Our Favorite Low-Pressure Ways to Eat Spring Vegetables

May 11, 2016

All winter, I wait and wait (and wait) for the market to start sprouting green things, but when they finally arrive, I'm dumbstruck.

Curling tendrils and long stalks are intriguing, but I'm scared to cook with them—they feel so prone to damage and potential loss. I've waited all year for them! I must do something great.

Should I be transforming my spring vegetables into something like... this?

Agnolotti, sweet pea, carrot, parmigiano #pastasofperla #eeeeeats

A photo posted by Perla Cafe (@perla_nyc) on

Or this?!

Oh Snap! Come try our new sweet pea eclair. Made with sweet snap peas, strawberries and kumquats.

A photo posted by Bien Cuit Bakery (@biencuitnyc) on

But the app! The app brought me back to reality. Scroll through (Not)Recipes and, thanks to the month of May, you'll find many ideas for incorporating grassy, herby, crunchy, peppery produce into approachable dinners (and desk lunches).

Here are a few of our favorite ways:

  • Fiddleheads can be... befiddling? Befuddling. Blanch them, sauté them in butter, then add to a brown rice bowl (or temper with plenty of cheese and a good pizza crust).
garlic pig
garlic pig
wild pizza toppings...fiddleheads and ramps (wild leeks). sauté both in butter, salt lightly. add a few minced cloves garlic to a tablespoon or so of olive oil, spread on crust, sprinkle with a handful of grated cheese (try smoked mozzarella or gouda!), add toppings, quick bake in hot oven, and usher in spring like nobody's business!

#eatwild #forage #givethanks
Freshly foraged Maine fiddleheads found on my drive home at a road-side stand. Blanched, sauteed, then added to brown rice bowls with sauteed tofu, onions, and baby bok choy with lemon tahini dressing. Yum.
  • Are red sauce pastas a thing of the winter past? You're making creamy, lemony spring pastas now—though plenty of cheese is still involved.
Laura McDermott
Laura McDermott
Homemade ricotta gnocchi (I used instructions from How Sweet It Is) + asparagus sautéed in butter and juice from half a lemon + add gnocchi to pan with more butter till browned, add some remaining pasta water and juice from other half of the lemon + add grated Parmesan cheese and cook till sauce is creamy. Garnished with more cheese and lemon zest
Part durum/00/whole wheat Ravioli filled with blanched nettles and (drained) ricotta,a beaten egg,grated pecorino..topped with favas,green garlic ,mint and butter #springtime
Munchy munchy
Munchy munchy
Orecchiette, peas, Parmesan cheese, ham, onion, olive oil, lemon juice. Spring pasta.
Sometimes you just need a little pasta...or you always need a little pasta. Orzo, preserved lemon, marinated artichoke, bacon lardons, garlic & kale.
Orecchiette w morels, ramps, peas asparagus and marscapone (ok maybe a tiny bit bacon- that was leftover from Sunday) .... Those morels though.
  • Chop and sauté asparagus, then send it straight into your salad. Its posse includes: lemon, ricotta, lentils, chile, soft-boiled eggs.
A lentil quinoa situation topped with asparagus and beans tossed in ricotta and lemon. With a fried egg.
Ma'ayan Plaut
Ma'ayan Plaut
Spring means it's time for my award-winning asparagus salad!

Cook garlic in olive oil (today I did the white parts of some ramps) until fragrant, then add a handful of asparagus broken into one inch pieces and cook until just tender, then turn off the heat and add a squeeze or two of lemon and salt and pepper to taste.

Place cooked asparagus on a bed of sliced hearts of palm, then slice or crumble a hard boiled egg on top and sprinkle on some parmesan cheese.
A whatever's-in-the-fridge perfect sort of dinner: arugula, hard boiled eggs, celery, roasted potatoes, pickled onions, Parmesan cheese, and a balsamic vinaigrette. Don't forget the white wine!
Asparagus with turmeric and crispy lentils ✨

In a large skillet, sauté diced onion in coconut oil until soft, then add cumin seed, fennel seed, mustard seed, and red chile. Toast for a minute or so, then add cooked lentils and grated fresh turmeric and fry until the lentils are starting to crisp. Add asparagus coins, and sauté until crisp-tender, just a few minutes longer. Add lime juice, garam masala, and salt to taste, and a few handfuls of cilantro and mint. #weeknightdinner
  • Canned fish is the hidden hero of lunches and dinners. And when you top it with some spring shoots and sprouts, it becomes a salad.
This #notsaddesklunch is a personal favorite. I like, and I mean like a lot, tuna salad. That said I have some personal does and don't see when it comes to the tuna. First and foremost the tuna has to be flaked very finely with the tines of a fork. No lumps. For me, less is better when it comes to anything mixed into the tuna. A little bit of cheap mayonnaise(Blue Ribbon brand is perfect) goes a long way. I find a tablespoon or a can is good. My goal is to make my tuna have the mouthfeel of a simple fish pâté or spread and then any toppings are a de facto garnish. #salad #healthy #lunch
  • Blended into a pesto-ish, salsa verde-esque topping for roasted salmon:
Sorrel & caper salmon topping ~ take 5 or so sorrel leaves finely chopped (with stems removed) and 1 tsp capers, dash of white balsamic vinegar and 2 T olive oil, give it a stir and there you have it #notarecipe
  • Dressed simply in a lemon-olive oil vinaigrette and served along something a bit more substantial (yes, eggs are a good choice):
Mother's Day brunch. Add lots of freshly cracked pepper to savory crepe batter. Fill cooked crepes with Gruyere cheese, ham, and a fried egg. Serve alongside lemony peppery greens and sprinkle with edible flowers.

What are the most creative ways you've seen spring vegetables used lately? Share with us in the comments below, or upload them to the app!

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Sarah Jampel

Written by: Sarah Jampel

A (former) student of English, a lover of raisins, a user of comma splices. My spirit animal is an eggplant. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream. For that, I'm sorry.

1 Comment

Diari May 12, 2016
Pickle those ramp stems