When the last winter snow melts away and fresh green buds start emerging from trees and bushes, we pack away our winter fleeces and prepare for spring. Spring is a vibrant and fruitful time when the weather is temperate and everyone is ready to get outside.
If you’re a gardener or a foodie, spring bears an abundance of seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Whether you’re planning an Easter feast or a healthy meal plan, spring has diverse options for colorful dishes.
Read on to discover a long list of spring fruits and vegetables to look out for on your next grocery or farmer’s market trip.
I never understood how anyone could hate peas. Their plump shells pop into a slightly sweet mash high in protein and fiber.
I enjoy them in spring pasta with sugar snap peas, asparagus in olive oil, and shallot sauce with parmesan cheese.
The color of rhubarb alone is enough to convince me to plant a vegetable garden.
Rhubarb is a tall stalk that’s bright pink with enormous green leaves and pink veins.
The best part about rhubarb is that you can use the entire plant.
I boil the sour stalk in a simple syrup to make rhubarb pie, reserving the leaves for a simple stir fry with garlic and olive oil.
A popular bean in the Mediterranean and Latin America, fava beans are large and flat with a mild flavor and soft consistency.
In the Mediterranean, you’ll see them pureed as dips, soups, and stews.
Latin American countries use fava bean puree as stuffing for griddled dumplings.
My favorite bean dish? That has to be the Mexican Tlacoyo de Habas!
Carrots are a classic that happens to be my number one when it comes to spring fruits and vegetables.
While I enjoy them in every possible iteration, I’m usually content to eat them raw for a healthy snack.
They’re available year-round, but they’re sweetest in the spring.
For me, carrots have boundless utility, from crudité platters for dipping in ranch or hummus to stir fries to shredded over a salad or coleslaw.
Asparagus is always hit or miss during the fall and winter.
However, spring harvests bring thick, plump stalks. Ancient European cultures have long touted asparagus as a diuretic and aphrodisiac.
So, if you’re ever looking for a romantic night, I recommend prepping some steamed asparagus with lemon juice!
Radishes are a fantastic garnish for any salad, soup, or stir-fry.
They’re both aesthetically pleasing and flavorful. I particularly adore their crisp crunch and slightly bitter bite.
The bright pink peel frames the white interior with every thinly sliced round.
I have a soft spot for serving sliced radishes over a Chinese chicken salad with julienned carrots, green onions, and purple cabbage for a colorful taste of spring.
There’s nothing more enchanting than stumbling upon a field of wild strawberries or visiting a strawberry farm to pick them fresh.
Strawberries are delicate, so once you buy them, you have a finite time to enjoy their juicy and subtle sweetness.
I put sliced strawberries over my yogurt every morning, while I use frozen strawberries for smoothies.
Artichokes are giant flower buds harvested before they get the chance to flower.
Once you chop off the pointed top, you see layers upon layers of premature “buds” connected to a meaty heart.
They work well steamed or grilled, but I have a fondness for drizzling them with a vinaigrette or serving them with a remoulade dipping sauce.
Like most tropical fruits, pineapples have a thick shell that protects them from bugs and gives them a longer shelf life.
The best way to know when they’re ripe is to try plucking a stalk from the top. If it comes loose immediately, you know it’s ready to eat.
A native Chinese fruit, kiwis have been a favorite in the East since before the 12th century.
This fruit is still a special treat, with a small window of availability.
If you’re not put off by the hairy skin, it’s edible! The soft, sweet flesh of a kiwi with its tiny crunchy seeds wins my vote for the best texture.
I always rejoice with the onset of cherry season.
Cherries come from colder and more arid climates, whether it’s the Northern US and Canada, or Chile.
Their bouncy flesh and pop of rich, juicy sweetness are, in my opinion, the height of flavor.
One of the world’s most prized delicacies, the morel is a rich incredibly flavorful type of mushroom with a meaty texture.
Morels are elusive fungi that require foraging. They pop up in forests in early spring.
Morels need no embellishment. I just sauté them with butter and season them with salt and pepper.
When life gives you lemons, you can make lemonade.
You can also make tea, lemon ice box pie, Greek salad dressing, sorbet, and countless other dishes!
I always have half a dozen lemons laying around, as they routinely get used before the week is over. Learn about different types of lemons to find your favorite variety!
Apricots have varieties in Europe, Asia, and Africa.
They are as popular fresh as they are dried. Fresh apricots have a brighter and lighter flavor, with a peach-like fuzz and flesh like a plum.
The dried versions are plum and moist, with a unique flavor that I think tastes wonderful with nuts or chopped up in a couscous salad with pine nuts.
Leeks may be labor-intensive to clean and prepare, but their sweet onion flavor is worth the effort.
When I get past the tough outer layer of their stalks, leeks resemble a giant green onion.
When you saute them, they become incredibly sweet. I love using leeks to make risotto.
These whimsical spring veggies look like something out of a Dr. Seuss book.
Fiddleheads are coiled leaves of edible fern plants. They look like bright green spirals that become a darker green when steamed or sauteed.
They taste fresh and fibrous, but I think their shape is what makes them fun to eat!
New potatoes are round red or maroon-skinned potatoes with a wonderful pillowy texture.
They cook quickly due to their small size and lend well to any cooking method, from boiling to roasting.
I like to boil them and serve them sliced in half in a nicoise salad with tinned tuna, hard-boiled eggs, and plenty of veggies!
Native to the Mediterranean, fennel is a flowering plant whose leaves are used as flavorful herbs to season numerous savory dishes and is even an ingredient of the spirit absinthe.
It tastes like anise and is often used interchangeably.
My favorite way to enjoy fennel is in a fennel-infused Italian sausage on a Neapolitan-style pizza.
Another species of onion, ramps are native to North America and a sign of the beginning of spring.
They have thin white stalks like a scallion or green onion but have edible leaves instead of a deep green upper stalk.
Ramps have a strong onion and garlic flavor, so I suggest frying them with savory foods like potatoes and bacon.
Also known as stinging nettles, nettles are a European plant with edible leaves.
True to their name, nettles have chemicals that sting and irritate the skin.
Therefore, I recommend soaking them in water before preparing them to ensure your mouth doesn’t feel like it’s been stung by a million bees!
Nettles taste like young spinach. I suggest sauteing them with olive oil and garlic.
A hearty root vegetable, turnips look like white beets.
They have white circular bulbs with deep pink surrounding a sprout of edible stalks and leaves.
You can eat turnips raw or cooked, but I prefer the cooked variety because they’re sweeter.
Whatever you do, don’t discard the turnip greens! You get two side dishes in one hearty veggie, using the bulb for a silky puree, and the greens taste great sauteed with garlic.
Greens come in many colors and textures, from soft green baby spinach lettuce to deep maroon radicchio.
I often throw a myriad of greens into my salads for a complex flavor profile and an abundance of nutrients.
Speaking of leafy greens! Arugula is a delicate leafy green with a unique spicy bitterness that’s especially popular in Italian dishes.
They complexify any flavor profile and can stand up to other strong flavors.
I love ordering a Neapolitan pizza topped with arugula and a simple lemon vinaigrette.
Mangos are the ultimate tropical pleasure, with numerous varieties in tropical regions like Mexico and India.
There are large green and pink-skinned mangos with a tart yet sweet flavor.
In my opinion, the Ataulfo mango is the best variety. It’s a medium-sized bright yellow mango with golden flesh that is sweeter than any fruit you’ll ever taste.
Parsley has been a key herb for centuries and plays a role in Pesach, a religious holiday within Judaism.
It’s a mild herb and works well raw or dried. I use it in conjunction with basil for a springtime pesto sauce.
Originating in China, kumquats are a small citrus fruit that resembles miniature oranges. Unlike oranges, you can eat the peel.
They are much tangier and sourer, too, so do well when combined with other fruits in a fruit salad.
I think they taste particularly nice with chopped bananas, grapes, and pineapple.
Whether you like basil, thyme, or mint, you’ll have an abundance of fresh herbs to enjoy.
I recommend buying herb plants or seeds at your local nursery. Most varieties grow like weeds, even if you don’t have a green thumb.
Also known as green onions or scallions, spring onions are thin, deep green delicate onions with a small white bulb.
The white bulb has a stronger onion flavor while the green stalks are more subtle.
I use the white bulbs in Asian stir-fries, reserving the chopped green part for a raw garnish.
Beets are another root vegetable that adds gorgeous color to any salad, soup, or stew.
They come in deep maroon and yellow varieties with stalks and greens attached for you to use in a saute.
Beets are very sweet and taste delicious roasted or raw.
I love to prepare a roasted beet salad with red and yellow beats, walnuts, and goat cheese.
While stews are our one-pot meals in winter, salads are our one-bowl meals come spring.
Lettuce is the foundation for any salad, and there are numerous varieties, from soft and silky butter lettuce to spikey and tough endives.
Spinach may not give you instant biceps like Popeye, but it is a nutrient-rich vegetable.
It comes as soft, baby spinach leaves and as mature, tougher leaves.
The baby spinach tastes good raw or sauteed. I also like spinach lasagna more than meat lasagna.
Green garlic is abundant from early March through July.
It’s simply young garlic that has yet to develop the heads you’re used to buying at the grocery store.
They look like green onions with a rounder bulb.
- Fava Beans
- New Potatoes
- Spring Onions
- Green Garlic
Springtime offers warm, sunny weather that encourages growth and fruition. A case in point is the abundance of fruits and vegetables available during the spring.
My list of spring fruits and vegetables will provide you with all the ingredients you need to make bright and colorful meals.
While spring brings some great produce, there’s still some great winter produce to enjoy before the warm weather returns!