The utterance “I’m going to get a salad” often evinces visions of diets and other streaks of healthy eating. But, if you’re asking me, leafy greens and their accompaniments are anything but punishment. On the contrary, our favorite green salads emanate fresh vibrancy with every invigorating bite. Plus, when they’re enjoyed as a main dish, they bring a certain brightness to the main event. Next time you’re on the hunt for a side dish, think of these glorious side salad recipes for all kinds of leafy greens.
I can still taste the tang of fresh rhubarb as my mom picked long stalks of the stuff from our garden as a kid. (I also remember yelling to my friends who always seemed to be grabbing it for a snack, “No! That’s not celery!”) But what a transformation: How soft rhubarb became in the oven, set in a custard pie filling along with sweet strawberries. Strawberry-rhubarb is the killer combination of spring. So as those first stalks are spotted in markets everywhere, these recipes are on our radar:
The Classic Approach:
1. Rhubarb Custard Pie: This is it! This is exactly the sweet and creamy pie I remember, the one I’ll make for our kids this spring.
Amazing grains, how sweet the sound! (That is how the song goes … right?) Either way, there’s no denying the awesome powers of whole grains. Beyond the obvious health benefits of swapping them in for pasta, white rice and more, using grains as a nourishing alternative brings a welcome quirkiness to your go-to side dishes.
1. Take the rice out of your fried rice by using farro instead.
The glory of digging fried rice out of a takeout container could never be fully replaced, but making a good grain swap is a sure way to keep things interesting. Look to farro, an Italian grain of wheat that’s satisfyingly tender and chewy, for Healthy Farro Fried “Rice” (pictured above) that ups the texture of the classic Asian staple.
There’s a time and a place for a really involved recipe — and cooking with fresh, seasonal asparagus in springtime is not one of those times. It doesn’t take much for a side of asparagus to shine. When in-season asparagus is simply roasted, steamed or grilled, its innate flavors are given the chance to come out without any distractions. In the spirit of loving asparagus in its truest state, each of these spring-focused recipes is as simple as it gets, using just eight ingredients at the very most.
With just four ingredients on the roster, Ina Garten’s Roasted Asparagus (pictured above) reins in more than 300 reviews and a five-star rating. Simply drizzle fresh asparagus with quality olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt, as well as freshly ground black pepper, and roast until tender but still crisp. Watch Ina Garten make it herself and you’ll never have lackluster asparagus again.
Baby, it’s spring outside! The temp is climbing, birds are chirping and bundles of in-season asparagus, artichokes and more are starting to line the supermarkets. But one of the most-captivating elements of this vibrant season is, unarguably, the moment when those first flowers begin to bloom. If you can’t wait to bear witness to spring’s bloom, or if you don’t have the resources to build your own bright and sunshiny garden, these floral-minded recipes might just be enough to brighten up your kitchen.
You might be accustomed to digging ice cream right out of a cardboard pint, but Ree Drummond’s Ice Cream Flowerpot Desserts (pictured above) bring the ice-cold treat to bright, blossoming heights. Before you start filling up clay flowerpots with real-life flowers, clean them and load ‘em up with slices of pound cake and scoops of ice cream. Cover the tops with crushed chocolate cookies to get the look of dirt before you go full-on spring with chewy gummy worms and fresh-cut flowers.
Fun fact: Most recipes that use marshmallows can be made infinitely cuter by swapping in Peeps. These sugar-coated chicks and bunnies are an Easter treat so beloved that Just Born, the company that’s been producing them for more than 60 years, makes enough Peeps in one year to circle the Earth three times. Back in 1953, it took 27 hours to create one Peep by hand with a pastry tube; yellow and white were the original colors. Today it takes roughly six minutes per Peep, and they come in a rainbow of hues and even specialty flavors like Chocolate Mousse, Blue Raspberry and Party Cake.
Once you’ve rounded up your favorite Peeps, the possibilities are endless. Peep dioramas never get old, but edible creations are our favorite. FoodNetwork.com contributor and Sprinkles! author Jackie Alpers was just the sweet-treat aficionado to come up with adorable and tasty new ways to showcase Peeps, starting with the Technicolor cake pictured above. For a showstopping centerpiece for this weekend’s Easter spread, just press sprinkles, jelly beans and a rainbow of Peeps into a freshly frosted layer cake. Read more
Face it: When you’re busy hunting down eggs, opening up your Easter basket and dyeing eggs, who has time to throw together a massive spread? After you pin down your master plan for your Easter ham or rack of lamb, feast your eyes on extra-easy side dishes that won’t consume your Easter Sunday.
Tossing high-impact ingredients like seasoned barley, lemon-marinated mushrooms and roasted asparagus together brings on a multi-textured, elegant Mushroom, Barley and Roasted Asparagus Salad (pictured above) with only 20 minutes of active prep. Plus, while you leave the asparagus to roast in the oven, you’re free to get to work on your other dishes.
Here at FoodNetwork.com, we staffers don’t have to look far to find dozens of tempting recipes for the upcoming spring holidays, Easter and Passover. But we also get how hard it can be to narrow down the many options and decide what to serve at your own holiday table or bring to a friend or relative’s. So much pressure, especially when you’re the “food person” in the family! To help, here are personal Easter and Passover picks from our staff – the recipes we’re most excited about making and eating this weekend. They may just inspire you to start a new family tradition.
Don’t think you’re getting out of this one. Even if it doesn’t feel like it in your neck of the woods, spring is officially here, and that means it’s time for some old-fashioned spring cleaning. Before we even get into deep-cleaning the floors, the shower or — dare we say — that closet of yours, you should be getting your kitchen ready for the season ahead. Tackle your fridge, pantry and freezer head-on by addressing common bought-and-forgotten foods. Instead of straight-up tossing them, put these ingredients to use in fam-favorite recipes (if they haven’t gone past their expiration dates).
1. For the bottle of chocolate syrup you bought that one night you were craving chocolate milk
Let’s take a wild guess: The big brown bottle has been sitting in your fridge door for months, heavy as ever, with no chance of being used any time soon. Think of Ina Garten’s Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes (pictured above) as a delicious way to fix that. It calls for 16 ounces of chocolate syrup, meaning you’ll likely use the whole bottle up by making her decadently chocolatey, coffee-spiked recipe.
We moved into a new house last weekend. While it was only a few blocks away from our old house, the logistics were deceptively still monumental. The upside of moving, however, is that you purge, if only to save yourself from having to tape up, carry and unpack yet another box. So, in the spirit of celebrating spring (and because this is all so very fresh in my mind with our move), I’m sharing with you exactly how I do my favorite kind of spring cleaning: Clear the Pantry Week.
First, I should admit up front that I don’t love to clean in general. When friends say they find it soothing or relaxing, it only makes me wonder if they’ve never been to a spa. So let that shed a little bit of light onto my loose use of the term “favorite” when I’m describing any cleaning task. But stay with me here, because Clear the Pantry is a fun game, and I don’t mean that in the same way I try to talk my daughters into making their beds every morning by singing our way through the steps. I actually like Clear the Pantry (CTP) Week. And, unlike lots of spring cleaning tasks, CTP will actually save you cash immediately, which is the same thing as making money, except better because the saving is after-tax.
CTP, at its simplest, is a commitment to shop from our own pantries instead of the store, which reduces clutter and improves inventory rotation and cash flow. We’ll have fun, your pantry and fridge and freezer will be clean, and you’ll have some extra cash in your pocket. Ready?
How to CTP in 6 Easy Steps: