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Green Goddess: 10 Recipes for Early Spring’s Beautiful Bounty

Photo by Alie Lengyelova / Stocksy United
Photo by Alie Lengyelova / Stocksy United

Get ready to party, folks, because spring has officially sprung! That means, at long last, you can bid adieu to meals made with winter staples like butternut squash and say hello to asparagus, peas, and other early spring greens. Ready to bring some spring renewal into your kitchen? Celebrate the season with these 10 delicious recipes featuring four simple ingredients.

pea pods in a row on wooden table

1. Peas

Frozen peas are a great kid-friendly staple, but in the spring, your local supermarket or farmer’s market might stock the fresh garden or English version, too. Unlike sugar snap peas or snow peas, you’ll want to shell these sweet, tender veggies before eating—your tyke’s little hands are great for this job!

  1. For a simple side dish, simmer the shelled peas for 2-4 minutes in just enough water to cover them, and then toss with a little butter and chopped mint or olive oil, lemon juice, and grated Parmesan. Easy-peasy.
  2. They’re also great in pasta dishes, fried rice, and, if your child’s the open-minded type, Martha Stewart’s English sweet pea soup is fast and easy to whip up.

Boon for growing bodies: Peas are packed with protein, fiber, and a plethora of vitamins.

Photo by john shepherd / iStock
Photo by john shepherd / iStock

2. Asparagus

Okay, okay—your kiddo may give these grassy spears some serious side-eye. But, scout’s honor, we know some little ones who devour grilled asparagus like French fries, and there are lots of other approachable ways to prepare them:

  1. These crispy dippers from Weelicious.
  2. Taste of Home’s super simple quiche with a quick-fix crescent-rolls-from-a-tube crust.
  3.’s cheesy risotto goodness.

Boon for growing bodies: A member of the lily family, asparagus is a powerhouse when it comes to vitamin K, folate, and anti-inflammatory nutrients.

Photo by Trinette Reed / Stocksy United
Photo by Trinette Reed / Stocksy United

3. Radishes

A root vegetable all gussied up in pretty Valentine’s Day hues, crisp radishes have a delightfully distinct flavor that can range from mild/almost sweet to a rather peppery bite, depending on the variety. Cut in half, slice thin, and sprinkle them on salads, chili, tacos, soup, etc., or use them in one of these fun ways:

  1. Radish slices make a healthy scooper for dips like hummus, Giada De Laurentiis’ white bean dip, even peanut butter (yes—really—real kid approved!). You can also try them in a dip, like this super simple Greek-inspired spread from Martha Stewart.
  2. Give your sandwich a little crunch—we love a classic tea sandwich with layers of cream cheese, cucumber, and radish between slices of lightly buttered bread (add pea shoots for even more spring flair), or try The Kitchn’s toasty tartine version with Boursin cheese.
  3. Chop your radishes and mix them into Cooking Lite’s tangy nectarine salsa, a tasty topper for grilled chicken, pork, or fish.

Boon for growing bodies: Snack on radishes to get a hearty dose of vitamin C.

Photo by Nailia Schwarz / Stocksy United
Photo by Nailia Schwarz / Stocksy United

4. Artichokes

At their peak in early spring, flower-like artichokes are a just plain fun food to eat. Check out Savory Tooth's how-to on cooking artichokes if you’re a newbie, and then show your child how to scrape off the soft end of a petal with their teeth. You can also slice up the artichoke hearts and use them in countless other ways:

  1. On pizza, like this artichoke and spinach version from Life Made Simple. (If you’re in a DIY frame of mind, she also has a recipe for whole wheat crust.)
  2. Include them in a casserole, like this healthy twist on mac and cheese, a winner in The Kitchn’s best healthy casserole contest.

Boon for growing bodies: A good source of folate, fiber, and vitamins C and K, artichokes also happen to place seventh on the USDA’s list of foods with the most antioxidants!

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