There’s nothing more disappointing than cooking a beautiful meal, only to find out that the flavors are bland. Sometimes, there’s just something simple missing that could turn the dish into something special.
With springtime fast approaching, let’s look at the spring ingredients that can give your next brunch or dinner an incredible burst of flavor.
Half of the battle is knowing what ingredients are in season. Once you have an idea of what you’re working with, you can start planning some amazing recipes. Whether it’s a common ingredient only available in spring, or the latest superfood, here are our picks.
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are an extremely versatile ingredient. They’re most commonly used to make hummus, but you can use them for a lot of other options. Throw some in a salad, soup, or any other recipe.
If you’re vegetarian or vegan, they make a great substitute for ground beef. Chickpea tacos are excellent, for example, if you roast them in a skillet and season accordingly. Mashing them up and making patties can also make for some great chickpea burgers.
Farro has just recently made its debut in mainstream cooking, but this grain dates all the way back to ancient Egypt. It was used in a variety of Roman and Egyptian dishes thousands of years ago. Today, it’s used in Italian dishes and many U.S. dishes as well.
Baby greens, or microgreens, are spring vegetables that are picked before they are full grown. They may be small in stature, but they have a tender texture and tons of flavor. They can spice up a salad or offer a great splash of color and flavor on a sandwich.
Because they’re small, you can even grow them at home. A small tray with soil and seeds can work in a sunlit window.
Rhubarb, beyond being a fun word to say, is a vivid red plant with a tart flavor. Spring is the perfect season to pick up this gem of an ingredient. You can use to make pies, muffins, chutney, and even drinks. It really is amazingly versatile—you can even make barbecue sauce with it!
Along with that flavor, you’re also getting low sugar and calories. Rhubarb is a great source of vitamin K, accounting for 45% of your daily needs. It also contains vitamin C, manganese, calcium, and potassium. It can even lower blood pressure and relieve indigestion.
5. Herbs & Spices
The secret to a great dish is proper seasoning. Salt and pepper are staples, but true flavors are found with herbs and spices. Thankfully, spring is a perfect season to start growing or collecting your herbs and spices for dishes that taste great year-round.
Consider some of these options:
- Basil: The leaves are great in soups, in sauces, in salads, and with meat. It’s also a traditional base for pesto.
- Chives: These have a mild onion flavor. Chop them up and add them to salads, eggs, mashed potatoes, and sauces.
- Coriander: The dry seeds can be ground into dust and used on pork or ham before cooking. The leaves are known as cilantro, which is a key ingredient in salsas.
- Dill: It has a sharp flavor that can be used to season fish, soups, salad, potatoes, and eggs. It’s also an ingredient in ranch dressing.
- Fennel: The leaves here have a sweet flavor. Great for pork, veal, or soups.
- Mint: Mint leaves are excellent in tea or cold drinks. They can also be used in sauces or jelly.
- Parsley: A classic ingredient in salads, soups, stews, parsley always makes a great garnish.
- Thyme: The chopped leaves of thyme can be used on meats before cooking. It’s also great in eggs, soups, stuffings, and rice.
Asparagus is a popular spring vegetable that is excellent when seasoned and grilled to perfection. You can also roast it in the oven if you prefer. Asparagus makes a great side dish with meats like steak, but can also be chopped up and used in risotto.
Throw some asparagus into a salad or stir-fry as well if you want to add a satisfying crunch. Asparagus is a great provider of folic acid for the body. Expecting mothers should incorporate some of this veggie into their diet.
Springtime means strawberries! If you’re anything like me, you inspect them closely at the store before putting them in the cart. Ripe and delicious strawberries are best found during the spring season.
Strawberries pack a nutritional punch with antioxidants that can reduce inflammation, prevent a variety of diseases, and even help you manage your weight. You can chop them up and enjoy them in a bowl of cereal or oatmeal, or even make a fruit salad.
Which springtime ingredients do you always incorporate into your seasonal dishes? Let us know in the comments!