strawberry rhubarb crumbleNow that it's spring we're starting to see a trickle of fresh, new spring fruits and vegetables at the farmer's market. My local market ran through the winter mostly with cold-weather staples like apples and squash. And I'm sick of them! I'm so done with potatoes and butternut squash soup. Anyone else?

We're still a few months away from the full farmer's market bounty you get in the summer (except for you lucky people in warmer climates). Spring is more a time for planting than for harvesting. But this is still a fun time to check out what's new and cook with the little gifts of spring. Here are five meal ideas you can make with your kids.

1. Mixed microgreens salads. Lettuce, kale, and other greens are some of the first foods that pop up in the spring. They like cold weather! I think it's fun to gather little handfuls of several different kind of microgreens (smaller, younger version of plants) and toss them together with herbs like parsley. Your kids may have their favorite salad dressing, but a super easy dressing I like is just olive oil, honey, and lemon juice shaken together in a jam jar.

2. Roasted balsamic asparagus. Asparagus is kind of a funky vegetable. Most kids I know aren't into it, so this may be one of those dishes they take a little "no thank you" bite of just to build familiarity. But roasting mellows the asparagus to make it easier to take. Just wash stalks, toss with balsamic vinegar, and roast until tender. Then I'll grate long slices of Parmesan cheese over it all. The roasting and balsamic vinegar bring out the sweetness in the asparagus.

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3. Minty peas. My son learned how to shell peas as a toddler, and it's still one of my favorite chores to give him. Fresh peas are a real treat if you're used to frozen. After shelling, just boil until tender, drain, and toss with butter and chopped fresh mint leaves (not peppermint).

4. Steamed artichokes by the petal. Sure, we love a rich, creamy artichoke dip. But in the spring when artichokes begin their season, try something lighter and simpler. Steam whole artichokes (see directions for trimming artichokes) and melt some butter in little dishes. Then pull off a "petal" at a time, dip into the butter, and scrape off the "meat" with your teeth. You won't believe how sweet artichokes taste when combined with butter.

5. Strawberry rhubarb crumble. The two famous fruits of spring, strawberries and rhubarb! They were made for each other. This strawberry rhubarb crumble is another recipe simple enough to make with your kids.

What foods do you look forward to in the spring?

 

Image via Lori L. Stalteri/Flickr