Tulips are high, farmers’ markets feel busier (with produce and people), the sun is shining a little brighter and, oh, your allergies are here: Spring is in full swing. To celebrate, we’ve rounded up some of our lightest, brightest dinners of the season — alongside some hearty staples, just in case it’s still a little cool where you stay. So grab those asparagus, those peas, and that spinach and get cooking with one of these DailyExpertNews Cooking recipes below.
In this ultra-simple puff pastry dinner from Yasmin Fahr, soy-and-mustard brushed salmon and seasonal asparagus are roasted together in no more than 10 minutes for a fresh and flavorful weeknight meal. Think of the generous sprinkling of herbs on top less as a garnish and more like your own salad.
Just as you might be clearing out your chest of drawers of old clothes in May, the refrigerator needs a spring cleaning too. When you’re up to that, keep this highly adaptable recipe from Kay Chun in mind. She uses spring staples (Swiss chard, peas), the fruit tray sediment (really, whatever you have), and that hunk of bread on the counter for her take on ribollita, the classic Italian soup.
Recipe: Spring Cleaning Ribollita
Tart, vibrant rhubarb stalks add flavor and a bit of visual drama to this herb and bean-laden stew from Naz Deravian. The beans vouch for the more traditional meat, making for a breathtaking vegetarian interpretation of a hearty Iranian stew. And no, that’s not a typo in the ingredient list: Five large bunches of spices boil down to create the deeply flavorful, emerald-green base.
Recipe: Khoresh Rivas (savory rhubarb and bean stew)
For those eerily warm spring days where the thermostat creeps to 80 degrees, Hetty McKinnon has fashioned this fresh salad. The little bit of cooking it takes — blanching asparagus and peas — takes no more than two minutes, so you can make the tangy cilantro yogurt, which gives every bite a luxurious creaminess.
Here, Melissa Clark has created a vegetarian main course with an overstuffed farmer’s market tote bag in mind. Asparagus and peas are baked in an aromatic mixture of shallots, garlic and vermouth before being put in a soft polenta bed. And if you’ve gone a little wild at the produce stall, don’t hesitate to add other seasonal vegetables to the mix, such as green peas, radishes or leaf spinach.
Recipe: Polenta With Asparagus, Peas And Mint
Frozen or canned artichoke quarters add a welcome bit of pungency to this quintessential Roman pasta dish. Anna Francese Gass’ recipe, which comes together in 30 minutes, allows the vegetables to soak up the saltiness of the guanciale and spread those flavors throughout the dish.
Recipe: Artichoke Carbonara
In this 25-minute seven-ingredient noodle dish from Ali Slagle, the sweetness of barely cooked asparagus, snow peas and snow peas balances perfectly with the salty taste of capers. Canned fish – mackerel or sardines, choose your favorite! – round off the dish with savory and spiciness.
Recipe: Spring Soba With Canned Fish
Recipe: Stir-fried tofu and asparagus with black pepper
This cool salad of shredded chicken and sliced snow peas is ideal for a picnic, perfect for luging to the park on those gorgeous 72-degree afternoons. Hana Asbrink throws it all in a tangy sesame mayonnaise dressing, which you should wisely double or triple for future lunches and alfresco meals.
Recipe: Sesame Snap Pea-Chicken Salad
In this springy mezze from Yotam Ottolenghi, a lemony, garlic yogurt wraps white beans before garnishing with spicy peas, feta, and an easy homemade dukkah that you’ll want to keep on hand to liven up other dishes. While this meal can be enjoyed anytime, anywhere, it tastes especially good on a patio, in the waning evening sun, with a spritz and some grilled bread.
Recipe: Yogurt Butter Beans With Pistachio Dukkah
This stovetop braise is made for those floating over the spinach artichoke dip at a party. Sarah DiGregorio has transformed the appetizer into something more substantial, and while spinach and artichokes are screaming spring, this rich, creamy dish can be enjoyed all year round, thanks to the frozen and jarred veggies.