With longer days and slightly warmer weather, there is some fun produce to pick up at the markets in April. Freshen up after winter with lots of healthy greens and unusual flavors available from April fruits and vegetables.
If you go to a farmer’s market during April, you might hear the farmers sigh about how there just are not that many things in season. It’s before the spring crops really get going, but the stores of fall produce have started to run out. But if you know where to look, there are plenty of tasty vegetables to prepare in the kitchen.
April is a great time to explore all the options available in the leafy and green category. There are so many more options than you think! Spring is when all the lettuces really get going in the markets, but you can also find lots of interesting things like microgreens, mustards, and arugula. Get creative with your lunch wraps or salads and use nutrient rich spinach as a switch from the usuals.
And speaking of salads and wraps, there are plenty of tasty things to add to them besides spring greens. Avocados are starting to show up at the farmer’s markets and they make everything better. You can also add fresh peas, peppery radishes, or even some blanched asparagus for a classy and flavorful meal that will get you excited for spring.
There are all kinds of special treasures in April, like artichokes. As the early, unopened blossoms of the plant, they are prepared and eaten very differently than most vegetables. Steam or roast the whole artichoke to eat the leaves or carve out the hearts to be pickled or added to all kinds of dishes.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any fresh artichoke recipes on the blog (only canned ones) but I definitely plan to cook something with this interesting plant this spring! Meanwhile, check out some amazing recipes from other food bloggers.
MORE AWESOME ARTICHOKE RECIPES:
- Garlic Roasted Artichokes with Pesto Dipping Sauce by The Food Charlatan
- The Most Amazing Roasted Artichokes by Gimme Some Oven
- Italian Stuffed Artichokes by The Lemon Bowl
Ranging from mildly spicy and peppery to a little bit bitter when more mature, arugula can be used raw or cooked. In general, the younger and more tender baby arugula is best for salads or adding to wraps, while mature leaves work well cooked into pasta dishes or braised with other greens.
YUMMY ADDICTION ARUGULA RECIPES:
MORE AWESOME ARUGULA RECIPES:
- Simple Lemon Arugula Spicy Penne by Fork in the Road
- Easy Arugula Pesto by Life as a Strawberry
- Roasted Broccoli Chickpea Arugula Salad by Peas and Crayons
Spring asparagus is tender and flavorful. The long spears are great lightly cooked through blanching and garnished with a flavorful sauce. Or add them to pasta or grain dishes to incorporate all the healthy nutrients of fresh asparagus. You can even grill it for a fun take that is a great accompaniment to meats.
YUMMY ADDICTION ASPARAGUS RECIPES:
MORE AWESOME ASPARAGUS RECIPES:
- Garlic Parmesan Roasted Asparagus by Belle of the Kitchen
- Asparagus Caprese Salad with Basil Gremolata by Aberdeen’s Kitchen
- Healthy Asparagus Soup by Clean & Delicious
One of the richest plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids, avocados are healthy and tasty. The healthy fats bring a creaminess to anything you make with them. Avocados can be baked and stuffed, eaten in rich spreads, or added raw to any number of salads and dishes to serve during the first months of spring.
YUMMY ADDICTION AVOCADO RECIPES:
MORE AWESOME AVOCADO RECIPES:
- Mini Avocado & Hummus Quesadillas by Cookin Canuck
- Citrus Shrimp And Avocado Salad by Foodie Crush
- Chocolate Avocado Pie by Chocolate Covered Katie
Beyond the iconic tight florets of broccoli heads, spring also brings long-stemmed broccolini to the markets. Broccoli is incredibly versatile, and so is broccolini. Drizzle it with sauce when steamed or pan-seared, roast it, or even add it to pizza. This rich cruciferous vegetable is fabulous in just about anything.
YUMMY ADDICTION BROCCOLI RECIPES:
MORE AWESOME BROCCOLI RECIPES:
- Garlic Parmesan Roasted Broccoli by Easy Family Recipes
- Healthy Broccoli Potato Soup by My Vegan Minimalist
- No Mayo Broccoli Salad by Creme de la Crumb
Rich in vitamins, cabbage is a great vegetable to add some variety to your greens. Use cabbage shaved thinly as the base of an Asian-inspired salad or roast it in chunks with lots of sauce. You can even braise cabbage until it is tender and delicate for a delicious side.
YUMMY ADDICTION CABBAGE RECIPES:
MORE AWESOME CABBAGE RECIPES:
- Cabbage Soup by Carlsbad Cravings
- No Mayo Healthy Coleslaw by Ambitious Kitchen
- Garlic Butter Cabbage Noodles by Butter For All
Because it’s so low in carbs and quite meaty, cauliflower has become incredibly popular. You can grate it up into rice, mash it, roast it, or even cut it into thick slices and season them as steaks. There are a lot of things you can do with this versatile vegetable that is full of vitamins and micronutrients.
Check out my spicy Thai coconut cauliflower soup which is really delicious, creamy, and healthy. It’s all made in one pot and is ready in just 30 minutes!
MORE AWESOME CAULIFLOWER RECIPES:
- Garlic Butter Mashed Cauliflower by Healthy Fitness Meals
- Baked Cauliflower Mac and Cheese by Spend with Pennies
- Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Soup by Cookie and Kate
If you are feeling stumped about how to freshen up your meals when there isn’t a lot in season, try adding fresh herbs to your meals. Spring herbs, like parsley, dill, chives, mint, thyme, and rosemary can add bright flavors to comforting staples. You can even create alternative pestos to dress up pastas and homemade pizzas.
