Spring is officially here, and I couldn’t be happier. It’s the season I look forward to most as we anticipate the earth bursting with color when the trees and plants bloom. It’s the season of renewal. Cold and dreary weather gives way to warmth and brightness.
And just as the seasons change, our menus change as well. It’s a time to put away hearty comfort foods that warmed us through winter and brighten our tables with fresh fruits and vegetables.
This month, I’m sharing four of my most favorite recipes perfect for spring. They’ll awaken those taste buds and put a little freshness in your diet.
Bacon and Blue Broccoli Salad is one of my favorite recipes found in my cookbook, The Southern Bite. Bright broccoli perfectly complements sharp blue cheese and smoky bacon. I never bring home leftovers when I show up to a potluck with this dish. And I love the convenience of using little pouches of precooked, crumbled bacon when I don’t have time to cook bacon myself. Just be sure to grab the real stuff.
Then there’s Fresh Fruit Salad with Lime-Honey Dressing — the epitome of spring. Bright, fresh flavors and colors of the fruit are perfect for the season. Use your favorite fruits and berries since the dressing goes with just about anything. I recommend against ingredients that might turn brown when cut, like apples and bananas. Berries, grapes, melon and stone fruit all work well.
My Garlic Soy Cucumber Salad is a fun twist on the classic cucumber salad recipe. It has great garlicky, Asian flavor, and I love the crunch the peanuts add. Many cucumber salads are better after a little time in the refrigerator, but this salad isn’t one of them. It’s best served fresh. If you need a head start, slice your vegetables in advance, mix the dressing separately, and toss it together right before serving.
One of my most popular recipes is Tomato Cracker Salad. It’s ideal for meals when garden-fresh tomatoes are available. It’s simple, but it’s so delicious. I remember many spring and summer suppers where my mother served this super-easy side dish. If you love a tomato sandwich, chances are you’ll love this, too. Like the Garlic Soy Cucumber Salad, this dish needs to be made and served immediately. Letting it sit too long will make the crackers soggy, and while it’s still delicious, it’s much better with that crunch.