21 Ways to Eat All the Green Things This Spring

updated May 1, 2019
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One of the best parts about spring, in addition to the rising temperatures and the first blooms, has to be all of the fresh green things popping up at the farmers market and grocery store. After all the heavy eating of winter, we’re more than ready to swap root veggies for bunches of fresh spring greens and bundles of tender asparagus.

Here are just a few ways to start getting that green back in your diet.

(Image credit: Andrea Bemis)

Not only does this quinoa salad have a mix of some of your favorite spring greens like arugula, spinach, or kale, but it’s also topped with homemade green goddess dressing. Basically, it’s one of the greenest dishes you can make.

(Image credit: Sarah E Crowder)

Sometimes simple rules the day. This straightforward salad combines romaine lettuce with creamy avocado for your greens, and layers in orange segments and red onion for a well-balanced flavor profile. The dressing features sherry vinegar and Dijon mustard, and it’s worth making a double batch for later use.

(Image credit: Rachel Joy Barehl)

Served as a side dish or a light lunch, this simple asparagus salad is one to keep in your repertoire. It’s the perfect spring dish, and can be served warm (you sauté the asparagus) or chilled from the fridge. And don’t skimp on the mint — it truly brings the dish together.

(Image credit: Emily Ho)

This socca recipe, made with chickpea flour, is gluten- and dairy-free. Pile on as many additional spring greens as you want, and watch your family or dinner guests gobble it up.

(Image credit: Erin Alderson)

These crunchy, fresh spring rolls just taste like, well, spring. Set these out for your next dinner party instead of a cheese plate. The toasted smoky notes of tahini in the dipping sauce is a delicious contrast to their bright and slightly sweet filling.

(Image credit: Quentin Bacon)

Can’t wait for cucumber season to start making fermented pickles? Then try your hand at making asparagus pickles. They are the perfect side dish for all your spring sandwiches and early grilling. Plus, it’s a great way to make sure you can enjoy the spears even after asparagus season wanes.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

Not all the green things you eat have to be leafy. Case in point? This simple, light spring soup that’s perfect for those days when there’s still a dampness to the air. You can use chicken or vegetable stock depending on your preference or what you have on hand.

(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

If you want a killer salad, try a recipe from the best: Alice Waters. This simple salad is instantly upgraded, thanks to the baked goat cheese. Walnuts and straightforward sherry vinegar and walnut oil dressing top it off.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

Admittedly, microgreens can be on the pricey side, but they do make for a fancier salad that’s perfect for dinner parties or weekend book club lunches. If you want to save money on your grocery bill, it’s just as easy to substitute baby greens like spinach or arugula in their place.

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

If your favorite thing to order when you go out for Chinese food or ramen happens to be garlicky greens, then it’s time to learn to make the dish at home. Try bok choy or romaine lettuce when you stir-fry a batch of your own.

(Image credit: Anjali Prasertong)

This salad is chock-full of some of our favorite spring greens: fresh romaine hearts, crisp celery, and delicately sweet sugar snap peas. The peppery radishes give it a bit of a bite, and the dill dressing brings everything together.

(Image credit: Megan Gordon)

The key to this fresh, springy quiche recipe is the pile of lemony sorrel that sits atop the baked quiche. And to make things extra special, we’ve included our favorite quiche ingredient: ricotta.

(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

Part salad, part stir-fry, this spicy, garlicky dish from Nigel Slater stars a combination of wilted salad greens and fresh pea shoots. Everyone at the table will be clamoring for seconds of this inventive main dish.

(Image credit: Erin Alderson)

If you still want a spring meal that feels a bit decadent, try your hand at making this ricotta gnocchi recipe. The mix of spring peas, lemon zest, chives, and creamy ricotta is the stuff dinner parties are made of. To make the recipe even easier, you can also sub in store-bought gnocchi in a pinch.

(Image credit: Christina Holmes)

If you’ve never tried chrysanthemum leaves, you’re in for a treat. The slightly grassy, herbaceous leaves pair perfectly with crumbled tofu and a sesame oil and rice vinegar dressing. Plus, the cilantro that’s mixed in gives it an herbal bite.

(Image credit: Melissa Ryan)

We love collards for their sturdy leaves and mild, slightly sweet flavor. While we normally eat them stewed or braised, they are just as good raw. They make the perfect stand-in for sandwich bread, pitas, or wraps for anyone looking for a fresh way to enjoy a favorite sandwich filing.

(Image credit: Karen Biton-Cohen)

For a springy take on traditional risotto, we’ve swapped the arborio rice for pearl barley, which has a nuttier flavor. But before you think this is a heavy grain dish, know that the combination of asparagus, basil, and lemon zest lightens things up. One thing we didn’t change? The generous portion of Parmesan.

(Image credit: Emily Han)

Lima bean haters, we’re betting you just haven’t tried the right preparation yet for the starchy legume. This minty salad is made with fresh lima beans, which are much sweeter than their cooked counterpart.

(Image credit: Coco Morante)

If you can snag some early zucchini, get out your spiralizer and whip up some veggie noodles. If you’re trying to go low-carb, gluten-free, or Paleo, or just looking to use up that bumper crop, “zoodles” are sure to become a big part of your summer diet. There’s no reason not to start enjoying them now.

(Image credit: Karla Conrad)

The spinach leaves in this soup are added right at the end before you serve the dish so they are just slightly wilted and still retain some freshness. While we love the combo of spinach and lentils, the fragrant spice that flavors this soup truly makes it a stand-out. Bonus: It only takes 30 minutes to cook in the pressure cooker.

(Image credit: Sara Kate Gillingham)

21. Pasta with Mint Pesto, Peas, and Ricotta Salata

Sometimes simple is just best. This pasta dish can be tossed together no matter how busy a weeknight might feel. The salty ricotta salata is the perfect complement to the fresh mint and slightly sweet spring peas.