I don’t know about you, but one of my very favorite things about springtime is the array of fresh, seasonal produce that it brings. There’s nothing quite like taking a leisurely stroll through a local farmer’s market, absorbing the bright colors and mouthwatering scents of spring. Here are some of my new favorite springtime recipes; each beautifully showcases the season’s freshest ingredients:

Fava and Ricotta Crostini, Crumb
7137621389_7983759b9bPerfect for a springtime dinner party or casual get-together, this recipe is a bit time-intensive – but totally worth it. What makes it take a while to throw together is the prep, which involves extracting the fresh fava beans from their shells. (I have never seen fava beans sold already shelled, but I suppose it’s possible…?) Once you’ve done that, simply blanch the beans and mix with a few other simple ingredients – then spread over toasted bread smeared with ricotta. The full recipe is here.

Roasted Artichokes with Basil Pistachio Pesto, Fork & Flower
roasted artichokes with pistacchiosI personally love artichokes – but it took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out how to properly prepare them! Along with simply steamed and served alongside a garlicky dipping sauce, I also enjoy them prepared like this: Halved, roasted, and stuffed with a generous spoonful of fresh pesto. The one featured in this recipe uses pistachios instead of the traditional pine nuts, and it is absolutely delicious.

Asparagus Risotto Verde, Familystyle Food
bb0b96cc-9ca4-4db8-b352-180b39aeac41_zpsce6c792eNothing screams “springtime” quite like asparagus – and this beautiful green risotto makes full use of the seasonal veggie. If you’ve never made risotto before and are daunted by the lengthy cooking time, don’t worry – It’s actually not nearly as difficult to prepare as it may seem. This recipe offers a wonderful introduction to the art of risotto – and it even includes a special trick to keeping the asparagus bright green after being cooked.

Watermelon Radish and Carrots with Sesame Vinaigrette, Living Nutrition
watermelonradishsaladWhile I do adore “spring green,” not every seasonal recipe has to fall within that color palette! This eye-catching radish and carrot salad proves the point. It highlights the pretty pink hue of the aptly-named watermelon radish as well as orange carrots, which are especially flavorful in the spring. The Asian-style dressing adds extra flavor to the refreshing salad; it would be great served as an appetizer or alongside fresh fish – or even sushi!

Orecchiette with Peas, Pancetta and Pea Shoots, TasteFood
peas-pasta-tfHave you ever cooked with pea shoots (also called pea tendrils) before? No? Well, then you’re missing out! Like the tender fava bean, pea shoots have a very distinct – and very short! – season. In early spring, you can typically find them in Asian markets or farmers markets. If you do happen to come across the delicate shoots, I recommend you snatch them up – and try them in a dish like this lovely springtime pasta, which includes complementary ingredients like fresh mint and savory pancetta.

Roasted Strawberry Yogurt Parfaits, Spoonful
roasted strawberry parfait_420… And now, what’s a springtime feast without something sweet? Strawberries are the quintessential springtime fruit – and while they’re lovely fresh and raw, roasting them creates yet another layer of sweet flavor. This roasted strawberry parfait can be eaten for breakfast or (if you want to swap out the Greek yogurt with frozen yogurt or vanilla bean ice cream!) as a light but decadent dessert. The full recipe can be found over here.

Of course, we’d love to hear back from all of our readers as well! What seasonal ingredients are you currently eyeing (or waiting for) this spring – and what are you hoping to do with them? Got any favorite recipes? If so, please share! Drop us a line in the “comments” section below and you’ll be automatically entered to win a free gift from MyChelle!*

* Sorry – Free gifts are only available within the continental U.S.

By Liana Orenstein