What fruits and vegetables are in season in spring? Come the middle of March, this is the question on all of our minds. With this intention in mind, when the warmer weather season comes around, you can for sure catch me shopping at the farmer’s market. It’s my go-to means of rounding up all my favorite spring produce. There’s no choice but to cook (and eat) with what’s fresh and flavorful.
When I’m shopping at a conventional grocery store in the dead of winter, it can be all too tempting to add a few tomatoes or strawberries to my cart. And although they may appear fresh and vibrant, once I get them home, I’m reminded of the mealy texture and lackluster flavor that accompanies out-of-season produce that’s been pumped with preservatives. A farmer’s market, on the other hand, typically stocks what’s been fresh-picked locally, which equates to produce that’s so packed with flavor, usually all it needs is a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, or a sprinkle of salt to enhance it. So, the question again what fruits and vegetables are in season in spring?
Get excited, because spring is when nature really loves to show off. Think snappy carrots, peppery arugula, and sweeter-than-candy strawberries.
What Fruits and Vegetables Are in Season in Spring?
Click on each ingredient below to go straight to that section:
Are you as ready for it all as I am? An added bonus is that shopping seasonally takes the guesswork out of meal planning. If you’re not sure what to cook, just make what’s freshest! With Mother’s Day, Easter, and plenty of al fresco dinners on the horizon, I’m particularly excited to cook up all the warm-weather recipes using what fruits and vegetables are in season in spring.
And no, you don’t have to hit up the farmer’s market every week to cook this way. I subscribe to a twice-monthly CSA box that ensures the freshest local produce gets delivered to my doorstep, and many normal grocery stores have started stocking more local produce. Just look for the signs, and when in doubt, ask! Scroll on for the lowdown on spring’s starring fruits and veggies, plus my favorite recipes to cook with them.
How to Buy Strawberries
A fresh strawberry has a strong, fragrant taste and vibrant color. Look for berries that are firm to touch, medium-sized, and free of bruises.
What to Cook With Strawberries
Strawberry and Arugula Salad With Spring Herbs and Goat Cheese
Why We Love It: This recipe combines just a handful of ingredients for minimal effort and maximum impact. Feel free to swap in whatever combination of greens, fresh fruit, nuts, and cheese you have on hand. It’s an infinitely versatile and crowd-pleasing combination.
Hero Ingredient: Crumbled goat cheese is the perfect tangy complement to the fruit and peppery arugula.
Get the recipe for Strawberry and Arugula Salad with Spring Herbs and Goat Cheese.
Strawberry Shortcakes With Greek Yogurt and Mint
Why We Love It: The classic combination of flaky biscuit, creamy yogurt, and sweet strawberries are perfect for a spring picnic when layered in a mason jar.
Hero Ingredient: Garnish each jar with a few mint leaves for a fresh finish.
Get the recipe for Strawberry Shortcakes With Greek Yogurt and Mint.
How to Buy Artichokes
There’s actually a huge difference between a good and not-so-good artichoke. I always go for the biggest artichoke I can find which usually means more meat on each leaf. Look for artichokes with tight, compact leaves and fresh-cut stem ends.
What to Cook With Artichokes
Grilled Artichoke With Lemon-Garlic Aioli
Why We Love It: Earthy, nutty, and tasting of the promise of sunshine. You can make a light meal of these artichokes with some crusty bread, or serve them alongside grilled, herb-rubbed steak.
Hero Ingredient: Aiolio is essentially flavor-packed mayo. In other words, delicious.
Get the recipe for Grilled Artichoke With Lemon-Garlic Aioli.
Roasted Lemon Artichoke and Brown Butter Pasta from Half-Baked Harvest
Why We Love It: Roasted artichokes, fresh herbs, buttery walnuts, and a little bit of burrata cheese. It’s a fresh springy take on pasta that’s ready in 30 minutes. Perfect as a quick meatless dinner that’s special enough for any day of the week.
Hero Ingredient: Once you brown butter you never go back.
Get the recipe for Roasted Lemon Artichoke and Brown Butter Pasta.
How to Buy Fennel
Look for white bulbs that are small to medium-sized to narrow down your selection of fennel. Next, check that the bulbs are heavy and firm and not super large, moist, or dried out. You’ll want to make sure that the bulbs you take home have bright green fronds as well.
What to Cook With Fennel
Slow-Baked Citrus Salmon With Fennel and Herbs
Why We Love It: My favorite way to serve dinner to my family and friends is with an impressive (but oh-so-easy) whole roasted side of salmon topped with citrus slices. I used to be all about a quick broil with high heat that got the top of the salmon crispy golden-brown and left the inside tender. But then I experimented with this slow-roasting method, and I became an instant convert.
Hero Ingredient: Fennel brings the nuanced, anise-y flavor. And because it cooks low and slow alongside the salmon, the final result is caramelized deliciousness.
Get the recipe for Slow-Baked Citrus Salmon With Fennel and Herbs.