YUMMY ADDICTION HERB RECIPES:
MORE AWESOME HERB RECIPES:
- Easy 5-Minute Chimichurri Sauce by Happy Kitchen
- Lemon Mint Pesto by Becky’s Best Bites
- Baked Salmon with Parmesan Herb Crust by Add a Pinch
As a member of the onion family, leeks are wonderfully mild and lower in carbs. Leeks are fabulous paired with all the greens available in April. You can also braise or roast leeks on their own for a tasty side dish that is perfect to serve with all kinds of meats or even alongside a salad.
YUMMY ADDICTION LEEK RECIPES:
MORE AWESOME LEEK RECIPES:
- Healthy Potato Leek Soup by Well Plated
- Creamy Mushroom and Leek Chicken Breasts by Foodie Crush
- Parmesan Roasted Leeks by Spend with Pennies
Since it is finally starting to warm up, making lots of salads is a great way to celebrate spring. Definitely be on the lookout for pretty baby gem lettuces or rich butter lettuce. Another great way to enjoy lettuce is in the form of lettuce cups – fill them with all kinds of meats, grains, vegetables, and sauces for a tasty snack.
YUMMY ADDICTION LETTUCE RECIPES:
MORE AWESOME LETTUCE RECIPES:
- Healthy Chicken Lettuce Wraps by Erin Lives Whole
- The Best Green Salad Recipe by This Healthy Table
- Creamy Lettuce Soup by Brooklyn Farm Girl
You could also think of microgreens as the sprouts and shoots available in April. The early growth of all kinds of vegetables – radish, mustards, cabbage, beets – are edible and delicious. You can even eat the young, tender tendrils of peas. Add a mix of microgreens to wraps, liven up a salad, or top your main dish with a sprinkle.
YUMMY ADDICTION MICROGREEN RECIPES:
MORE AWESOME MICROGREEN RECIPES:
- Smoked Salmon, Avocado, and Arugula Salad by Downshiftology
- Bean Sprout Stir Fry by Omnivore’s Cookbook
- Pea Shoot Salad with Pine Nuts & Manchego by Umami Girl
Fresh and tender, peas of all varieties really get going in April. From snap peas and snow peas which are edible whole, to English pod peas that need shucking, there are plenty of options out there. When young and tender, peas are at their sweetest and are perfect for snacking on raw or adding to all kinds of dishes.
Unfortunately, I still don’t have a proper recipe with fresh peas on the blog. I used frozen ones multiple times but never fresh from the farmers’ market. Hopefully, I will this spring! Meanwhile, check out these delicious creations from other food bloggers!
MORE AWESOME PEA RECIPES:
- Spring Potato Salad with Asparagus and Peas by Crowded Kitchen
- Sesame Ginger Snap Peas by Spend with Pennies
- 5-Ingredient Vegan Pea Soup by Vibrant Plate
Believe it or not, tropical fruits do have a season. Pineapples are at their best in spring, no matter where they are grown. When used in recipes, they provide a wonderful pop of acidity and sweetness to smoothies or fruit salads and can even be paired with meats for a delicious combination.
YUMMY ADDICTION PINEAPPLE RECIPES:
MORE AWESOME PINEAPPLE RECIPES:
- Pineapple Chicken Skillet by Paleo Grubs
- Strawberry Pineapple Salsa by The Stay at Home Chef
- Pineapple Cucumber Salad by Immaculate Bites
Ranging from small and pepper to large and crisp, there are plenty of radishes starting to come into the markets in April. Radishes aren’t just for salads, they can be roasted or sauteed to bring out their natural sweetness or pickled to add as an exciting pop of flavor to lots of dishes.
YUMMY ADDICTION RADISH RECIPES:
MORE AWESOME RADISH RECIPES:
- Garlic Roasted Radishes by The Real Food Dietitians
- Radish Chips by Kimspired DIY
- Radish Salad with Radish Top Pesto by Love & Lemons
Looking a bit like red celery, tart rhubarb is a special addition to spring flavors. As one of those things that you can only get a certain time of year, it is a delicious addition to spring desserts and dishes. Because it has no sweetness of its own, rhubarb is great for those that like low sugar desserts.
YUMMY ADDICTION RHUBARB RECIPES:
MORE AWESOME RHUBARB RECIPES:
- Honey Roasted Rhubarb Power Greens Salad by Cotter Crunch
- Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp by Life Made Sweeter
- Strawberry Rhubarb Oatmeal by Running on Real Food
Some of the earliest fresh onions to reach the markets, scallions are sharp and perfect for garnishing heavy meals or in light dishes where their flavor can shine through. Use just the white and light green portions, cut very finely, for the best flavor and texture.
YUMMY ADDICTION SCALLION RECIPES:
MORE AWESOME SCALLION RECIPES:
- Chinese Scallion Pancakes by What to Cook Today
- Shanghai Scallion Oil Noodles by The Woks of Life
- Sticky Ginger Scallion Meatballs by All the Healthy Things
Rich in iron and antioxidants, spinach is often referred to as a superfood. When young and tender, the leaves are great to eat raw in salads or wraps, being higher in nutrients than most lettuces. Older spinach leaves are great cooked into all kinds of pastas, casseroles, or even make spanakopita and other pies rich in greens.
YUMMY ADDICTION SPINACH RECIPES:
MORE AWESOME SPINACH RECIPES:
- Summer Strawberry Spinach Salad with Avocado by Ambitious Kitchen
- Perfect Sauteed Spinach by A Couple Cooks
- Greek Spinach Pie by Cooking the Globe
April has a lot of opportunities to try different kinds of greens. You can prepare lovely tender salads with watercress and mustard greens. Or braise a mixture of collards and chicories like radicchio. There are a lot of options once to start looking into all the meal possibilities that fresh greens bring.
YUMMY ADDICTION SPRING GREEN RECIPES:
MORE AWESOME SPRING GREEN RECIPES: