Ah, spring. The season of growth, rejuvenation, and renewal. Spring is the best time of year for fresh fruit and vegetables. After the carb-rich, heavy meals of winter, it’s time to get ready for the lighter, and often more nutritious culinary delights that spring involves.
Spring is also the season where gardeners all over the world get their hands dirty in some freshly unfrozen soil. In other words, it’s time to start planting! If you live in a city and don’t have recourse to a garden, consider getting a few friends together and renting an urban allotment. And be sure to browse the internet for community garden initiatives near you—there’s bound to be somewhere nearby where you’ll be able to begin enjoying the wonders of gardening and growing your own food.
Time is, of course, another obstacle towards gardening. But have no fear—with good weather around the corner, spring is also the time to consider a windowsill herb garden. Basil, alfalfa sprouts, rosemary, sage, and even carrots can all be grown from inside your own home, and they won’t take much of your time at all. Simply get your smartphone to remind you to water your budding foodstuffs before you leave for work in the morning and, lo and behold, you’ll have yourself a fully-fledged windowsill source of food in no time.
The most versatile of all beans
If you haven’t used the fava bean before, then spring is the time to do so. These beans are harvested throughout the season, and there’s really nothing like the taste of fresh fava beans. Also known as broad beans or even faba beans, these protein-rich delights have been cultivated for at least 8,000 years. And for good reason—beyond their high protein content, these beans are extremely low in fat, and contain high amounts of important dietary minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium, and iron. Throw in large amount of various types of B vitamins, and you’ve got yourself quite a healthy bean here.
For a refreshing spring evening dish, try cooking up a fava bean soup with fried bacon. If you’re not accustomed to the strong taste of the fava bean, this is a dish for you. The bacon acts as a fantastic, tasty addition to this healthy, spring soup, and is bound to leave you satisfied. You’ll also want to get your hands on some crème fraîche to give your fava bean soup a creamy texture. Finally, finely chopped fried shallots help bring all the flavors together into a hearty yet light spring soup.
And while colder spring days might cry out for soup, as the season marches on, warmth will inevitably begin to flood into our lives as summer slowly approaches. In other words, if it’s too warm for soup but you have some fresh fava beans in the fridge, try making a delicious fava bean salad with goat’s cheese. This spring salad takes literally takes 5 minutes to prepare, and is bound to satisfy your taste buds. After all, who doesn’t love a goat cheese-infused salad?
Aside from fresh fava beans, you’ll want some fresh scallion and mint to add a bit of punch to this majestic spring salad. Add in some garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, and white wine vinegar, and you’re almost ready to go. What’s the final step? You guessed it—crumbling a hefty amount of goat’s cheese over your salad. Enjoy!
The jewel of spring
If you’ve ever lived in Germany, you’ll know that the locals go completely crazy for asparagus in spring. There’s even a name for the time of year when this tasty vegetable is harvested—spargelzeit, which literally translates as “asparagus season.” Whole festivals have sprung up around the consumption of this magnificent vegetable, and for good reason–freshly-harvested asparagus is amongst one of the nicest delicacies that spring has to offer.
Asparagus harvesting happens to coincides with an important cultural spring event. This is, of course, Easter, and it’s no wonder that a number of asparagus-based dishes are consumed at traditional Easter meals. In France, for example, locals prepare simple yet appetizing asparagus salads for Easter. Aside from blanched asparagus, you’re going to need other vegetables like rocket, garlic, peas, and parsley for this holiday dish. But if that all sounds a bit bland, have no fear—goat’s cheese is here to save the day! And once you’ve added a simple dressing of olive oil, your Easter asparagus salad is ready to enjoy.
France’s neighbors to the southeast have a different approach to asparagus, however. The country in question is, of course, Italy and, as you might have expected, this asparagus dish is going to involve some pasta. So get ready to make yourself a tagliatelle with shrimps and asparagus. The combination of these two main ingredients is truly mouth-watering. Whether for Easter or any other spring evening, this tagliatelle is a meal bound to satisfy.