27 spring dinner ideas to put some pep in your step

Because we're so over winter . . .

By Kelly Vaughan

Published March 12, 2022 4:59PM (EST)

Food stylist: Anna Billingskog. Prop stylist: Amanda Widis. (Ty Mecham / Food52)
Food stylist: Anna Billingskog. Prop stylist: Amanda Widis. (Ty Mecham / Food52)

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Spring ushers in the best weather and the best spring veggies — asparagus, green beans, tender fresh herbs, rhubarb, ramps, cabbage, spring onions, baby spinach, and peas. As soon as I turn the page on our calendar to March (raise your hand if you still use a paper wall calendar), I can't help but get excited about all of the sweet and savory springtime dishes to come. To kick off many weeks of 50-degree weather and finally getting to dry-clean your parka (that is, for our friends up north), these quick and easy spring dinner ideas will perk up your meal any night of the week.

1. Spring Weeknight Pasta

Sing the praises of spring with this family-friendly pasta recipe jam-packed with seasonal specialties like radishes, asparagus, and peas. Recipe developer Eric Kim likes to add bacon for a salty, savory edge but you can leave it out for a vegetarian dinner.

2. One-Pan Chicken with Asparagus, Almonds, and Miso Butter

A weeknight spring dinner should be quick, effortless, and delicious. One-pan meals like this, which call for a pound or two of fresh asparagus, save the day.

3. Nigel Slater's Minty Pea Soup with Parmesan Toasts

This lighter dinner recipe doesn't skimp on flavor, thanks to the abundance of in-season produce like fresh peas, lettuce, and mint. It's the epitome of spring and the best part is, you can make it in advance, which saves time on busy weeknights.

4. Cheesy Spinach and Artichoke Frittata with Arugula

I will never say no to breakfast for dinner, especially in a family-friendly format like a frittata. You can throw anything and everything into this big-batch egg dish, but take advantage of all of the spring produce available at every turn.

5. Pasta with Marinated Artichoke Sauce

This three-ingredient recipe calls for jarred, marinated artichoke hearts, which gives you peak spring flavor anytime of the year.

6. Ramp Carbonara

It's ramp season, baby! Blink and you'll miss them, so stock up while you can and turn them into pesto, pasta, or pesto pasta!

7. Sheet Pan Roast Chicken and Cabbage

"A sheet pan supper suggests a lot: dinner on a single pan, vegetables cooked with proteins, side dishes with entrées, a complete meal requiring minimal fuss and clean-up. It's the convenience of a crock pot in a fraction of the time," writes recipe developer Alexandra Stafford. Fortunately, she's mastered the art of a sheet-pan supper for early spring. Get all the warm and cozy feels from bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs with a nod to the upcoming season with roasted cabbage.

8. Vegan Lemon Asparagus Risotto

Normally, it takes a lot of butter, a lot of chicken stock, and a lot of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese to make a risotto. But this one relies on robust vegetable stock and nutritional yeast to achieve the ultra-creamy texture. Plenty of fresh lemon zest and blanched asparagus bring this traditionally cozy winter dish into spring.

9. Martha Rose Shulman's Quick-Braised Fish with Baby Potatoes and Greens

You can find baby potatoes year-round but they're really at their best during spring. Ditto for delicate herbs, asparagus, and green beans. Put them altogether for a complete spring dinner that is equal parts nourishing and delicious.

10. Lemony Halloumi with Snap Peas and Pea Sprouts

"Welcome the season of leisurely brunches, rosé-filled picnics, and green vegetables galore with this vibrant salad that almost shouts, "Hello, spring!" This is the time of year when simplicity reins supreme," writes recipe developer Asha Loupy.

11. Cashew Milk–Braised Cabbage with Crunchy Chile Oil

Cabbage peaks around the curtain come St. Patrick's Day, as if to say "Hi! I'm here! Remember me?" But for vegetarians who want the comfort of corned beef and cabbage without the meat, there's this utterly flavorful, super charred preparation of braised cabbage for dinner.