Radish, Fennel, and Grapefruit Salad
Why We Love It: Chef Seamus Mullen served this bright and citrus-y radish, fennel, and grapefruit salad as one of the family-style dishes at a dinner party he hosted in Santa Monica, California. It’s made from just a handful of spring’s freshest ingredients and comes together as so much more than the sum of its parts.
Hero Ingredient: The avocado’s richness balances out the peppery radish and fennel for a first course or side dish that pairs perfectly with roast chicken, salmon, or lamb.
Get the recipe for Radish, Fennel, and Grapefruit Salad.
How to Buy Asparagus
Texture, color, and size are the giveaways of a fresh bundle of asparagus. You’ll want to select stalks that are firm and smooth, and can even stand up on their own. They should be a strong green, only fading to white at the ends.
As far as the tips, some dark green and purple highlights are normal, but make sure that they are closed together, not spreading apart. Finally, any size of asparagus will be flavorful, but selecting a bundle with stalks of cohesive size will make your prep and cooking easier.
What to Cook With Asparagus
Grilled Peach and Asparagus Salad With Spicy Pepitas from Café Gratitude
Why We Love It: Since I don’t stick to a vegan diet, I use real mozzarella and just a bit of crumbled bacon in this, but the coconut bacon is a pretty delish plant-based option if that’s your jam. In short, there are a million ways to make this salad work for you.
Hero Ingredient: The goji chipotle dressing is a good one to double and keep in the fridge all week–ditto with the spicy pepitas. Between the two? It’s a tie.
Get the recipe for Grilled Peach and Asparagus Salad With Spicy Pepitas from Café Gratitude.
Spaghetti With Garlicky Shrimp, Asparagus, & Tomatoes
Why We Love It: This pasta is perfect for warm-weather entertaining. It’s light but so satisfying and feels a little bit elevated even though it comes together in 20 minutes. It’s one of those “set it in the middle of the table and watch your friends dive in” kind of dinners, served family-style with a good bottle of crisp white wine.
Hero Ingredient: Whole basil leaves scattered on top before serving add a welcome bit of freshness.
Get the recipe for Spaghetti with Garlicky Shrimp, Asparagus, & Tomatoes.
How to Buy Arugula
Fresh arugula will have a peppery, clean scent and is bright and dry looking. Arugula perishes very quickly, so check for signs of wilting before purchasing.
What to Cook With Arugula
Spaghetti Squash Pasta With Goat Cheese, Arugula, and Bacon
Why We Love It: Let’s be honest: spaghetti squash can be pretty bland. It has a really high water content, which is also one of the things that makes it healthy and low-calorie, but that requires adding layers of flavor through the other ingredients.
Hero Ingredient: What gets the flavor-building job done? Bacon! Even just a little adds a level of richness that completely transforms light dishes. Sautéing the vegetables in just the tiniest bit of the bacon fat infuses the entire dish with so much flavor and makes it taste way more indulgent than it actually is.
Get the recipe for Spaghetti Squash Pasta With Goat Cheese, Arugula, and Bacon.
Butternut Squash Pizza with Arugula and Almond Ricotta
Why We Love It: Since this pizza doesn’t have any sauce, I added a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic glaze to finish it off. Adding some crushed red pepper and fresh oregano brings the flavors in this pie to the next level.
Hero Ingredient: The greens turn this comfort food into a full-blown plant-packed meal. I love arugula for its sharp, peppery flavor. It perfectly balances the sweetness of the other toppings on every slice.
Get the recipe for Butternut Squash Pizza with Arugula and Almond Ricotta.
How to Buy Mint
The best mint leaves are perky, even-colored, and oozing with that distinct minty smell. Make sure that the leaves aren’t wilting and be sure to handle them with care, since the leaves are where the oils are.
What to Cook With Mint
Limey Chicken Tacos With Jicama, Avocado, and Mint
Why We Love It: This recipe has been keeping me from getting too homesick for tacos, and I also love that it’s packed with crisp, fresh veggies so we can keep it in our regular rotation without it feeling like an indulgence.
Hero Ingredient: Chipotle paste takes the aioli from good to finishing-fork-first *amazing*.
Get the recipe for Limey Chicken Tacos With Jicama, Avocado, and Mint.
Burrata Toasts With Caramelized Walnuts and Mint-Pomegranate Pesto
Why We Love It: We love a creative take on toast around here, and with layers of fresh, fruity, and crunchy flavor packed in, this version checks off all the boxes. It works as an easier-than-it-looks app or a lunch that feels special while still being low-maintenance.
Hero Ingredient: While I love a good mozzarella, burrata takes the cake for my favorite creamy cheese.
Get the recipe for Burrata Toasts With Caramelized Walnuts and Mint-Pomegranate Pesto.
How to Buy Peas
The shell is the main indicator of fresh peas. Stay away from yellow or blotchy spots and look for peas that are shiny, firm, and bright green.
