Spring is finally here, but in the northeast that doesn’t guarantee warm days and sunshine. So to help you get through those cold, rainy days that are sure to arrive before we can finally swap winter coats for spring jackets, I’m starting with two tasty spring soups. This Leek and Fish Stew with Herb Salad is full of silky, shiny leeks with lots of lemony fresh herbs, perfect for a light supper or warming lunch. Add a crusty loaf of bread to mop up the flavorful broth.
Spring Vegetable Pasta e Fagioli with Fresh Peas, Artichokes and Cannellini Beans makes a hearty soup packed with flavor for lunch or dinner. If you’re not planning to serve the whole dish at once, store the precooked pasta in the refrigerator in an airtight container and portion it out for each serving rather than adding everything to the pot when the soup is cooked. Otherwise, the pasta will soak up broth overnight and at the same time lose its beautiful “al dente” texture.
This vegetarian carrot tartare makes an elegant starter (think Easter!) or can be enjoyed as a main course. Be sure to serve it with slices of toast made from a sliced baguette. It also makes a great quick and healthy lunch if prepared ahead of time.
Vegans and omnivores will enjoy this Roasted Raisin Bulgur Salad. It’s served with a savory curry dressing sweetened with maple syrup that you’re sure to find ways to enjoy with other salads, oven-roasted vegetables and more.
Spice up your spring with the colorful Thai Chopped Chicken Salad filled with purple cabbage, red bell pepper, orange carrots and fresh green cilantro. The kick comes from the sriracha added to a creamy almond butter dressing. (And note: The recipe calls for coconut aminos, which is a common substitute for soy sauce if you want to avoid soy products.)
Mint is one of the first herbs to appear in the garden in the spring. When the green leaves appear, add them to the spring pea pasta with truffle oil, lemon and mint. Fresh English peas are a long way off in early spring, so using frozen peas here is fine. (The same goes for the Pasta e Fagioli above.)
When it’s warm enough to spend time by the grill, it’s time for grilled salmon in Cajun cream sauce. Less rich than it looks, this recipe is dairy-free with the use of coconut “cream” from canned coconut milk. Go back to the teaspoon of cayenne pepper if you’re not so keen on having a spicy dinner.
Golden brown chicken with crispy skin is hard to resist and so is the crispiest spring chicken. This recipe comes with a green garlic sauce to dribble on top. Serve Meyer Lemon Rice with Garlic Confit on the side – this is a recipe that would make a delicious side dish not just for chicken, but just about any grilled fish, chicken or other favorite protein .
Dessert is always at hand when you can whip up a sweet four-ingredient treat like these chewy Amaretti cookies. You might want to turn these into cookie sandwiches with an easy chocolate ganache spread as a recipe suggests. And finally, when you’re ready to celebrate the arrival of spring, try this recipe for Individual Strawberry Spring Trifles with their festive layers of limoncello cake, homemade vanilla pudding, and ripe red strawberries. All the elements can be made ahead and the trifles assembled before your party, so you can better spend your time catching up with friends and family after what felt like an extra-long winter. Bring on the spring in the kitchen!
Genie McPherson Trevor is the founding editor of Edible Rhody magazine, a quarterly food journal that celebrates Rhode Island’s local and seasonal bounty. Edible Rhody is a member of Edible Communities, the award-winning James Beard publishing group with over 80 local Edible magazines in print across the United States and Canada.
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