12. Pesto Pasta with Green Beans and Potatoes

The key to a bowl of pasta that makes you want to cry tears of joy is relying on simple flavors and in-season produce. For spring, that means a classic basil pesto tossed with the season's shining stars: baby potatoes and green beans.

13. Creamy Watercress, Pea, and Mint Soup

Watercress deserves to be so much more than the garnish we've come to rely on. Here, it finally gets its chance to headline in this quick green soup for spring.

14. Scallops and Peas with Mint Gremolata

"Sweet, buttery, and luxe, yet not terribly expensive, [scallops] can be prepared in a variety of delicious ways, and — most of all — are incredibly quick to cook. Though they are great any time of year, I love this fresh, springtime preparation, which balances a trio of vibrant green vegetables with a simple gremolata made with lots of fresh mint," writes Gail Simmons. Hey Gail, can you cook dinner for me every night?

15. Miso-Garlic Snap Pea Salad with Pecorino and Mint

If this crispy, crunchy green salad doesn't get you excited for spring, I don't know what will.

16. Green Pasta Primavera

The Italian-American pasta primavera gets a seasonal springtime spin with scallions, leeks, broccoli, green beans, and lots and lots of lemon.

17. Creamed Peas with Scallions and Little Gem Chiffonade

I know I've waxed on about one-pot dinners and main courses for spring, but what about the sides to accompany something simple and satisfying like roast chicken or baked salmon? I got you. This French-inspired preparation makes use of fresh garden peas, Little Gem lettuce leaves, and scallions.

18. Roasted Shrimp and Asparagus Scampi

Shrimp scampi is as classic as a little black dress or Frank Sinatra on vinyl. But there's always room for improvement, right? Right. To eliminate some stovetop mess, we roasted the shrimp (rather than sautéing it in a lot of butter and olive oil. Oh, and we added asparagus because it's spring and why not?

19. Cabbage Bake

Come spring, cabbage is often overlooked compared to its vibrant seasonal neighbors like ramps and rhubarb. But give it a second look: Slice up a few cups of cabbage, toss it with South Indian and north African spices, and you'll never pass it up again.

20. Radicchio and Pickled Radish Salad

Spring radishes are paired with hearty winter radicchio for a year-round side salad.

21. Mushroom Stroganoff

Depending on where you live in the country, it's possible that there will still be snow on the ground. If you're a few weeks away from blooming tulips and jean jacket-wearing days, make this cozy stroganoff that replaces the usual chewy beef for mixed mushrooms.

22. Chicken Florentine by Joanna Gaines

Four cups of spinach are used for this creamy chicken recipe, courtesy of Joanna Gaines.

23. Pasta with Green Pea Sauce and Lots of Pecorino

Enjoy a blast of springtime flavor in both the pasta base — we're talking leeks and fresh mint — and the sauce, which is made from peas (the recipe calls for frozen) and even more mint.

24. Spinach and Cilantro Soup with Tahini and Lemon

You can make this vibrant, near-instant green soup with ingredients you tend to have on hand — and come out with something intensely flavored that you've never tasted before. It's all thanks to the great "Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat" author and teacher Samin Nosrat, and a fateful cleanse she embarked on in the desert. — Genius Recipes

25. Hot Honey Chicken with Rhubarb Butter

For those chilly spring days when you think you'll never feel the sun's rays on your face again, make roast chicken. It'll make you feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside — serve it on a bed of baby potatoes and eager green peas for a peek of spring.

26. Spring Fettuccine Alfredo with Green Beans and Tapenade

"Lately I've been on a quest to add new recipes like these to my weeknight repertoire, ones that 1) look and taste great, 2) feel like spring, and 3) slide in under the wire at a truly reasonable budget," writes recipe developer Katie Workman. This creamy pasta hits all the marks.

27. Crunchy Spring Salad with Zesty Labneh

This zippy, zesty celebrates spring in all its beauty. Serve it as a quick side salad or dinner party starter.


Kelly Vaughan

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