18 Recipes to Celebrate the Hues of Holi

Colorful dishes to spring your table's tones back to life.

March 17, 2022
Photo by Ty Mecham

Holi is the Hindu festival of color, an annual celebration in Nepal and India that commemorates the coming of spring. While the grasses start to ease their way back to green, residents of these countries spend a day decking themselves out with colored powder, dancing under stained sprinklers, and generally rejoicing in the shades of a new season. This year, the Holi festival will be held on Friday, March 18th, so we’ve rounded up 18 colorful recipes that dramatically display the coming of spring. Not all of them are South Asian, but all are wildly colorful and beautiful, a perfect homage to Holi.

Our Favorite Festive Holi Recipes

1. Carrot & Radicchio Salad With Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette

Nothing says “spring is here” like a carrot-centric salad! There’s only a handful of ingredients here—think: purple radicchio, pistachios, fresh figs, and balsamic vinegar—but each one makes a big impact.

2. Pani Puri

Make this popular Indian street food as part of your Holi feast. These mini pockets, which are truly a labor of love to make (but so worth it), are filled with a classic combo of potatoes and beans, and served alongside tamarind chutney.

3. Potato-Leek Soup With Spiced Chickpeas

Celebrate the near-arrival of spring with this cozy soup made with leeks, which are finally in season. It’s perfect for those breezy days that still have a chill in the air.

4. Naturally-Dyed Red Velvet Cake with Beets & Cream Cheese Frosting

Ditch the intense red food coloring and instead, naturally dye chocolate cake batter with fresh beet purée. A handful of acidic ingredients like buttermilk, lemon juice, vinegar, and, for a little extra acidic punch, some cream of tartar.

5. Crispy Kale Chaat

It’s kale season, baby! Live it up with this recipe inspired by Rasika’s palak chaat. It comes together in a flash and is just right for serving on Hali.

6. Poriyal-Style Green Beans With Peanuts & Lemon

This crunchy South India stir-fry is made with in-season green beans, plus lemon zest, crushed peanuts, and cilantro “to brighten things up and give it some more crunch,” writes recipe developer Masalamama.

7. Spring Vegetable Jumble with Lemon-Tarragon Butter

An avalanche of seasonal vegetables like new potatoes, leeks, carrots, radishes, asparagus, and English peas are tossed together with herbed butter for this easy-to-pair side dish.

8. Vibrant Spring Socca

Our readers call this their favorite recipe made with chickpeas and we can see why. The nuttiness of the socca is a lovely contrast to the fragrant, nutty nature of basil pesto and fresh spring vegetables.

9. Lemon + Olive Oil Marinated Fennel with Burrata & Mint

Burrata is delicious 365 days a year, but pair it with a little bit of lemon, fresh mint, and thinly sliced fennel and it feels just right for a spring holiday like Holi.

10. Green Chile & Cherry Tomato Pickle

Recipe developer Priya Krishna calls this a “five-minute, spicy-bright pickle that will electrify everything from dal to quesadillas.” Sounds like just the thing to make for friends and family on Holi, right?

11. Beetroot Chapatti

Holi is also known as the festival of colors and these vibrant purple chapattis are the epitome of everything fun and festive about the Hindu holiday.

12. Molly Stevens' Roasted Fennel, Red Onion, & Orange Salad

Talk about color! This vivid salad features a bevy of hearty vegetables that will brighten up the dinner table.

13. Spring Vegetable Panzanella with Poached Eggs

Everything we love about spring, packed into one crispy, crunchy salad. Here you’ll find English peas and snow peas, asparagus, leeks, and an herby pesto. Top it off with a poached egg for a complete meal.

14. Brown Butter Couscous With Spring Vegetables

Let whatever seasonal produce you have access to dictate how you formulate this spring meal. For a last-minute Holi celebration, this 15-minute recipe will do the trick.

15. Cheesy Potato Kulchas With Swiss Chard & Scallion

These warm, puffy, flaky, golden-brown pockets are the ultimate soothing snack (especially on those chilly spring days); they’re filled with a combination of roasted potatoes, minced Swiss chard, scallions, caraway and nigella seeds, and melty cheddar cheese.

16. Potato, Corn & Scallion Tikki With Cilantro-Mint Chutney

Chetna Makan is an expert entertainer and says that these tikkis are, by far, the most popular appetizer she serves at parties, which makes it a great option to add to your Holi feast table. The fragrant, herby chutney is a delicious accent for spring dining.

17. Asparagus With Lemon-Pepper Marinade From Bryant Terry

Yes, you can find asparagus year-round. But most of the time it’s not very good. Now that spring is here, so is asparagus season and we’re making the most of it. The creamy dressing gets its thickened, silky texture from tofu blended with lemon juice and zest, olive oil, rice vinegar, and black pepper.

18. Pita Chip Dinner Salad With Stone Fruit & Chickpeas

A big colorful dinner that will feed four people but costs less than $10? It’s true, all thanks to assigning editor Rebecca Firkser! It features a few basic pantry staples, plus seasonal produce like peaches, plums, and cucumbers.

Tell us how you celebrate Holi in the comments below!
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