Three simple recipes to ring in spring

shutterstock_76726519Spring has sprung, and with it comes the first of the season’s much-anticipated fresh produce, including peas, asparagus, mushrooms, baby lettuce, and more.

However, if you happen to live in a part of Canada where winter’s chill is still lingering, the below transitional recipes borrow the best ingredients from both seasons for tasty dishes to ring in spring.

Butter leaf and citrus salad

Don’t let its name fool you. This salad is dairy-free, and pairs citrus with delicate lettuce to be simply delicious. To prepare the salad, tear the leaves off two heads of butter lettuce into large pieces and set aside. Toast a half cup shelled and chopped pistachios, and mix the nuts into the lettuce.

Peel, deseed and segment one navel orange and toss into the salad, reserving two tablespoons of its juice. For the salad dressing, mix the orange juice with half a cup Toffuti Sour Supreme and one teaspoon olive oil. Mix in finely chopped chives, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Fava Bean Purée

The vibrant green hue of this delicious spread definitely sets the tone for spring. Bring a pot of salted water to boil and add four cups of favas. Cook until bright green – about three minutes. Place the beans into an ice bath and drain. Peel the favas and discard their skins.

In a pan on medium heat, cook the favas in two tablespoons of olive oil until soft (about five minutes), and season with salt and pepper. Using a hand blender or food processor, puree the beans with half a teaspoon lemon juice. For a smoother spread, add more olive oil, and serve on sliced bread or crackers with ribbons of fresh mint.

Pasta Primavera

Aptly named (primavera means “spring” in Italian), this dish combines your favourite seasonal veggies with pasta. Blanch bite-sized pieces of asparagus, peas, and soy beans in salted boiling water. In a large pan, heat olive oil and add the veggies, crushed garlic, and baby spinach. Stir until spinach is wilted.

Mix in cooked pasta, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Garnish the dish with lemon zest, toasted and crushed hazelnuts, and a handful of freshly chopped spring herbs, including basil, mint and parsley.