By Food Contributor Hamish McLaren
Vegan dishes can be just as varied and exciting as a regular omnivore diet. The key is to try new things and be open to new flavors. Spring is the perfect time to change up your recipe book because fun, fresh produce will start pouring into the farmer’s markets and stores. Tender, delicate spring fruits and vegetables like lettuces, strawberries, leeks, and ramps are all excellent additions to vegan cooking. These delicate spring flavors won’t be overpowered by meat, and when you use a vegan recipe, these ingredients will shine. Here are seven great vegan recipes to try this spring.
1. Spring Carrot, Radish, and Quinoa Salad with Herbed Avocado (top image)
This colorful Spring Carrot, Radish, and Quinoa Salad with Herbed Avocado by Cookie and Kate is a lovely vehicle for spring radishes. The peppery bite of the radish blends perfectly with the sweet carrot and buttery avocado in the salad. Combining these delicate raw vegetables with cooked quinoa produces a more filling salad, and combining the grains with the vegetables and greens creates the perfect meal for a cool spring day. The grains are a hearty hold over from winter, while the greens and radishes highlight spring’s coming goodies.
2. Strawberry and Lemon Tarts
These Strawberry and Lemon Tarts by Rainbow Nourishments use seeds instead of nuts or traditional flour for the tart crust. This technique gives the crust a great bite, and it’s always nice to have a few nut-free and vegan recipes in your pocket. The tarts feature beautiful strawberries on top, and this recipe would make a wonderful addition to a spring party like a baby shower, a graduation party, or a wedding shower.
3. Easy Vegan Garlic Scape Pesto
This Vegan Garlic Scape Pesto by Oh She Glows is the perfect spring condiment for pasta, sandwiches or cold salads. Garlic scapes are the top part of the garlic plant, much like the top shoot of a young onion. Like green onions, garlic scapes have a more mild flavor than the garlic bulb itself. This recipe combines a vegan parmesan “cheese” along with olive oil and traditional pesto ingredients to create a mild, nutty pesto that is perfect for showcasing the garlic scapes. Scapes aren’t in season very long, so make sure you whip this up while you can!
4. Vietnamese Spring Rolls
What could be more seasonally appropriate than these tasty Vietnamese Spring Rolls? These rolls (by Simple Vegan Blog) are a great appetizer, and they showcase several lovely spring vegetables like carrots, cabbage, and greens nicely. They are also very easy to make, and they also travel well. Try packing a picnic lunch with these spring rolls and some sauces to make a fun spring outing. Peanut sauce, plain soy sauce or tamarind sauce all pair well with these tasty and simple Vietnamese spring rolls.
5. Cocoa Coconut Mint Smoothie
Sometimes being vegan means missing out on certain tastes from your childhood but not with this Cocoa Coconut Mint Smoothie from An Unrefined Vegan. If you’ve ever drooled over the memory of that neon green Shamrock Shake a certain clown panders, then this is the St. Patrick’s Day treat for you. It doesn’t have that green glow, but it has a terrific minty flavor that won’t make you regret going vegan for one second. This smoothie is packed with vitamins and healthy fats from the coconut. It’s a great treat to prepare in big batches. Try it frozen!
6. 5 Ingredient Warm Artichoke Dip
This fresh and easy 5 Ingredient Warm Artichoke Dip from Delightful Vegans really highlights fresh, spring artichokes. This vegan version won’t weigh you down with heavy cream and cheeses like a non-vegan artichoke dip. Instead, the artichokes are blended with cashews and a little bit of nutritional yeast to give it a cheesy flavor. This dip is a great dinner party starter. It’s also much easier to serve to a crowd than individually roasted artichokes, which can be cumbersome to prepare in large quantities. We bet that most guests won’t even realize it’s vegan.
7. Orange Roasted Asparagus
The Tomato Tart’s Orange Roasted Asparagus is the perfect recipe to emphasize the tender stalks of spring asparagus. The orange flavor is a delicate compliment to the crisp asparagus. This recipe is simple and an easy side dish to compliment any meal. While asparagus is available year-round, fresh spring asparagus is a real treat to the taste buds. If you’ve never had very fresh asparagus, then run out to your local farmers’ market and get some this spring.
We hope these seven vegan recipes have inspired you to try all that spring has to offer. Fresh spring produce is a delicious addition to any diet. However, once you go vegan, these items take on a new zest and depth of flavor. Don’t be afraid to try new produce when you see it in season because that is the best way to experience the real flavor of the food!
A longtime vegan and advocate for veganism, Hamish regularly shares his favorite recipes on his website, Hamish McLaren’s Vegan Recipes.