Celebrate spring with these five simple recipes that highlight seasonal flavors

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It’s a delightful time of year. The days feel longer, the sun doesn’t set until well past 7:30 pm and farmers markets are bustling neighborhood hubs filled with fresh produce.

Spring is a beautiful season to expand your culinary horizons and try new flavor combinations. From nutty, maple asparagus to garden-fresh basil pesto, we’ve highlighted a handful of flavors to help you embrace springtime cooking. Each recipe is easy enough for a beginner in the kitchen to make something delicious.

Do you have a spring recipe that belongs on this list? Send it to me at [email protected].

Homemade pesto calls for only five ingredients

You can grow basil in small pots, so it’s a great herb for gardeners short on space. Its leaves are flavorful, and balance sweetness and savory notes. It’s an integral herb for Italian cooking.

You’ll use a lot of basil to make this homemade pesto, but the mixture freezes well, so you’ll have garden-fresh flavors for months. It’s a great recipe to use in your food processor, which will combine basil leaves, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic and olive oil.

Maple pecan asparagus with shallots and orange

Welcome spring with this recipe for Asparagus with Maple Pecans, Shallot and Orange Zest.

Welcome spring with this recipe for Asparagus with Maple Pecans, Shallot and Orange Zest.

A side of asparagus goes wonderfully with grilled meats. While you could toss the asparagus stalks in olive oil, salt and pepper and call it a day, a little bit more preparation makes a wow-worthy side.

This recipe combines springtime’s favorite vegetable with shallots, maple pecans and orange zest. It’s bright, sweet, vegetal and might steal the spotlight from whatever it’s served with. The recipe even lays out the steps for making maple pecans, which are delicious on their own.

A springtime tart filled with rich flavour

I love a recipe that’s fit for multiple meals. This springtime tart with asparagus, goat cheese and tarragon is a delight for breakfast, lunch or brunch. It is rich, so I wouldn’t recommend it for back-to-back meals. The luxurious combination of crème fraiche, goat cheese, Parmesan and butter is a delight.

While I’m usually advocating for trying your hand at making each part of a recipe from scratch, the puff pastry isn’t worth the struggle. Store-bought, all-butter sheets will get the job done.

An easy homemade dressing to elevate any salad

Spring and summer are the best times to explore new flavors in salads, but sometimes the months-old bottle of zesty Italian dressing doesn’t pull its weight. I’m not saying this dressing recipe will replace every go-to grocery store bottle, but you’ll rethink a few times once you see how easy it is.

The best part of this recipe is that most well-stocked pantries will have most, if not all, the necessary ingredients. It’s an easy vinaigrette recipe that doesn’t overpower any part of a salad. Feeling adventurous? You can even start swapping ingredients to take on new flavors, like apple cider vinegar and maple syrup.

Kale and Brussels sprouts salad with tahini dressing

Every season ushers in new, fresh foods to be enjoyed, and we bid farewell to farm-fresh versions of others. Brussels sprouts are at their peak during winter months. While you can buy them year-round at the grocery store, they may not be quite as large and flavorful in the off-months.

Thinning them out with kale is a great way to stretch their flavor outside of peak season. This recipe calls for a special maple and tahini dressing, which mellows the sharp kale and plays well with the shaved Brussels sprouts and pomegranate arils that get sprinkled on top.