foodie Crush
- Almond Butter, Strawberry, and Banana Overnight Oats from Ambitious Kitchen
No doubt there is some variety in what foods come into season at what times, depending on exactly where you are located and your produce is sourced. At the end of the day, I simply hope this post gives you – at least the general northern hemisphere-based you – a basic sense of what’s in for spring, and some inspiration to help you cook and eat with the season.
What other foods and recipes do you look forward to enjoying each spring? Let us know in the comments below!