Updated April 7, 2022
Use this spring veggie eating guide to …
- Choose what to cook according to your time frame.
- Gain confidence in your cooking.
- Truly enjoy food that’s not only good for you but tastes incredible too.
The most simple way to eat a veggie is to enjoy it raw and unadorned. Dan and I enjoy the crunch of a carrot, the sweetness of a spinach leaf, and the spicy bite of a fresh radish.
But other times, we like to combine our greens with complementary flavors–herbs, salt, vinegar, citrus, olive oil–or roast our root veggies to bring out their hidden sweetness. Cheeses and fats–used sparingly–can transform the humble vegetable into a culinary delight.
I’ve made the rest of this guide specifically without photos so you can easily print it and post it on your fridge for your go-to during the week.
Arugula and Asian Greens:
- Eat in 5 minutes: Squeeze fresh lemon juice over a bowl of arugula and/or Asian greens and make sure each leaf is coated in juice. Sprinkle flaky sea salt (like Maldon sea salt), a grind of black pepper, and a drizzle of good olive oil over the leaves. Adjust seasonings to taste. Enjoy!
- Eat in 15 minutes: Rough chop arugula. Toss with hot pasta, olive oil, freshly grated Parmesan or Manchego cheese, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper.
- Eat in one hour: Marinated Baked Rotini with Fresh Spinach and Arugula
Asparagus: Best cooked. Goes well with garlic and an acid such as lemon, red wine vinegar, or white wine vinegar.
- Eat in 15 minutes: Simple Sauteed Asparagus
- Eat in 30 minutes: Breakfast Salad with Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus and Spinach
- Eat in 5 minutes: Grate raw beet over a bed of greens. Toss lightly with your favorite vinaigrette, chopped chives or scallions, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper.
- Eat in 15 minutes: Simple Steamed Beets
- Eat in 45 minutes: Preheat your baking sheet in the oven at 400 F. Cut the beets into 1.5″ chunks. Toss with a little bit of olive oil and salt. Roast 35-40 minutes, turning every 15 minutes.
- Eat dessert: Gluten-Free Apple, Beet, and Date Crisp
Carrots: Try different flavor combinations to explore this incredibly versatile veggie (sesame oil + soy sauce + fresh ginger + garlic + toasted sesame seeds + chives / butter + honey + thyme + lemon zest + fresh lemon juice).
- Eat right now: No brainer–raw of course! Sweet, freshly harvested carrots grown in cool seasons are the perfect quick snack.
- Eat in 15 minutes: Cut into coins. Saute in hot fat of your choice (butter, olive oil, sesame oil, coconut oil). Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper. Toss with fresh chopped herbs of your choice. Enjoy!
- Eat in one hour: Roasted Carrots and Greens
- Eat from the crockpot: Carrots are a classic companion to a crockpot roast.
Chives: Prep tip–snip with a scissors instead of chopping with a knife.
- Eat right now: Sprinkle chives onto your salad, and–while you’re at it–a piece of buttered, lightly salted toast.
- Eat in 10 minutes: Incorporate chives into an omelette or scrambled eggs.
- Eat in 45 minutes: Use chives as a topping for a savory soup or baked potato bar.
Green Garlic: To use green garlic, trim off the roots and any tough parts of the greens. Green garlic can be used in almost any recipe that calls for garlic. Like garlic scapes, green garlic is milder than bulb garlic. Also, the tough greens can be used for making vegetable or chicken stock.
- Eat in 10 minutes: Add green garlic to scrambled eggs or your omelette for a great start to your day.
- Eat in 20 minutes: Spaghetti, rotini, or penne for dinner? Sprinkle with chopped green garlic for some added deliciousness–yum!
- Eat right now: Instead of bread, use a lettuce leaf to make your sandwich or wrap.
- Eat in 15 minutes: Make a salad with your favorite vinaigrette–or try making Deborah Madison’s Meyer Lemon and Shallot Vinaigrette. Just be sure not to overdress so your lettuce leaves stay crisp and delicious.
- Eat in 30 minutes: Craving restaurant-food? Try this copycat recipe for PF Changs’ chicken lettuce wraps.
Spring Salad Mix: Unlike the heartier salad spinach and salad kale, salad greens are the most tender of greens. Dress gently with your hands–and don’t overdress or you’ll end up with a soggy salad.
