After a long cold winter, it's hard not to get excited about spring's bounty of fresh produce. With asparagus, artichokes, ramps, morels, peas, and more readily available, there's no better season to eat vegetarian food.
Woodsy morel mushrooms are delicious in spaghetti, sautéed with mint and peas, or served with tofu skin in a pungent black bean chile sauce. Our best ramp recipes deploy the mildly onion-y herbs in a seasonal escabeche and as a base for pizza. Then there's fresh asparagus—simply toss the stalks in a skillet with butter, salt, and pepper to let their flavor shine. Asparagus slices cured in honey and lemon juice make a wonderful topping for a creamy macadamia gazpacho. Spring peas in pea recipes are wonderful for adding a pop of sweetness to virtually any dish. Along with asparagus, carrots, fennel, and spring onions, they create a vibrant barigoule.
This recipe originated in the Ottoman palaces. Use small eggplants for a better eggplant-to-stuffing ratio, since the key is to bake as much vegetable and tomato flavor into the eggplant as possible. Feel free to play around with the filling: swap in vegetables like sweet corn or zucchini for a seasonal twist. Turkish Stuffed Eggplant (Imam Bayildi) »
Piles of colorful carrot ribbons—which skew more savory than sweet, thanks to a lemony coriander-flecked dressing—come out of the oven glistening and retaining some of their bite. The keys to the couldn't-be-flakier crust beneath: keeping the ingredients as cold as possible, and not overhandling the dough. Leftovers of the tart can be refrigerated and recrisped in the oven the next day. Get the recipe for Shaved Carrot Tart with Ricotta »
Chef José Andrés likes to cook these calçots, here served with asparagus, in the traditional manner: in a newspaper. The newspaper traps in steam from the cooling calçots, making them more tender and soaking up any excess oil. These tender Spanish green onions, always served with Romesco sauce, are a classic springtime treat. Get the recipe for Grilled Calçots and Asparagus with Romesco Sauce »
This nontraditional pesto is one of the best ways to use up an overload of pea shoots. Packed with mint and spread atop toast or beneath a burger, it will make anything you pair it with taste fresher and greener. Get the recipe for Pea Shoot and Mint Pesto »
In this bright spring pasta dish of morels, asparagus, and cream, dried morels are rehydrated in boiling water that is then used to cook spaghetti, infusing the pasta with an earthy, mushroomy flavor. Get the recipe for Morel and Asparagus Spaghetti »
The striking geometry of this terrine—an elegantly simple pairing of leeks and goat cheese—makes for a visually arresting presentation. We like it served with dark pumpernickel bread and some briny cured salmon at brunch, or as part of a cheese plate with a casual dinner. Get the recipe for Leek Terrine with Goat Cheese »