Celebrate Spring Veggies With These 5 Side Dishes


Last Saturday marked the beginning of spring– finally. In celebration of the new season, why not host a dinner party to welcome in the sunshine, chirping birds, greenery, and, of course, your new spring wardrobe? Impress your guests with a menu incorporating in-season veggies like peas, asparagus, avocado (okay, we know it’s technically a fruit), zucchini, and watercress. Here are 5 easy side dishes that put these vegetables to good use and will complement any meal.

1. Asaparagus: Roasted Asparagus Wrapped in Prosciutto (above)


  • 1 pound asparagus (about 19 stalks), trimmed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 to 8 paper-thin slices prosciutto, halved lengthwise


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Snap the dry stem ends off of each asparagus and place on a heavy baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss. Roast until the asparagus is tender, about 15 minutes. Cool completely.

Wrap each asparagus with 1 piece (about 1/2 a slice) of prosciutto, exposing tips. Arrange on a platter and serve at room temperature.


2. Peas: Mint and Pea Hummus with Pita Bread
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  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 small leeks, thoroughly washed and chopped, green parts removed
  • 4 cups shelled peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 3/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp chopped mint
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 6 pitas, cut into wedges and toasted


In a large sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add leeks, cover, and cook until tender, five to seven minutes. Add peas and cook uncovered eight minutes (five minutes if using frozen peas). Add broth and cook three more minutes.

Remove from heat, stir in tahini and mint, and spoon mixture into the bowl of a food processor. Process until fairly smooth. Add salt and pepper, seasoning with additional salt if desired. Place in a bowl and serve with toasted pita wedges.


3. Avocado: Avocado Boats
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  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 1 lemon
  • Hot sauce, several drops
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 2 small plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • Coarse salt


Cut into and all around the pit of each avocado, down to the pits. Twist the avocados and separate them. Whack the corner of your knife into each pit and remove it. Using a large spoon, scoop out each avocado half and arrange them on a plate. Dress the avocados with lemon juice, a few drops of hot sauce, and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Combine the tomatoes and scallions and season with salt. Fill the avocados with plum tomatoes and serve.


4. Zucchini: Roasted Zucchini Recipe
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  • 1 lb zucchini, each cut lengthwise twice, and then cut in half across the middle
  • 1 tbsp fresh minced garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp Herbes de Provence


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Make sure there is a rack on the top rack spot in the oven. Align the zucchini pieces on a cookie sheet, skin down. Mix the garlic in with the oil in a small bowl. Spoon or brush garlic oil over all of the zucchini pieces. Place in heated oven on the top rack. Set the timer for five minutes and check to see if the zucchini is beginning to brown at the end of five minutes. If not, continue to add two or three minutes at a time, until the zucchini begins to brown. Once it begins to brown, remove from oven and place in a bowl. Mix in Herbes de Provence. Add salt and pepper to taste.


5. Watercress: Beet Salad with Watercress Drizzle
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  • 4 medium beets, with root and about 1 inch of the green attached, if possible
  • 1/4 cup walnut pieces
  • 4 cup watercress, washed well and dried
  • 3 ounces reduced-fat soft goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup low fat buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Put the beets into a steamer basket over a large pot of boiling water. Cover and steam for about 45 minutes or until beets are tender. Drain and let cool until you can handle them. Cut the ends off of the beets and peel them (the peel should rub off easily with a little help from a paring knife here and there). Cut the beets into large dice.

Toast the walnuts in a dry saut pan over medium-high heat for three minutes or until fragrant, and set aside.

Put the watercress, goat cheese, buttermilk, vinegar and salt into a food processor and process until smooth and creamy.

Put the beets on a serving dish, drizzle the watercress sauce on top, and sprinkle with walnuts.


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