These 30-Minute Dinners Are Just Right for Spring
It's time to put your slow-cooker in storage! These easy meals make the most of fast-cooking springtime produce and will help breathe new life into your weeknight dinner routine.
When spring arrives, everyone is ready to shrug off those protective winter layers and embrace the season of new beginnings. While this sentiment can apply to many aspects of life (including but not limited to closet organization), the focus here is what's new on our dinner plates. After enduring late-winter doldrums, there's just something especially exciting about cooking seasonally come springtime. A lot of what is on offer this time of year is of the green and delicate variety, such as fresh herbs like chives and cilantro, sugar snap peas, and asparagus, which stars with chicken sausage and cheesy grits in the fast dinner shown here. Perhaps another reason why we love seasonal spring recipes is that the influx of lighter, brighter things to eat not only matches the better weather, but our sunnier dispositions, too.
Why do we love quick dinners for spring? Now that the sun is shining and the sky is staying brighter, we all want to spend more time enjoying the good weather and less time feeling beholden to a long and fussy recipe. To ensure your meals come together without sacrificing on flavor or health, we're highlighting recipes that feature fast-cooking. Asparagus, which takes mere minutes to go from snappy to crisp-tender, is one prime example. There are also a few recipes that feature the heartier produce dug up in early spring, like buttery baby potatoes and sweet, earthy carrots—we've just found faster ways to prepare them, like through steaming or slicing them thinly before cooking.
It's time to spring into a fresh, new season, so press fast-forward with these recipe ideas that trade slow-and-low winter cooking for recipes that are quick, fiery, and take just 30 minutes or less to prepare. Whether you're in the mood for a stir-fry with beef and asparagus or want to try a one-pot penne with shrimp and feta, set your timer and have your dinner mates set the table because the food will be ready before you know it.
Inside-Out Pork Dumplings
Penne with Shrimp, Feta, and Spring Vegetables
The beauty of this recipe—besides the glorious spring produce—is that it all cooks entirely in one pot and is ready to serve in under 30 minutes.
Lemon-Ginger Chicken and Green Beans
Using just one or two flavor-packed ingredients can make a huge impact on a simple meal. Fresh ginger goes the extra mile in this easy weeknight dinner, infusing the poaching liquid for the chicken and being grated into a zippy dressing for the cucumber salad.
Steak and Asparagus Stir-Fry
This speedy stir-fry celebrates the new season of quick-cooking produce like snappy asparagus and tender scallion whites. Dress it up with fresh Thai chiles and crunchy peanuts and serve over a bed of fluffy rice for a dinner that's faster and fresher than takeout.
Miso Soup with Tofu, Spinach, and Carrots
Carrots and spinach are some of the earliest spring produces to be harvested, appearing in early March. They both go swimmingly in this main-meal version of miso soup. It's a perfect plant-based recipe for shoulder season, when a warming soup is still on the menu.
Curried-Lentil Salmon Salad
Spring Chicken Niçoise
Lamb Pita Pizzas
Spring lamb dishes are often reserved for special occasions like Easter, but in this quick 30-minute meal, ground lamb is put to work as the topping on pita pizza. Kids will love the personal-pan portion, and everyone will love the combination of lamb, hummus, and artichokes.
Scallops with Sautéed Watercress and Ginger
Late-spring greens like watercress can be eaten raw in a salad or flashed in the pan like they are in this simple weeknight meal. Scallops are a friend to the time-pressed cook—a hot pan and a few minutes are all that's needed. Serve this entrée with crusty bread to sop up the delicious pan juices.
Pad See Ew
Broccolini is the main vegetable in this famous dish from Thailand, and while available year-round, its peak season is from October through April. Long, leggy stalks and a mild flavor make it a perfect fit for blending into our take on this bold beef and noodle dish.
Steak and Potato Salad
Bridge the gap between heavier winter fare and lighter springtime eats with this playful salad that combines seared sirloin steak, roasted baby potatoes, and a mix of lettuces with shaved Parmesan. It's all topped with an easy lemon vinaigrette.
Pork Buns with Bok-Choy Slaw
After months of hardy winter herbs like thyme and rosemary, it's time to bring out the basil, mint, and cilantro! A smattering of herbs over this super-fast pork roll acts as a cooling counter to the spicy stir-fried meat.
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