Spring ushers in the best weather and the best 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.
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Tonnato—a creamy, rich Italian condiment made with tuna, anchovies, lemon, capers, and mayonnaise—is the perfect foil to spring’s freshest, greenest produce. Recipe developer Melina Hammer pairs the sauce with fava beans and asparagus, but feel free to swap those out for your favorite seasonal veg.
Take the concept of a “spring chicken” literally by making this tried-and-true recipe from Samin Nosrat. Buttermilk helps tenderize this simply prepared bird, while also giving the meat a subtle tang.
True to its name, this lentil salad from Alison Roman calls for two cups of fresh, tender herbs like cilantro, dill, and parsley. Add some goat cheese or feta if you’d like, but it’s by no means necessary—here, the earthy lentils and produce are the stars.
The ingredient list for this dish is short, but every single one packs a punch. We love the assertive flavor of swordfish, especially when paired with creamy white beans and in-season asparagus.
One-pot pastas are a year-round staple, but this one evokes springtime in particular. Cooking the pasta directly in the sauce (which is thinned out with stock) is a genius move that cuts down on dirty dishes, and the addition of crumbled sausage makes for a satisfying, balanced dish.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This three-ingredient recipe calls for jarred, marinated artichoke hearts, which gives you peak spring flavor anytime of the year.
“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.
“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.
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.
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.
“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?
If this crispy, crunchy green salad doesn’t get you excited for spring, I don’t know what will.
The Italian-American pasta primavera gets a seasonal springtime spin with scallions, leeks, broccoli, green beans, and lots and lots of lemon.
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.
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?
20. 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.
Spring radishes are paired with hearty winter radicchio for a year-round side salad.
Four cups of spinach are used for this creamy chicken recipe, courtesy of Joanna Gaines.
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.
“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
“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.
This zippy, zesty celebrates spring in all its beauty. Serve it as a quick side salad or dinner party starter.