- Eat in 5 minutes: Squeeze fresh lemon juice over a bowl of salad greens and make sure each leaf is coated in juice. Sprinkle flaky sea salt (like Maldon sea salt), a grind of black pepper, and a drizzle of good olive oil over the leaves. Adjust seasonings to taste. (This is the same suggestion I gave for arugula and Asian greens, but those spicier greens are so different than baby salad greens that you end up with a different dish.)
- Eat in 15 minutes: This fall salad– Watermelon Radish, Carrot, and Manchego Salad with Fresh Greens –calls for watermelon radish, but you can replace that with salad radish and there you have it–a spring salad!
- Eat in 30-45 minutes: Use salad greens as a base for curries, fried rice, or stir fry. Eat immediately as the heat will wilt the greens–delicious if eaten right away.
Salad kale: What’s the difference between salad kale and full-sized kale? Salad kale–harvested when small–is much more tender, so it works beautifully in any salad. However, you can still use salad kale in places where salad greens don’t work as well because of their flavor and texture, like in a green smoothie or soup.
- Eat in 5 minutes: Saute chopped garlic for 1-2 minutes. Meanwhile, squeeze fresh lemon juice over a bowl of salad kale and make sure each leaf is coated in juice. Sprinkle flaky sea salt (like Maldon sea salt), a grind of black pepper, and a drizzle of good olive oil over the leaves. Toss with the sauteed garlic. Adjust seasonings to taste.
- Drink in 5 minutes: Use in a green smoothie.
- Eat in 20 minutes: Enjoy with spaghetti and red sauce, cacio e pepe, or other pasta dishes. Make a bed of salad kale on your plate, then put the pasta/sauce right on top.
- Eat in 5 minutes: Place thinly sliced radishes on top of buttered bread. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt. If you’re feeling adventurous, top with your choice of greens and/or fresh, chopped herbs.
- Eat in 15 minutes: Use as ingredient in your very own Buddha bowl!
- Eat in 30 minutes: Try in California Rolls with Radishes and Greens.
- Eat right now: Spinach is one of our go-to greens for the green smoothie. I also love a bowl of raw spinach as a snack.
- Eat in 15 minutes: Spinach is so versatile it can be used in almost any salad, but I think it works especially well in this Strawberry Rhubarb Spinach Side Salad.
- Eat in one hour: These Spinach Bites take a little more work, but they’re super tasty and fun for an appetizer or snack.
Scallions (Green Onions): Scallions, like chives, work well as a topping for pretty much any savory dish. They pair well with fresh herbs, butter and olive oil, and cheeses like cheddar, Gruyere, and blue cheese.
- Eat right now: Chop and sprinkle onto your salad, buttered toast, or any savory dish you’ve already prepared.
- Eat in 10 minutes: Add to scrambled eggs or an omelette.
Sweet turnips with or without greens: Sweet turnips pair well with fresh herbs like thyme, lemon thyme, rosemary, and cheeses such as Gruyere, Gorgonzola, aged Gouda, and sharp cheddar.
- Eat right now: Thinly slice. Sprinkle with finishing salt (like Maldon sea salt) and eat immediately. If you wait too longer after salting, the turnips lose their crispiness.
- Eat in 5 minutes: Heat oil of your choice in skillet over medium-high heat. Rough chop greens. Mince garlic. Once oil is hot, saute greens and garlic for 1-2 minutes. Salt and enjoy! You can also toss the greens in a stir-fry. Yum!
- Eat in 15 minutes: Slice and saute in hot butter, ghee, or olive oil. Add chopped garlic and/or chopped greens during the final 1-2 minutes of cooking. Sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Eat in 45 minutes: Roasted Sweet Turnips with Thyme.
- Eat in 5 minutes: Toss thyme leaves with your salad greens/salad kale/salad spinach. If the stems are fresh and tender, chop the stems along with leaves. If the stems are stiff and strong, slide your fingers down the stem to remove the leaves. Use the leaves and discard the stem.
- Drink in 10 minutes: Put a few sprigs of thyme into a tea pot, cover with boiling water, and let steep for at least 10 minutes. Add honey and fresh lemon juice to taste. Enjoy a cup a of thyme tea!
- Eat in an hour: Simmer in your pizza or red sauce for added flavor.
- Eat sometime in the future: Add whole sprigs of thyme to vegetable, chicken, or beef stock.
What are your favorite ways to eat spring veggies and greens? Share in the comments!