7 Sensational Spring Dinners Ready in 30 Minutes or Less

Life seems to get busier every day in the springtime, with sports practices, family occasions, barbecues, and more here to help your family greet the season. With all the fun and mild weather activities going on around you, don’t find yourself trapped in the kitchen cooking! Instead, opt for any of these 7 spring dinner recipes requiring 30 minutes or less.

1. Barley Risotto with Asparagus, Basil, and Lemon

risotto with asparagus on a plate

Risotto with asparagus | iStock.com

Bowl Of Delicious’s barley risotto with asparagus, basil, and lemon makes a great weeknight dinner choice, requiring just 30 minutes of your time. Blogger Elizabeth Lindemann’s secret to quick barley prep is to soak your barley overnight (about 12 hours), which will cut the grain’s cooking time in half! The rich recipe is enhanced with seasonal asparagus, basil, and lemon for a refreshing dish the whole family will enjoy.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup pearl barley, soaked overnight
  • 4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 bunch asparagus- washed, trimmed, and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • ½ cup fresh chopped basil, plus more for garnish
  • Zest of one lemon, plus slices for serving
  • ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

DirectionsDrain and rinse the barley; set aside.

Heat chicken broth in a medium pot until hot. Melt oil and butter in another, large pot over medium heat.

Add onion; saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic to the onion; saute for one minute, or until fragrant. Add barley to the garlic and onion; stir to coat. Add one cup of the broth to the barley mixture and stir. Allow the liquid to be absorbed, stirring occasionally. Once the liquid has been absorbed, add another ladleful and repeat the process.

When you add the last ladleful of broth, add the asparagus to the pot and season with salt and pepper. Once the last liquid has been absorbed, stir in the basil, lemon zest, and parmesan cheese. Serve hot with extra basil, cheese, and lemon slices.

2. Coconut Spinach Shrimp Soup

tom yum soup, shrimp coconut

Coconut shrimp soup | iStock.com

The fresh flavors of spinach, shrimp, and coconut are wed to create this spectacular Thai-inspired dish from Carmel Moments. The coconut, spinach, and shrimp soup offers a smooth, creamy take on spring flavors, and it’s a healthy, gluten-free offering to boot! The recipe requires just 15 minutes and yields 4 to 5 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk
  • 1 (32-ounce) carton Thai stock/broth or sweet and sour broth
  • 1 pound uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 8 ounces spinach, or to your preference
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions: In a Dutch oven or small stock pot. Heat coconut milk and stock/broth over medium heat, about 5 minutes.

Stir in shrimp and spinach. Place lid on snugly. Turn off heat. Let sit for 5 minutes or until shrimp is fully cooked. Season with salt and pepper if desired.

3. Asparagus, Goat Cheese, and Pistachio Flatbread

goat cheese

Goat cheese | iStock.com

You’d have to be crazy to turn down a home-cooked pizza — especially one that packs in the finest flavors of the season! This asparagus, goat cheese, and pistachio flatbread from Two Peas And Their Pod makes pizza prep easier than ever while highlighting the citrusy and nutty flavors characteristic of springtime dishes. The recipe takes 25 minutes to make and serves 2 to 4 people.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 5 large asparagus spears
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Whole grain flatbread or naan bread
  • 3 tablespoons chopped pistachios, shells removed
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Lemon zest, for garnish

DirectionsPreheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a small bowl, stir together the goat cheese, chives, and lemon zest. Using a vegetable peeler, shave asparagus spears into long, thin shavings. Place shavings in a small bowl. Drizzle a little of the olive oil over the asparagus shavings and gently toss.

Drizzle a little olive oil over the flatbread. Place dollops of goat cheese evenly over the flatbread. Top with shaved asparagus. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste.

Place flatbread on a large baking sheet and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and flatbread is crisp. Remove from oven and top with chopped pistachios and lemon zest. Serve immediately.

4. Sweet and Spicy Sea Bass

 

fish fillet with tomato hot chili pepper and asparagus

Sea bass | iStock.com

Kitchen Sanctuary’s sweet and spicy sea bass is one of the best dishes for welcoming mild weather, combining flaky sea bass with the intense flavors of ginger, soy sauce, honey, sesame, and lime. The sweet chili sauce thickens to a tantalizing consistency in the oven, yielding restaurant-worthy results. The recipe serves 2 people and takes 12 minutes to complete.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • ½ of a red chili, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon dried ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and minced
  • Juice of ¼ lime
  • 2 sea bass fillets, skin-on
  • ½ teaspoon cornflour
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

To serve:

  • Handful of fresh coriander, torn
  • ½ red chili, sliced thinly
  • Slices of lime

DirectionsPreheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mix the oil, chili, honey, soy sauce, dried ginger, garlic, and lime in a small bowl. Place the sea bass fillets, skin-side down, on a baking tray. Sprinkle on the corn flour and rub it into the fish gently.

Spoon on the honey-soy sauce mix. Sprinkle on the sugar and place in the oven to cook for 8 minutes. Halfway through cooking, open the oven and baste the fish with the sauce in the tray.

Once the fish is cooked, take out of the oven and baste again with sauce, then sprinkle the top with coriander and slices of chili. Serve with lime slices and some boiled rice or salad.

5. Spring Vegetable Pad Thai

Cutting bell peppers

Cutting peppers | iStock.com

For a quick and satiating dinner fix, indulge in Food Fanatic’s spring vegetable pad Thai. The dish blends a crunchy combination of bell pepper, carrot, cabbage, edamame, and asparagus with chewy rice noodles. This medley of flavors and textures is further brightened by a ginger-soy-sesame peanut sauce. The recipe requires 25 minutes to make and yields 4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 14 ounces pad thai rice noodles, or rice noodles of choice
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 3 cups red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups edamame, shelled
  • 6 spears asparagus, chopped — you’ll cook them with the rice noodles and soy beans

For the sauce:

  • ⅔ cup liquid aminos, or soy sauce
  • ¼cup sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated

For serving:

  • Sesame seeds
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Soy sauce, to taste

Directions: Add all ingredients for the sauce to a small blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.

Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the rice noodles. Allow the noodles to cook until softened, about 8 to 10 minutes.

About 6 minutes into cooking, add the shelled edamame and the chopped asparagus to the hot water in order to cook the vegetables.

Strain the vegetables and noodles into a colander and immediately place in a large serving bowl. Add the remaining vegetables, pour the sauce over everything, and toss together. Add salt and soy sauce to taste.

6. Lemon Poppy Chicken Skillet

Citrus chicken, olives, lemons

Chicken with citrus, olives, and onions | iStock.com

As any cook knows, a skillet-based recipe can put you on the fast-track to good eats. This lemon poppy chicken skillet from Coupons is no different. In it, comforting, mildly sweet chicken breast is enhanced with sweet duck sauce. Meanwhile scallions, cilantro, poppy seeds, and coconut oil lend subtle enhancements to the dinnertime offering. The recipe makes 4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound diced chicken
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 cups duck sauce
  • 1 lemon, sliced thin
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons scallions or cilantro (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups white rice

Directions: Heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, salt and pepper the chicken lightly, then toss the chicken into the hot skillet. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Once the edges of the chicken are golden brown and the centers are cooked through, add duck sauce and lemons. Turn the heat down to medium heat, stir until sauce is warm. Garnish with poppy seeds, scallions, and/or cilantro. Serve over white rice.

7. Spring Arugula and Black Bean Tacos

black beans

A can of black beans | iStock.com

These spring arugula and black bean tacos with pickled radish and feta offer a host of light and satisfying seasonal flavors. Cumin-tinged black beans make a wonderful filling, while lime juice, jalapeño-dressed arugula, crispy radishes, and hot sauce are mixed in for a final kick. Cookie And Kate’s recipe makes 8 tacos.

Ingredients:

Jalapeño-lime dressing:
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 large lime)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped jalapeño (about 1 medium jalapeño), membranes and seeds removed
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon honey (or agave nectar)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
Spicy black beans:
  • 2 cans black black beans, rinsed and drained (or 4 cups cooked black beans)
  • 1 medium yellow or white onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • ⅓ cup water
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
To assemble:
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 4 to 6 cups baby arugula
  • 1 avocado, pitted and sliced into thin strips
  • ⅔ cup crumbled feta
  • Quick-pickled radishes or chopped fresh radishes
  • Optional garnishes: freshly ground black pepper, red pepper flakes, and/or hot sauce like Cholula

DirectionsTo make the dressing: In a small bowl, combine all of the listed dressing ingredients. Whisk until emulsified.

To prepare the black beans: Warm the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and a sprinkle of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are turning translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the cumin and cook for about 30 seconds while stirring. Pour in the beans and ⅓ cup water. Stir, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, then remove the lid and use the back of a fork to mash up about at least half of the beans. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper, and cover until you’re ready to serve.

To warm the tortillas: Heat a cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium heat and warm each tortilla individually, flipping occasionally. Alternatively, you can warm them directly over a low flame on a gas range.

To assemble: Just before serving, toss the arugula with enough dressing to lightly coat the leaves (you will probably have leftover dressing). Spread black beans down the middle of each tortilla. Top with sliced avocado, pickled radishes, a small handful of dressed arugula, and a sprinkle of crumbled feta. Finish with a couple dashes of freshly ground black pepper, red pepper flakes, and/or hot sauce.

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