Farmers markets are starting to see more and more produce as the summer season takes off and the weather heats up. From tomatoes to corn and all kinds of summer squash, put these ingredients to use while they’re in their prime.
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Before you run in the opposite direction, we aren’t suggesting you eat a salad as your meal and call it a day. In fact, these green salads are sideshows for a reason. In between bites of something more substantial, they work as a nice recess, countering the heartier notes of your main dish with exciting freshness.
Fetch your salad tongs and the biggest bowl you can get your hands on. These recipes — and the homemade salad dressings that adorn them — stray far from the salad bar.
It may be a Simple Green Salad, but Food Network Magazine relies on uncomplicated ingredients that shine. All you need is a crunchy heart of romaine and Bibb lettuce along with a drizzle of lemon-mustard vinaigrette and a scattering of fresh chives.
When you’ve nearly exhausted all of your usual go-to meals, it’s time to update your recipe repertoire with a fresh set of flavors. Think of it as a spring cleaning of sorts, celebrating the change in season with family-friendly dinners, salads and treats that showcase the best tastes the warm weather has to offer. Check out a few of Food Network’s favorite innovative springtime recipes below to find must-try ideas from Melissa, Giada, Ina and more chefs.
5. Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad — Dressed with a sweet and tangy mustard-mayonnaise vinaigrette, Melissa’s top-rated salad is tossed with crispy bacon for extra indulgent flavor.
4. Spring Peas with Dates and Walnuts — The beauty of this quick-fix side dish is that it boasts a mix of textures, including the trio of tender English, snap and snow peas, crunchy nuts and chewy dried fruit. Plus, it’s a big-batch recipe, so it’s sure to feed a crowd when you’re entertaining.
Spring is here. I’ll admit that when I lived in colder climates such as Vermont or Paris, the arrival of spring was more anticipated (“When can I put my boots away?!”). I remember in Burlington, Vt., we had the tradition of breaking out our swimsuits on the first day that it hit 50 degrees F, a temperature that would have me snuggling up to the fireplace now. Even in San Diego, I’m excited about spring for two reasons. First, my daughters’ spring break is around the corner, and we are hunkering down for a family staycation here in San Diego (all the family time and fun, none of the stress of travel!). And the second reason I’m eager for the end of winter is — traditional spring food! Yes, I know these days we can get many ingredients year round, but they are lackluster compared to their in-season versions. Quite simply, there are certain flavors that are just better in that magical shoulder season between winter and summer.
Here’s my ideal springtime menu, featuring seasonal ingredients that you can get at any supermarket right now:
Asparagus: I’ll start here because it’s perhaps the quintessential spring vegetable, with its tender stalk and earthy flavor. While you can get asparagus many months of the year, the flavor (and the cost!) both tell you that spring is the time to indulge. I buy several bunches a week in peak season. My methods of cooking asparagus are almost exclusively roasting or grilling: a little extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and about 10 minutes in a hot oven (or seven minutes on a hot grill) is all it takes to bring out the natural sweetness and earthiness. Roasted asparagus can be served hot, at room temperature or cold (toss it with a tangy mustard vinaigrette for a fresh spring salad as in my Roasted Asparagus with Lemon Vinaigrette). Or cook for even less time to make a fresh soup (try my Almost-Raw Asparagus Soup with Yogurt and Almonds — it couldn’t be easier to serve spring in a bowl).
Tomorrow marks the first day of spring, and just as you may be getting ready to transition your wardrobe from heavy snow coats to light jackets, so, too, are you likely longing for a change in everyday meals. Gone are the cravings for warming stews and comforting casseroles; it’s all about bright, fresh flavors that make the most out of this brand-new time of year. Check out Food Network’s top-five recipes for the season below, and celebrate the first days of spring with an abundance of crisp vegetables and juicy fruits of all colors.
5. Roast Chicken with Spring Vegetables — With this all-in-one supper of juicy chicken, hearty potatoes, and colorful carrots and radishes, you no longer have to prepare separate protein, starch and vegetable components to offer a complete meal.
4. Green Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette — Consider Rachael’s fuss-free recipe the ultimate go-to salad, as it requires just a few minutes to assemble the lettuce with fresh berries and a tangy dressing.
