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Simple Meals to Welcome In Spring

By Staff Writer
Share to PinterestSimple Meals to Welcome In Spring
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The birds are singing, the leaves are budding, and the flowers are just beginning to bloom. After long months of filling up on stick-to-your-ribs winter comfort food, the arrival of spring brings cravings for all things colorful and fresh. There’s no better way to celebrate the changing seasons than enjoying the abundance of fresh, seasonal ingredients on offer.

It's time to put your cold-weather recipes back into hibernation with spring-inspired dishes that will breathe new life into your meal plans.

01

Botanical Focaccia

An artful arrangement of veggies, herbs, and edible blooms make this fragrant Italian flatbread almost too beautiful to eat (almost). Allow focaccia dough to rise and roll it out on a parchment-lined baking sheet into a flattened rectangle shape. Then, arrange a rainbow of edible botanicals—like slivered cherry tomatoes, peppers, purple onions, basil, sage, rosemary, violets, and pansies — in a decorative pattern on top.

The bread is your canvas, so don’t be afraid to get creative! Brush your design with olive oil, add a sprinkle of coarse sea salt, then bake until golden brown.

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02

Potato Leek Soup

This simple soup is a delicious way to take the chill off a blustery spring day. In a large stock pot, fry slivered leeks, peeled potato chunks, minced garlic, and chopped onions in butter before simmering in seasoned vegetable broth for about half an hour.

Once the vegetables are tender, mash them with a potato masher to give the soup a deliciously thick, chowder-like consistency. Add a sprinkle of chopped chives for garnish, and serve with oven-broiled garlic-cheese toast.

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03

Garden Pea Risotto

A lighter, fresher take on comfort food, this heart-warming recipe makes a perfect transitional dish from late winter to early spring. Tender arborio rice, peas (fresh or frozen), pea shoots, and pea puree combine with creamy parmesan and butter for a simple but hearty main or side dish.

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04

Oven-baked Asparagus with Lemon and Feta

Take full advantage of the season’s abundance of fresh asparagus with this insanely easy weeknight dinner recipe. Pile sprigs of trimmed asparagus into a high-rimmed baking dish and pour on some olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Lay a block of whole milk feta over the asparagus with a few thin slivers of lemon on top, then drizzle on some more olive oil. Squeeze on some lemon juice, honey, and a few pinches of cracked pepper over the dish before baking.

Once the feta is melty and golden around the edges and the asparagus is tender, stir in some freshly cooked pasta, roasted potatoes, or rice, and garnish with fresh mint leaves before serving.

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05

Spring-Themed Cheese Board

This bountiful spread allows you to enjoy the bright flavors and colors of the season without turning on your stove or oven. Lay out wedges of gorgonzola, feta, and asiago with flatbread crackers and breadsticks. Pair with a small bowl of freshly made olive tapenade and sliced salami. Walnuts, toasted pine nuts, and a rainbow of sliced seasonal fruits and berries add sweetness.

Serve with a generous side salad of baby arugula tossed with vine-ripened tomatoes and vinaigrette. For the finishing touch, scatter edible flowers and fragrant sprigs of fresh herbs around the edges of the board.

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06

Radishes with Butter

A favorite of foodies in France, this ravishing combo makes an unexpectedly easy appetizer or snack out of this seasonal root vegetable. The fresher the radishes, the better. (They taste best straight out of the garden.) After thoroughly scrubbing raw radishes clean, remove the root and stem then slice them right down the middle. Then, spread about a teaspoon of unsalted herbed butter on top of each portion and sprinkle on some flaky sea salt.

The light, peppery flavor of this root vegetable is the perfect complement to the rich, sweet butter. For a more substantial snack, spread the butter thickly on slices of freshly baked French bread and top with a layer of finely slivered radishes and salt.

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07

Salmon Niçoise

A slightly different take on the tuna classic, this beautiful salad tastes as bright and colorful as it looks! It's packed with fresh, healthy ingredients, including salmon (canned or fresh), salty capers, cucumber, blanched potatoes, juicy cherry tomatoes, Niçoise olives, and hard-boiled eggs, tossed together with a zingy lemon shallot vinaigrette.

It’s the perfect make-ahead dish for spring gatherings.

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08

Strawberry Spinach Salad

This salad bursts with the bright, sun-ripened flavors of your favorite farmers' market finds. Peppery baby spinach leaves and sweet sliced strawberries combine with salty crumbled blue cheese to make a scrumptious lunch or dinner dish. (Substitute feta or goat cheese if desired.)

Drizzle on tangy dijon vinaigrette or your favorite salad dressing, and top it all off with some toasted walnuts for texture and crunch. Toss to combine, and enjoy immediately.

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09

Lemony Linguine with Roasted Fennel and Ricotta

With its delicate and unique anise flavor, this delightful pasta dish is guaranteed to break you out of your recipe rut. Fresh pasta, roasted fennel, and toasted breadcrumbs tossed in a light lemon sauce and topped with a dollop of velvety ricotta make for an impressive plant-based dinner.

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10

Homemade Limoncello

Like a bottle of sunshine, this cheery yellow liqueur from southern Italy is the perfect antidote to the gray days of spring. Best of all, you can make it at home! Infuse a sealed bottle of 100-proof vodka with the peels of 15 lemons for about one month. Add sugar syrup to the lemon-infused vodka, then add a second bottle of vodka to the mix and store it in the freezer. Traditionally an after-dinner drink, limoncello is typically served ice cold. Not a fan of lemons? You can also follow a similar formula to make arancello (orange), meloncello (melon), or fragoncello (strawberry).

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