Spring Flavors Straight from the Farmers Market to Your Dinner Party

By Carolyn Stine April 30, 2019 

We bring the farmers market directly to the table at your next dinner party with this seasonally-driven menu that’s a cinch to whip up.

Excited is not quite the right word to describe how we felt ambling through the farmers market this past weekend in 70 degree sunshine. More like, Buddy the Elf on Christmas Eve levels of excitement, if we’re being honest with ourselves. Smiling was his favorite, and seasonal spring produce is most certainly our favorite.

Not only does spring signify momentous things such as drinking outside, having to shave our legs on the reg, and finally booking that summer trip, but getting to see and explore new flavors coming to life after a long winter is just so much (adult) fun. Some of the springtime staples that are coming to life at the farmers market right now are asparagus, green peas and pea tendrils, radishes, arugula, rhubarb, and spring onions, and honestly we’re not sure if we could pick a favorite from the bunch (yes, veggie pun intended). Which is why we’re bringing you all of these local, seasonal ingredients in the form of the perfect template for your next dinner party. Not only will this give you an excuse to shop the farmers market for all that is in season, but it is another chance to bring your crew of family and friends together to celebrate the weather getting warmer, and eat some pretty darn delicious food in the process. Read on for our quintessential guide to throwing a dinner party full of spring flavors straight from the farmers market.

Spring Farmers Market Flavor
Yossy Arefi for Bon Appetit

Appetizers

The way that you kick off the meal sets the tone for the remainder of the evening, and we could not imagine a better way to begin a spring dinner party than with an assortment of seasonal apps. Instead of going the “expected” route and featuring a platter of spring crudites (which you can certainly still do, no judgement here), we decided to scour the culinary world for the most unexpected and exciting ways to incorporate spring farmers market finds into your menu.

This dip of roasted rhubarb with dates and yogurt is from Alison Roman, one of our favorite cookbook authors of 2018 (check out Dining In here). The rhubarb is spiced with cinnamon and pairs perfectly with the cool yogurt, fresh orange zest, and pistachios. Try serving it with crunchy seeded crackers for dipping.

We also relish the idea of hanging onto the tail end of soup season, simply because this recipe is so darn good. This green garlic and pea soup is five ingredients only, and truly tastes like spring in a bowl. You finish it off by pureeing in your blender and then swirling it with a spoonful of fresh whipped cream.

Radishes with butter and sea salt is a classic French starter, but this recipe takes it to a whole new level of culinary delight. The homemade ham butter is decadently rich, and the pickled mustard seeds perfectly cut the spiciness of the radishes and the fattiness of the butter.

Gentl & Hyers for Bon Appetit

Main Courses

While fall and winter mains can often feel heavy and rich, leaving little room for other superstar dishes on the table, these spring entrees perfectly capture the season by feeling a bit more crisp and light.

Fresh fava beans, green peas, and pea shoots grant a burst of green brightness to gently poached salmon in this main course. The recipe also incorporate fresh artichokes and aromatic mint for the ultimate spring flavor bomb.

If pasta is more your style, try whipping up these light-as-a-cloud ricotta dumplings, which are paired with asparagus and green garlic. They feel lighter than a bowl of linguine, but are still incredibly satisfying.

If you’re not ready to let go of the red meat just yet, this braised pork shoulder with rhubarb and peas is the perfect way to spring-ify your main course offering. We could also see these three elements working incredibly well as the insides of a taco, if you’d prefer to do a DIY spring taco spread at your next dinner party. Just warm up some corn tortillas and you’re good to go.

Side Dishes

As much as we love an entree, we often find that some of the most surprising and exciting flavors come complements of what’s served on the side.

One of the most underrated and delightfully delicious veggies is, in our opinion, the humble onion. Spring onions come into season at precisely this time of year, and when simply roasted with fresh thyme, lemon zest, and toasted breadcrumbs, they will truly have your guests licking their plates.

No spring dinner party would be complete without the bright crispness of the asparagus. This version of an asparagus side dish has the stalks of the asparagus fried to perfection with a crispy panko crust, and is paired with brown butter potatoes and a light watercress salad.

Spring Farmers Market Flavors
Chelsea Kyle for Epicurious

Desserts

Now, we know that you know that it isn’t a dinner party without dessert. Keep the theme of spring seasonal staples going with desserts that are light and refreshing, which will feel consistent and cohesive with the rest of your menu.

Some of our absolute favorite flavors collide in this elegant rhubarb tart recipe. It has a cornmeal crust that feels hearty and has a delicious nuttiness to it, and the tart base is a citrus yogurt mousse that feels light as a feather. The clincher is the spiced rhubarb topping that’s perfect for spring.

There’s something about a silken custard that makes for the perfect sweet bite at the end of a meal. This one has a dairy-free coconut milk base, and the strawberry-rhubarb topping adds the most gorgeous pop of color. Crunchy pistachios serve as the perfect garnish.

Drinks

There are a few different ways that you can go with the complimentary beverage selection at your dinner party, and all will be wins with your carefully planned spring menu.

If having a custom cocktail is your speed, have you tried our custom Bashed cocktail, courtesy of the mixologists over at Muddling Memories? It’s a tequila-based cocktail with plenty of green notes to keep it feeling crisp and bright.

We’ve also been keeping tabs on the incredible selection of new canned beverages on the scene, and think it’s so much fun to have a big ice bath filled with a selection of these for guests. From sparkling French 75 cocktails to rosé to hemp-infused beverages, we rounded up all of our favorites in this guide for spring.

What’s your farmers market of choice, what are you buying, and where are you getting your spring recipe inspo from for your next dinner party? Share with us below!

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Carolyn Stine

A party without cake is just a meeting.

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