What to Cook With Peas
Lemony Pasta Carbonara with Peas and Zucchini
Why We Love It: I’m switching up the original by adding more veggies and bright bursts of green that scream “spring.” This twist on the traditionally heavier pasta sneaks in plenty of veggies, so if you want, feel free to skip the salad on the side.
Hero Ingredient: Frozen peas are my favorite shortcut veggie for throwing into pasta–no chopping required, and they add color and nutrients. Plus, my kids love them in everything.
Get the recipe for Lemony Pasta Carbonara with Peas and Zucchini.
Spring Rice with Peas and Greens
Why We Love It: The simplest side dish you’ll ever make. This spring rice is amazing on its own or topped with chicken or salmon for a more substantial meal.
Hero Ingredient: Fluffy rice is my forever fave. Cook it ahead of time and you have a colorful, full-of-flavor side on the table, stat.
Get the recipe for Spring Rice with Peas and Greens.
How to Buy Radishes
Go for crisp, brightly colored radishes ideally with fresh vibrant greens still attached.
What to Cook With Radishes
Herbed Goat Cheese & Radish Tartines
Why We Love It: On busy mornings, there’s no faster breakfast option than slathering something on a piece of bread, so why not give your simple toast a little revamp? This herbed goat cheese and radish tartine feels like a fancy and nourishing way to start the day, and it’s so much more special than zapping a bowl of instant oatmeal.
Hero Ingredient: Goat cheese is my go-to spreadable cheese. Mixed with lemon zest and a handful of herbs? All the better.
Get the recipe for Herbed Goat Cheese & Radish Tartines.
Radish & Fennel Panzanella With Raddichio and Herbs
Why We Love It: You might think I’ve lost it, but these days I get really excited about a loaf of stale bread. One bite of this salad, though, and you’ll understand. Crisp, peppery, bright radishes and the subtle licorice kick of fennel punch up tangy, olive oil-drenched croutons, with herbs, just-bitter-enough radicchio, and salty cheese further mixing up the dynamic.
Hero Ingredient: I love radishes any and all ways I can get ’em. But watermelon radishes are drop-dead gorgeous—and we eat with our eyes first, after all.
Get the recipe for Radish & Fennel Panzanella With Raddichio and Herbs.
How to Buy Onions
Look for firm and dry onions with shiny and super thin skin. If it is discolored, soft, or wet in any way, it isn’t fresh.
What to Cook With Onions
Raw Carrot Salad With Dates, Walnuts, and Aleppo
Why We Love It: “I’ve made this beautiful fresh carrot salad that I like to make at home for my family. I julienne carrots and serve it with an aleppo citrus vinaigrette, some dates, red onion and crushed walnut.” — Eden Grinshpan
Hero Ingredient: Dates bring an unexpectedly sweet chewiness that just works.
Get the recipe for Raw Carrot Salad With Dates, Walnuts, and Aleppo.
Mushroom, Spinach, & Goat Cheese Frittata
Why We Love It: All you really need to whip up a delicious frittata are eggs and veggies. And I do mean any veggies. I used to make them all the time in college, scrounging up whatever random ingredients were left in my veg drawer: cauliflower, wilted greens, onions, sliced potatoes, those lifeless asparagus spears on their last legs. And you know what? With a little know-how and some seasonings from your pantry, they’re all delicious folded into fluffy eggs.
Hero Ingredient: Showering your frittata with a handful of herbs is the right (re: only) way to finish off this dish.
Get the recipe for Mushroom, Spinach, & Goat Cheese Frittata.
How to Buy Carrots
Steer away from the packaged “baby carrots” at grocery store, and instead choose the real baby carrots with green tops, if you can find them! Otherwise, vivid color and snappy texture point to a sweeter flavor.
What to Cook With Carrots
Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl
Why We Love It: This Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl is a springtime staple that’s healthy, delicious, and surprisingly easy to make at home. We’ve all been a little more inclined to experiment with new recipes over the past few years, and this bowl adds a little adventure to lunch or dinner if you find yourself running out of fresh ideas for recipes.
Hero Ingredient: Sushi-grade ahi tuna is an undeniably delicious, simple, and accessible way to step up your midday or evening meal.
Get the recipe for Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl.
Honey-Roasted Carrots With Spicy Citrus, Sage, and Pepitas
Why We Love It: No matter where you fall in the carrots debate, this pan sauce is one to bookmark for any veggie. I’ve made this exact combo to pour over delicata squash, whole roasted sweet potatoes, and sautéed brussels sprouts. The marriage of sweet-spicy–citrus–sage is such a crowd-pleaser, and it’s an easy way to take any side dish to the next level and make it feel holiday-worthy. Feel free to swap pecans for pumpkin seeds, or maple syrup for honey, based on what you’ve got in your pantry.
Hero Ingredient: The zest and juice of an orange is exactly what a bundle of roasted carrots require.
Get the recipe for Honey-Roasted Carrots With Spicy Citrus, Sage, and Pepitas.
This post was originally published on March 26, 2021 and has since been updated.
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