From salmon to kale to avocado to sweet potatoes, there are some foods that have probably earned a spot in your kitchen year-round. But others might only make a brief—albeit delicious—seasonal appearance. Now that things are (finally!) starting to warm up, it’s time to trade in your winter meal workhorses for lighter spring choices. Next time you hit the market, add these warmer-weather fruits, vegetables, and cooking staples to your basket. And hurry up! Some of them might be gone again before it’s warm enough to wear your shorts and sandals.
1. Baby Artichokes
They’re sweeter than full-size artichokes, and because you don’t have to remove the tough inner choke, the entire thing is edible. (So they’re way easier to prep. All you have to do is remove the tough outer leaves, and you’re good to go.)Spring Recipe Idea: Have warm braised baby artichokes as a side for chicken or fish, or add them to a salad like this warm braised baby artichoke salad with white beans and manchego.
2. Fresh Berries
Now’s the time of year when strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries start tasting juicy and flavorful, instead of like cardboard. So stock up!Spring Recipe Idea: Make the most of their sweet tartness by pairing them with richer, creamier ingredients like goat cheese. Scaling Back’s blackberry fennel pizza with goat cheese would make an insanely good spring dinner.
3. New Potatoes
The small, waxy spuds are firmer and less starchy than larger Russett or Yukon Gold potatoes, so they hold up especially well in salads… and we know you’re going to start craving more salads.Spring Recipe Idea: Instead of the usual gloppy, mayo-laden potato salad, try this French potato salad with green beans and egg from Leite’s Culinaria. It’s lighter, and the olive oil-based dressing means you can leave it sitting out at your picnic. (Pro tip: Toss the potatoes with the dressing while they’re still warm, so they absorb more of the dressing flavor.)
4. Tender Lettuces
You might think of salad as a hot-weather food, but lettuces actually grow best when the weather is still on the cooler side. That’s why spring is the best time to enjoy sweet, tender greens like butter lettuce, Bibb lettuce, mache, and watercress.Spring Recipe Idea: Try them in a bright, clean salad, like Feasting at Home’s watercress and citrus salad with turmeric dressing.
5. Fava Beans
Fresh fava beans are pretty much exclusive to springtime—so if you spot them at your market, scoop them up. Prepping them takes a little bit of work—you have to remove the beans from their pods and slip the tough outer skin off each bean. But the rich, buttery flavor is worth it.Spring Recipe Idea: Try smashing fava beans on toast and topping them with a poached egg, like Tiny Inklings does it.
Sure, you can get asparagus year-round. But you’ll find the thinnest, sweetest, most tender stalks in the springtime (and they won’t cost an arm and a leg).Spring Recipe Idea: Instead of roasting or steaming the whole stalks, try something different. Shave asparagus into noodle-like strands and top them with creamy ricotta and chopped pistachio, like this Platings and Pairings recipe.
There’s nothing like fresh herbs for springtime cooking. This fern-like herb’s fresh, sweet flavor makes any dish feel lighter.Spring Recipe Idea: Toss coarsely chopped dill leaves into a salad or use dill to add brightness in cooked dishes. We are so making this roasted carrots with feta and dill dish from Neighbor Food.
Spring is all about mild, delicate flavors—and that’s exactly what you’ll get from chives, which are slightly onion-y without being overpowering.Spring Recipe Idea: They’re especially great with eggs. At your next breakfast, make this swiss chard potato chive frittata from The Foodie Dietitian to get your dose of chives.
You might’ve passed on icy mint over the winter. But now that the weather’s warming up, the cooling flavor feels just right.Spring Recipe Idea: For a burst of freshness, try adding whole mint leaves to spring rolls—like Cocoon Cooks’s rainbow spring rolls with mango, basil, and lime tahini cream.
This garnish might be available year-round, but the fresh grass-like herb is especially welcome in spring. DIY tip: If you plant your own parsley (bonus points to you), plant them 3-4 weeks before the last spring frost, so when the warm spring weather hits, you’ll have parsley readily available in your garden or pot.Spring Recipe Idea: Try trading in the usual basil for parsley in pesto. It’s delicious on grain and veggie bowls, like Scaling Back’s super vegan bowl with parsley cashew pesto.
11. Bee Pollen
The jury’s still out on whether bee pollen will actually help your seasonal allergy symptoms, but hey, it can’t hurt to try, right? There’s no question that its light, floral flavor livens up spring desserts.Spring Recipe Idea: Try it in homemade frozen yogurt, like Kitchen McCabe’s salted honey chamomile frozen yogurt.
12. Arborio Rice
You can obviously get this any time of year, but it’s worth mentioning because it’s an essential component in spring risotto. Even if your pantry is usually stocked with whole grains, it’s worth making an exception for white Arborio rice. The high starch content is what makes risotto so rich and velvety.Spring Recipe Idea: Try this sweet, creamy spring pea risotto from What’s Gaby Cooking.
Spring means you’re probably spending more time outside—and less time in the kitchen. (Hello, after-work bike rides and frisbee!) Having a few cans of chickpeas on hand means you always have a nutritious, no-cook protein source ready for fast meals.Spring Recipe Idea: Instead of tossing them in the usual salad, try making Vanilla and Bean’s smashed chickpea salad sandwich.
14. Frozen Fruit
Now that it’s warming up, you might be more likely to crave a frosty smoothie or smoothie bowl. Save the delicate fresh berries for cooking and use frozen berries in your blended drinks instead. They’re less expensive, but they’re just as delicious. Plus, they’ll stay good in your freezer all season long.Spring Recipe Idea: Blissful Basil’s cosmic strawberry ginger peach bliss bowl is a dream for breakfast or dessert.
Buttermilk sounds so wintry, right? But it made our list because it’s a key ingredient in homemade herby dressings and dips. Plus, real buttermilk is a fermented food, so it’s a great source of probiotics. (Look for buttermilk made with live active cultures, like lactococcus lactis or leuconostoc cremoris.)Spring Recipe Idea: The Gracious Pantry’s clean-eating ranch dressing is made with buttermilk, Greek yogurt, and loads of fresh herbs.
16. Goat Cheese
Creamy, citrusy goat cheese is a delicious contrast to spring’s sweet vegetables—without being overpowering. Even though you can get it anytime of year, goat cheese just adds something special to spring dishes.Spring Recipe Idea: Try crumbling it over roasted vegetables (like beets or asparagus). Or roll rounds of goat cheese in panko, pan-fry, and serve over green salads, like this quinoa and greens salad from Just a Taste.