I’m so excited about spring no matter what curveballs the Arkansas weather brings us. What’s that old saying? “If you don’t like the weather, just wait a couple of hours and it might change.” Well, that’s the hope I keep in my heart that spring will soon be here, but whenever that is, we’ll be completely prepared together because we’ll have these spring recipes ready to go.

I love when spring is here because it’s so easy to incorporate a ton of vegetables in a flavorful and fun way. This is the season I start veering away from heavier comfort meals and lean into light and fresh meals.

I hope you’re able to find a ton of vegetables this spring season to incorporate into your meals. Here are a couple of my favorite recipes to incorporate a lot of vegetables all in one go. Give these a try.

 

Spring Salad with Pesto

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound each red and yellow cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 1/3 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto (fresh or store bought)
  • 1 cup blanched asparagus, chopped 
  • 1/2 cup fresh peas
  • 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 1-2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • fresh basil leaves for garnish
  • fresh grated Parmesan for garnish

Directions: 

  1. In a large bowl, combine halved red and yellow cherry or grape tomatoes, diced avocado, sliced cucumber, diced red onion, asparagus, peas and beans. 

  2. Add basil pesto and lemon juice to the salad and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and parmesan. 

 

Pasta Primavera

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz. penne pasta (or make it healthier by using lentil and/or banza pasta)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 8 oz. asparagus, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 cups small broccoli florets
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • 1-2 cups peas
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp. lemon juice, divided
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved 
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 2-3 tbsp. Italian parsley, for garnish
  • extra parmesan cheese, for garnish
  • crushed red pepper flakes, for garnish, optional

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta following directions on package. Set aside and reserve a cup or so of the pasta water.

  2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the asparagus, peppers and broccoli. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the zucchini and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set vegetables aside in a large plate or bowl.

  3. Place the skillet back on the stove. Melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest and vegetable broth. Simmer until the broth reduces by half, about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and 2 tbsp. of lemon juice.

  4. Stir the peas into the pot with the pasta. Stir in the cooked vegetables. Pour the lemon cream sauce over the pasta and vegetables and stir until well combined. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and remaining tbsp. of fresh lemon juice. Gently stir in the tomatoes and basil. Season with salt and black pepper (and crushed red pepper, if using) to taste.

 

From Z to A with Zara Abbasi

Zara Abbasi is the pastry chef and recipe developer for Zara Made It. Follow her food adventures on Instagram at @zaramadeit.