6 Side Dishes That Take Advantage of Fresh Spring Vegetables
Spring doesn’t just bring warm weather — it also brings along a nice line-up of in-season vegetables, including beets, asparagus, peas, and carrots. Simple preparation and fresh flavors make spring veggies the perfect complement to any dinner entrée, which is why we suggest preparing these 6 side dishes. Vinaigrettes, seasonings, and spices enhance your veggies, creating delightful sides such as Asparagus with Curry Butter, Roasted Beets with Feta, and Spiced Peas with Cilantro and Lime. No supper table should be without these vibrant spring vegetable sides!
1. Glazed Spring Vegetables
Spring veggies abound in Williams-Sonoma’s recipe. Carrots and turnips are gently cooked in butter, garlic, and water and topped off with a sprinkling of mint and parsley. In addition to loving this side dish’s light and refreshing flavors, you can also appreciate its many health benefits. Care2 explains that eating carrots improves your vision, helps prevent cancer and infection, slows down the aging process, promotes healthier skin, and prevents heart disease.
- 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 8 carrots, about 1¾ pounds total, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks, or 1¾ pounds baby carrots, peeled and left whole
- 6 small turnips, about 1¾ pounds total, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks or cut in half
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1½ teaspoons minced fresh mint
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
Directions: In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add 1 garlic clove and the carrots and cook until just tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. In the same pan, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, add the remaining garlic clove and the turnips and cook until just tender, about 8 minutes.
Return the carrots to the pan, season with salt and pepper and add ½ cup water. Cover and simmer for 8 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook until the water has evaporated and the vegetables are glazed, about 5 minutes more. Remove from the heat and stir in the mint and parsley. Serve immediately.
2. Leeks Vinaigrette
Oprah explains that spring is the perfect time to keep an eye out for leeks at farmers’ markets; they’ll taste fresher and cost less! In this recipe for Leeks Vinaigrette, leeks are poached and coated in a light vinaigrette, creating a stunning side dish that pairs perfectly with an elegant roast or salmon entrée. It yields 4 to 6 servings.
- 6 medium leeks, split and halved lengthwise
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 lemons
- 8 sprigs thyme , plus more for garnish, optional
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Directions: Place leeks in a large bowl of cold water; let soak 30 minutes until free of grit. Meanwhile, in a large soup pot, combine 4 quarts cold water, garlic, juice of 2 lemons, thyme, and 1½ tablespoons salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer about 30 minutes.
Remove leeks from water; add to cooking liquid. Poach until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Combine juice of last lemon and mustard in a small bowl. Whisk in olive oil, then toss over leeks. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper; top with thyme and lemon slices.
3. Spiced Peas with Cilantro and Lime
You can use frozen peas in Real Simple’s recipe, but we highly recommend opting for fresh peas instead! Bursting with garlic, curry powder, cilantro, and lime, this lively spring side dish is sure to brighten your dinner table. Even vegetable haters will be asking you to pass the peas, please! It yields 4 servings.
- Kosher salt
- 1½ pounds fresh peas in the pod, shelled (about 2 cups), or 2 cups frozen peas
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- ½ teaspoon curry powder
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
Directions: If using fresh peas, fill a large saucepan with salted water and bring to a boil. Add the peas and cook until just tender, 3 to 5 minutes; drain. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the peas, garlic, curry powder, and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and warmed through, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cilantro and lime juice and toss to combine.
4. Roasted Radishes with Brown Butter Lemon and Radish Tops
Roasting radishes highlights their peppery flavor, while butter and lemon juice create a glorious glaze that separates this side dish from the rest. Bon Appétit’s recipe via Epicurious, which yields 4 servings, pairs perfectly with pork loin or a leg of lamb. There are plenty of reasons to regularly eat radishes, one of which is that they’re packed with health benefits. They aid in digestion, prevent viral infections, eliminate toxins, protect against cancer, and keep you hydrated, according to Full Circle.
- 2 bunches medium radishes
- 1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Coarse kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons (¼ stick) unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Brush large heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with olive oil. Cut off all but ½ inch of green radish tops; reserve trimmed tops and rinse them well, checking for grit. Coarsely chop radish tops and set aside. Cut radishes lengthwise in half and place in medium bowl. Add 1½ tablespoons olive oil and toss thoroughly to coat. Place radishes, cut side down, on prepared baking sheet; sprinkle lightly with coarse salt.
Roast until radishes are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally, about 18 minutes. Season to taste with more coarse kosher salt, if desired. Add butter to skillet; add a pinch of coarse kosher salt to skillet and cook until butter browns, swirling skillet frequently to keep butter solids from burning, about 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and stir in fresh lemon juice. Transfer roasted radishes to warmed shallow serving bowl and drizzle brown butter over. Sprinkle with chopped radish tops and serve.
5. Asparagus with Curry Butter
Asparagus is coated in curry-infused butter and then sautéed to perfection in Eating Well’s recipe, which yields 4 servings. This side dish is a magnificent addition to any meal, and it only takes 20 minutes to make, ensuring you can quickly whip it up any night of the week. Eating Well recommends checking the ingredient label on your curry powder prior to using it. If it notes that salt has been added to it, you may want to consider omitting any additional salt to ensure your dish isn’t overly seasoned.
- 2 teaspoons butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- ½ teaspoon lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 shallot, finely diced
- 1 bunch asparagus, (about 1 pound), trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
Directions: Combine butter, curry powder, lemon juice, and salt in a small bowl. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add asparagus and cook, stirring, until just tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir the curry butter into the asparagus; toss to coat.
6. Roasted Beets With Feta
Bring out the best in your beets using Food Network’s recipe. Lemon juice, scallions, and feta add fantastic flavors to this root vegetable, creating a sensational side that will quickly take center stage at your supper table. Mercola.com states that beets, which are a rich source of vitamins and minerals, can lower your blood pressure, fight inflammation, and contain anti-cancer properties.
- 4 medium beets
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Pepper, to taste
- 4 scallions, chopped
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- Crumbled feta
Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Peel 4 medium beets and cut into ½-inch pieces. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste on a baking sheet. Roast at 450 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring once or twice, until tender, 35 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; toss with 4 chopped scallions and 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Top with crumbled feta.