After that heat wave we had last week, it is starting to feel like spring has sprung — even if the warm weather only comes in short bursts. Regardless, we can still embrace the season by cooking with all of the spring vegetables that are starting to show up at farmers markets throughout the East Bay. For a little inspiration after hitting the market, here’s a collection of our favorite springtime recipes. We’ve got ideas for dinner, sides, snacks and (of course) plenty of dessert. Our recipes come from a range of contributors, so you’ll find ideas from Uproot Kitchen, Dining with Dostoevsky, Yummy Supper, Butter Sugar Flowers and Bay Area Bites.
Roasted Vegetable Bulgur Bowl with Lamb Meatballs This roasted vegetable bulgur bowl with lamb meatballs is a complete spring dinner dish that comes together easily. The lamb meatballs are studded with sun-dried tomatoes and feta, complementing the base of roasted vegetables, lemony bulgur wheat and collard greens.
Vinegar Chicken with Rosemary and Garlic This easy chicken recipe is a no-brainer for harried weeknight dinners. In it, the vinegar turns to a sticky glaze, flecked with rosemary, that cradles softened whole cloves of garlic, yielding a lot of flavor. For chicken lovers, it’s nothing short of delectable.
Quinoa and Kale Patties These quinoa and kale patties hit all the marks: packed with superfoods, they’re nourishing yet hearty at the same time. Plus they appeal to kids as well as grownups!
Snacks and Sides
Extra-Creamy Homemade Hummus Rainbows of tasty carrots and other dippable veggies are now making their appearance at farmers markets, and there’s no better dip in which to scoop them than homemade hummus. It’s easy to do, and with a few tricks, can turn out just as good — if not better — than anything you can find at the store.
Homemade Sauerkraut We’re still getting pounds of cabbage from our CSA, and we think the best way to handle the ongoing glut is to transform it into multi-purpose sauerkraut. Nothing can really compare to the simple pleasures of making your own sauerkraut at home. It’s almost criminally easy to ferment cabbage, plus DIY sauerkraut is an excellent place to get creative and experiment.
Greek-Style Yogurt Cups with Cardamom Mango It’s easy to see the appeal of a single-serve Greek yogurt cup — colorful, fun, and protein-packed, one single cup has enough nutrient heft to get me through an afternoon lull. But the truth is, it is easy to do better, much better, than store brands by making yogurt at home. It requires patience, about 24 hours of it, but most of the time is hands-off. Plus, you can control the quality and fat content of the milk, as well as the sugar content of the fruit. We call that a win-win-win.
Cinnamon roasted carrot and farro salad This cinnamon roasted carrot farro salad combines the caramelized bite of roasted carrots with chewy grains of farro, crisp baby lettuce, crunchy pumpkin seeds and sweet raisins — all tossed with a simple mixture of honey, lemon juice, olive oil, and vinegar.
Prue Leith’s Avocado Salad with Strawberry Sauce This colorful salad is rich in flavor — both nutty and vibrant — and offers a pleasing textural contrast as well; imagine silky smooth sauce meeting small wedges of soft avocado sprinkled with crunchy bits of walnuts. At first glance, it may seem either too pretty to eat, but all it takes is one bite to convince you that you’ve stumbled upon a recipe worthy of becoming a spring and summer staple.
Rhubarb Rum Sandwich Cakes Creamy, tangy, and warm at once, these informal little cakes offer vibrancy both to the palate and the eye. The tartness of the rhubarb, the rich creamy filling, and the subtle kick of rum make for an utterly tasty trio. Hearty and decadent, a rhubarb rum sandwich cake is perfect as a standalone dessert or snack. Most of all, it’s a scrumptious way to celebrate the season and catch rhubarb while you can!
Sesame Matzah Bars Fragrant with nutty sesame flavor, sweet, crisp sesame matzah bars offer the moist richness of almond paste and the tart tang of fresh orange peel. Alongside the light crunch of seeds and matzah, the gooey honey makes the texture sing. A legendary, symbolic bread in the form of a complex, delightful dessert: this signals celebration!
Mulberry Oat Cookies With their soft, tender bite and their deliciously distinctive flavors, mulberry oat cookies are a new favorite in my crowd. Warm with molasse-sy brown sugar and rich browned butter, the chewy, whole mulberries find a perfect home in a hearty and succulent format. Speckles of butter and spice bring on the decadence, while whole wheat and oats offer a balance of wholesomeness.
Nasturtium Fingerprint Cookies It wasn’t long before I went nasturtium-picking, and before I knew it, I’d transformed them into a delectable treat. These delectable cookies are subtly peppery, sweet and buttery, and they impart a refreshing floral fruitiness in every bite. Wonderful with a hot cup of tea or coffee, they’re perfect any time of year nasturtiums can be found — or any time of day for that matter.
Mango Meringue Pie This pie is vivid with complementary flavors — the crumbly, coconutty crust is perfectly studded with rich macadamia pieces, and the trace of lime is just enough to highlight the tangy fruit filling. Mango lovers are sure to enjoy the filling of almost pure mango, while those with a sweet tooth will happily devour the sweet meringue topping. Taken all together, though, this pie is surely at its best. There is a marvelous magic that happens when creamy, sweet, fruity and nutty meet in one bite.
Green Pea and Fresh Peppermint Cake Deliciously fresh-tasting, this sweet pea cake is an unusual dessert whose flavor hints at spring. Rather unsurprisingly, its complex texture reminds one of moist carrot cake with pineapple in the batter, while its flavor offers grassy hints that perfectly highlight the citrus and mint within.