5 spring flavours to add to your cooking
Warm sunshine, rain showers, wet earth, and sweet-smelling flowers inspire these versatile spring flavours. Celebrate the arrival of spring and its bounty of unique flavours using all your favourite ZeroPointTM seasonal foods; springtime has never tasted this good!
April showers promise to bring May flowers, but they also introduce the heady aroma of wet earth, rich with the beginnings of new life. Mushrooms, beets, and lentil are all foods with overtly earthy flavour profiles. Tangy dressings and peppery greens are perfect for complementing earthy foods without overpowering.
- Top homemade pizzas with thinly sliced cremini or shiitake mushrooms (fresh or hydrated from dried) and chevre. Once the pizza has cooked, add a handful or two of arugula and, for a special treat, freshly shaved truffles or a drizzle of truffle-infused honey.
- Make a composed beet and lentil salad using thinly sliced baby beets, pickled red onions, crumbled feta cheese, fresh mint, and a zippy orange juice-based dressing.
Foods that have a buttery flavour and texture are welcome additions to any spring meal; think soft-boiled eggs, steamed new potatoes, and poached salmon. Buttery-tasting foods are very much about mouthfeel when pairing them with other ingredients; herbaceous, peppery, and tangy flavours will elevate without detracting from creamy textures.
- Elevate soft-boiled eggs and toast soldiers into an elegant breakfast or appetizer by substituting lightly steamed asparagus spears for the bread (a great ZeroPoint foods substitute).
- Make a springtime potato salad using steamed and halved new potatoes, finely diced celery and a dressing made from plain fat free Greek yogurt, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and chopped fresh herbs.
- Serve poached salmon with steamed green beans and a big green salad (look for seasonal baby greens at your local farmer’s market or grocery store.)
There’s nothing quite as sweet as the first few real days of warm spring weather. Recreate some of that sweetness in the kitchen with sugar snap peas, baby carrots and edible spring flowers. Use care when pairing delicately sweet ingredients with other foods as their subtle flavour is easily overwhelmed. If possible, let sweetly flavoured foods be the star of the meal and enjoy as close to their natural state as possible.
- Make a gorgeous spring salad with freshly shelled sugar snap peas, mint, a couple of finely chopped radishes, and a dressing made from creme fraiche, honey, and apple cider vinegar. Although the task of de-shelling sugar snap peas is slow going it’s essential for this recipe’s success; the longer sugar snap peas sit after being shelled the starchier they become.
- Edible violets can be candied and added to desserts or used as-is in salads as a subtly sweet addition. Always use edible flowers grown for this specific purpose in order to avoid accidental herbicide and pesticide consumption.
After a long, snow-filled winter it’s often spring’s greenery that is most welcomed once the warm weather hits. Herbaceous flavours can be astringent or gently sweet; asparagus, mint, dill, and green beans are all in-season examples of this difficult to define flavour. Notoriously difficult to pair with food or wine, herbaceous flavours shine brightest when paired with citrus fruits, toasted nuts, and buttery foods.
- Get in the habit of using fresh herbs such as mint, dill, cilantro, basil, and parsley when cooking if you aren’t already. You’ll be surprised at how little you need to use to make a big impact on a mundane meal.
- Toss steamed asparagus and green beans in a small amount of walnut oil, kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Top with toasted walnut pieces and a spritz of lemon juice before serving.
If you appreciate a hint of peppery flavour you’ll love what seasonal spring produce has in store for you. Unlike spicy peppers and hot mustards, the heat found in radishes, arugula, and bitter Asian greens is less intense and doesn’t linger for an uncomfortable length of time (plus, there’s no need to scrub your hands of chili oil after you’re done the prep work.) Peppery foods marry well with most other spring flavours, even sweet ingredients can benefit from a restrained peppery boost.
- Incredibly simple to make, roasted radishes are creamier and milder in flavour than their raw counterparts. Simply toss whole or halved radishes with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Roast the radishes in a hot oven for 20 to 30 minutes and top with plenty of chopped fresh mint and parsley before serving.