Bacon and eggs. Milk and cookies. Some things just go hand in hand. Broccoli and cheddar? Now that is a union of epic proportions. Luckily, there are many ways for you to indulge your broccoli-cheddar fixation, especially now that this favorite winter veggie is perfectly in season. With this trusty recipe list on your side, you have every reason to witness this fated pairing on your plate this week.
1. Perhaps the most-iconic display of broccoli and cheddar together is eaten with a spoon. Food Network Magazine’s Almost-Famous Broccoli-Cheddar Soup is creamy and rich, best when served restaurant style in a crusty bread bowl. For those hoping for something a little less heavy, Healthified Broccoli-Cheddar Soup is your saving grace.
2. Say goodbye to your strolls down the brisk freezer section. Make homemade Broccoli-Cheddar Pockets, like these by Food Network Magazine, by folding fresh broccoli and sharp cheddar cheese into store-bought French bread dough. No microwave required.
The most-decadent holiday of the year may have passed us by, but that doesn’t mean we’re nixing comfort foods on these cold, wintry days. Some needs just can’t be put on hold for diets or cleanses, especially when you’re swaddled in sweaters and huddled for warmth. That’s why, this week, FN Dish is adding seasonal winter squash — a most-satisfying, sweet and adaptable piece of produce — to the grocery cart.
At the market, keep your eyes peeled for winter squash varieties like butternut, delicate, acorn, kabocha and spaghetti squashes. Follow FN Dish’s lead and cook up winter squash creations that are inventive, filling and seasonal. Whether it’s your first squash of the season or you already have leftovers in the fridge, these recipes are family favorites in the making.
Before you do anything else, learn how to break kabocha and butternut squashes down with Food Network Magazine. That way, there’s nothing preventing you from making Squash Gratin, a two-squash side that’s nice and velvety under its crispy, cheesy crust.
A lot of our Thanksgiving traditions come canned — the pumpkin puree for your pie, the start of your favorite cranberry sauce and those curly fried onions for your green bean casserole. These time-honored ingredients get this most-anticipated meal on the table year after year. As the holiday draws near, however, give some serious thanks by stocking your table with show-stopping produce-loving sides.
As you start assembling those grocery lists of yours, mix and match these 10 killer dishes — each with a veggie focus — for a Thanksgiving spread your family will reproduce for years to come.
1. Mushrooms: We may eat our mushrooms year-round, but Ina’s Mushroom-Leek Bread Pudding celebrates this ingredient in a preparation reminiscent of classic Thanksgiving stuffing.
2. Squash: Food Network Magazine’s Lemon-Maple Squash are curvy and sophisticated, working as an elegant addition to the other casserole-leaning sides.
You likely have your Thanksgiving menu set. For all we know, it was set in stone years ago, probably when your all-knowing elders were in charge. The turkey part of Turkey Day is a no-brainer, but the sides are like a puzzle. You’ll serve the usual contenders — fluffy mashed potatoes with a puddle of gravy, Grandma’s sweet potato casserole (marshmallows and all) — but you’ll need something else to balance out all that richness.
This year, as your family gathers around the dinner table for yet another Thanksgiving meal, look to another veggie that’s at the top of every restaurant menu and grocery list: Brussels sprouts. We like ours cooked right — caramelized and tender at every layer. As you draft up your preliminary rounds of potential recipes, keep in-season Brussels sprouts at the top of your list.
Turkey Day is known for chaos. Ease things up and simply drizzle halved sprouts with olive oil for basic Roasted Brussels Sprouts by Food Network Magazine. And with just one small addition, Brussels Sprouts with Bacon take on a smoky saltiness, perfect for the big Thanksgiving meal or any night of the week.
It’s November, and for all we know, you’re already knee-deep in beef stew, spaghetti and meatballs, and chicken noodle soup. We get it. Fall means comfort: stews so tender the meat is falling off the bone and casseroles so cozy you get knocked into a nap at the last bite.
Here’s the thing: Comfort food doesn’t need to be synonymous with meat. Believe it or not, even the most unassuming veggies have the power to cure us of all our woes. Leave it to cauliflower — and these recipes — to bring you all kinds of comfort this season.
Stir a pot of risotto to sultry completion, this time with roasted cauliflower florets and sliced almonds adding that extra crunch. Food Network Magazine’s Roasted Cauliflower Risotto (pictured above) can work as a rich main dish, or as a smaller side.