23 Spring Dinner Ideas

23 Spring Dinner Ideas

23 Spring Dinner Ideas

One of the best parts of spring is seasonal ingredients — peas, asparagus, leeks, radishes, and more — and we love incorporating them into dinners that ween us away from the heaviness of winter. Pair peak produce with your protein of choice: Think lamb shanks with bright spring herbs, steak and carrot tacos, chicken with fennel, and cod with lemony leeks. Some of these dishes are light and refreshing; others, hearty enough to keep you warm through the season’s temperamental weather. Here are some of our favorite spring dinner recipes.

Braised Lamb Shanks with Herb Salad

Dylan + Jeni / Food Styling by Brett Long / Prop Styling by Nidia Cueva

Braised lamb shanks are served with a fresh herb salad featuring pea tendrils, sugar snap peas, mint leaves, perilla (shiso) leaves, and nasturtium.

Quick Skillet-Roasted Chicken with Spring Vegetables

Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Christine Keely

Tender carrots, oyster mushrooms, radishes, and spring onions simmer in a mixture of chicken drippings and butter in this simple, 55-minute dish.

Roasted Honey-Dijon Salmon with Spring Vegetables

Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop styling by Audrey Davis

“Get the radishes, carrots, and shallots going while you work on the mustard glaze (which takes less than a minute!) and season the salmon, and then prep the asparagus and snap peas while the fish cooks,” says cookbook author Susan Spungen. “If you’re not used to roasting radishes — get used to it! They take on an entirely different character when roasted, becoming juicy and soft, not at all sharp like they are when raw.”

Chicken, Potatoes, and Leeks with Pine Nut Gremolata

Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Thom Driver

For the crispiest skin and most flavorful meat, roast bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and legs over a bed of leeks and potatoes, where they render fat and absorb flavor. A quick turn under the broiler imparts a golden finish to the chicken before they’re basted in pan juices and dressed with a zippy gremolata made from toasted pine nuts, garlic, and parsley.

Buttery Shrimp with Peas and Potatoes

Photo by Christopher Testani / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Kathleen Cook Varner

Creamy new potatoes add substance to this quick one-pan skillet dinner of tender shrimp, fresh shelling peas, and dill, which come together in a sweet and buttery broth laced with cream. 

Steak and Carrot Tacos

Greg DuPree

Here, small (not baby!) carrots are roasted with fragrant cumin seeds, then served in warm homemade tortillas with juicy, meaty skirt steak. For a vegetarian version, swap out the steak for roasted mixed mushrooms.

Cod with Lemony Leeks, Snap Peas, and Herbs

Victor Protasio

Food writer Colu Henry gives cod the treatment it deserves in this recipe, paired with flavorful leeks cooked in white wine and chicken broth, and crunchy snap peas for the finishing touch.

Mafaldine with Pea Shoot—Meyer Lemon Pesto

Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Thom Driver

Fresh pea shoots, parsley, and dill make a verdant pesto balanced with salty ricotta salata cheese and nutty roasted sunflower seed kernels. The bright sauce clings beautifully to ruffled mafaldine pasta, but any textured pasta shape will work well. 

Brothy Braised Chicken Thighs with Fennel and Pernod

Antonis Achilleos

Here, bone-in chicken thighs are browned then braised with fennel, leeks, and a bit of Pernod, which intensify the snappy licorice-ness of the fennel. After braising the chicken thighs, the whole dish is finished with a shower of fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon for brightness. A hunk of good, crusty bread for sopping is all you need to round out this meal.

Spring Puttanesca Pasta

Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Christina Daley

Justin Chapple serves a fresh, seasonal take on traditional puttanesca pasta sauce, adding fresh chiles, spring onions, green olives, and arugula in this 30-minute recipe.

Braised Sausage and Fennel with Toasted Spices

Greg DuPree

With whole pink peppercorns and fennel seeds, this simple braise is gently perfumed and aromatic with fresh spring flavors inspired by the braised fennel at Red Hook Tavern in Brooklyn, from chef Allison Plumer. Use a fresh, spicy sausage here to complement the creamy bean puree and sweet fennel.

Spring Vegetable Paella

Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Ruth Blackburn / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

The mushrooms, asparagus, spinach and peas in this paella make it especially appropriate for a spring dinner party.

Seared Lamb Chops with Seared Endive, Asparagus, and Tahini Dressing

Antonis Achilleos

Cookbook author Klancy Miller rounds out this springtime dish with more spring produce — seared endives and asparagus — and a fresh mint garnish.

Crispy Chicken Thighs with Spice-Roasted Radishes

Victor Protasio

Seasonal radishes shine in this recipe, roasted with chicken thighs and served over fresh arugula. The best part? There’s only six ingredients, and the whole thing comes together in 45 minutes.

Palak “Paneer” with Pressed Fresh Ricotta

Photo by Christopher Testani / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Kathleen Cook Varner

A little extra hands-off pressing time firms up fresh ricotta into a block that can be cut into paneer-like cheese. Fried in ghee, the crispy, cheesy cubes transform into cheese croutons and are a perfect pair for the warm puree of chile and ginger-spiked spinach and cilantro. 

Crispy Grilled Lamb Pitas with Radish-Watercress Salad

Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop styling by Audrey Davis

The robust, fatty lamb here needs a fresh, zippy counterpoint, so it’s served with a salad featuring three types of radishes: watermelon radishes for their gorgeous magenta hue, green daikon for softer color but more pungent bite, and cherry radishes for their crisp, juicy texture. This trio gets tangled in a pile of also-peppery watercress and dressed with the simplest combo of lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Chicken with Tarragon and Morels

Alison Miksch

Dried morels get a quick soak in hot water, which renders a super-flavorful broth that adds another layer of richness to the cream sauce. It’s classic, comforting, and just as good, if not better, than a warm hug on a cold day.

Butter-Basted Scallops with Spring Greens and Snap Peas

Jennifer Causey

Crisp-tender snap peas, spinach, and dandelion greens finish in the same pan as seared sea scallops for a truly springy, excellent main dish.

Pasta with Asparagus and Mushrooms

Jennifer Causey

Allowing the pasta dough to rise (just like a bread dough) before rolling and shaping gives the cecamariti in this dish its characteristic texture and flavor.

Salt-Cured Duck Breasts with Fava Beans and Sweet Peas

© Chris Court

Chef Anne Quatrano has a simple trick for making these duck breasts juicy and flavorful: Just a few hours before pan-roasting, she rubs them with a fresh herb and salt mix, which lightly cures the meat.

Garganelli with Speck, Peas, and Scallion Cream

Victor Protasio

Sweet spring peas and garlicky sauce flood tubular garganelli pasta in this recipe, making each bite a surprise. Substitute penne if you can’t find garganelli, and don’t skip the lemon and mint at the end, which bring balance to the dish.

Chicken Tagine with Artichoke Hearts and Peas

© Tina Rupp

A spiced broth adds layers of flavor in this tagine recipe from the late, legendary chef Joël Robuchon. Artichoke hearts bring a lovely spring element to the dish.

Snapper Zarandeado with Cal-Mex Spring Salad

© Con Poulos

Guajillo chiles and soy sauce in the mayonnaise rub create a great spicy, extra-savory crust on this fish. Serve the snapper Cal-Mex-style with a grilled spring vegetable salad.