Spring is here. Love is in the air, spring vegetables are at the farmers markets, and we can barely contain our excitement. Move over comfort food (we'll be back for you next year, don't worry). Hello, spring produce!
The colors alone are enough to make us swoon, but the vibrant tastes and varied uses for everything from pea shoots to green garlic is where the real glory begins. We're going to be making salads, cold soups and tarts. We'll be roasting asparagus, dipping artichokes in drawn butter and topping everything with radish slices.
There are almost too many spring vegetables to choose from, but here are 15 of our favorites, and what you can do with them.
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Artichokes are a one-of-a-kind vegetable. They taste unlike anything else, but their unique flavor is mild enough that they can be really enhanced by certain preparations. Dipped in drawn butter, fried, grilled or mixed into a cheesy dip, artichokes are incredibly versatile, which makes it easy to eat them every day. If you're intimidated at the thought of cooking an artichoke, don't be. See here for our handy guide for dealing with this unapproachable vegetable, and next, check out these awesome artichoke recipes.
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This delicate, slightly bitter leafy green makes excellent salads, refreshing crostini toppings and sharp sandwich fillers. It's not overly bitter like some other greens (we're looking at you, dandelion), but it's spicy enough to be interesting. See here for some arugula recipes that will make you forget all about winter.
This pink and green stalky vegetable is an awesome sign of spring that we wait for every year. Whether it's in pie or a crumble, jam or a cocktail, rhubarb brings color and a distinct flavor that screams "spring!" See here for some rhubarb recipes that you have to try this season.
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Move aside, kale. Spinach is in season in spring and we couldn't be more ready for our iron-rich, leafy green. From refreshing salads to comforting spinach-artichoke dip, this tried-and-true green will do you well this spring. Put that frozen spinach
away and use the fresh stuff. You'll be glad you did. And if you're still clinging onto the comfort food of winter, check out the only creamed spinach recipe you'll ever need.
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Ramps are super cool. Also called wild leeks, they have a very pungent aroma. They've been in the limelight for the last few years for good reason -- they're super cool because they're not grown commercially, and are instead found in forests, which make them hard to come by. Now you see why all the hipsters love 'em. We love them too. See here for some ramp recipes that will make you feel extra bougie.
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Also called garlic shoots, stems or spears, garlic scapes confuse people. You'll want to set the record straight this spring, because garlic scapes are awesome. They the long, loopy stalks of garlic plants, and are "vegetable, aromatic and even herb all in one
." Use them wisely with some of these great garlic scape recipes.
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Don't be alarmed -- they may look a little frightening, but morel mushrooms are one of spring's most exciting offerings. They might be best prepared simply, sautéed in butter and sprinkled with salt, but they also go great with everything from pasta to meat to other vegetables. See here for some morel recipes you don't want to miss.
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This approachable vegetable has a sophisticated quality about it -- maybe it's the crown it wears on its head, or how it can be delicate and a showstopper at the same time. Whatever it is, we love asparagus -- grilled, boiled, baked or raw. See here for some awesome asparagus recipes.
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The best way to eat a scallion -- also known as a spring onion or green onion -- may be in pancake form
, but you'd be limiting yourself if you stopped there. They're subtle and store for a long time, and they're also surprisingly easy to grow them yourself
. See her for some amazing scallion/spring onions recipes.
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Radishes -- those peppery and oh-so crisp root vegetables -- have that gorgeous pop of color that will deliver you from winter to spring. You might think you're done with root vegetables come April, but the humble yet mighty radish will prove you wrong. See here for some radish recipes that are sure to convert you into a radish-lover.
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Also know as spring garlic, green garlic is the immature version of the "regular" garlic we all know well. Sometimes it can look so similar
to green or spring onions that it's hard to tell the difference, so if you're confused, just smell the plant. Either it will smell like garlic or it won't. Green garlic is awesome because the whole plant is edible, and the flavor is slightly less overpowering than fully mature garlic. See here for some great green garlic recipes.
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Pea shoots are the bright, delicate, crunchy precursor to peas. They're easy and quick to grow, which makes them a great vegetable for those early days of spring when you're itching for all the spring produce that hasn't quite arrived in full yet. If you're ready to knock the doors of winter down, go for some curly tendrils, watery stems and crisp leaves. For more about pea shoots, see here.
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Leeks may be a bit underrated -- but they shouldn't be. While understated, they're really powerful in all kinds of recipes, from soups to frittatas, and even roasted on their own. They definitely require a little scrubbing, but it's all well worth it for the sweet oniony flavor they'll bring you. See here for some leek recipes and you'll realize just how important these sturdy onions are.
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Talk about one-of-a-kind. Fennel is a vegetable that can't be confused with anything else. It tastes like licorice or anise, has a large and sturdy bulb and tiny, fur-like leaves. It might sound like some alien vegetable you want to avoid, but fennel is actually quite versatile -- making great salad additions, pizza toppings and even desserts. See here for some fennel recipes you're going to want to try this spring.
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This peppery, watery green grows near creeks and streams -- go figure! It makes for some supremely refreshing salads and sandwiches, and is an excellent soup garnish. Once you start eating it, winter will seem like a distant memory. See here for some watercress recipes that will make you feel extra fancy.
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