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an omelet filled with veggies

If you’re anything like me, at the first sign of spring, you eagerly ditch your puffer jacket and snow boots and run straight to the farmers’ market. With reusable bags in hand, it’s finally time to stock up on the fresh, vibrant produce grown closer to home.

Leafy greens and zippy herbs are a welcome change from the heavy comfort meals you’ve had on repeat since November. Maybe you get a little overzealous, and suddenly your fridge is overflowing with tasty (but highly perishable) veggies and fruits.

Don’t let your fresh produce start composting before you get a chance to eat it. Instead, dig into these recipes.

Each one is designed with a new kind of spring-cleaning in mind: clearing out that crisper drawer. These flexible recipes leave room for adaptations, so you can use up what you have before anything meets the sad fate of your compost bin.

Creamy Polenta Bowl

Trade spring veggies for blistered tomatoes, summer squash, and yellow onions when the seasons change.

creamy polenta bowl

Yields 4 servings | Prep time 15 minutes | Cook time 30 minutes

Roasted Vegetables

  • 5 large carrots, cut into sticks
  • 5 medium radishes, quartered
  • 2 leeks, sliced into 1-inch disks
  • 2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. sea salt, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

Polenta

  • 4 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 1 cup medium-grind cornmeal
  • 1 tsp. sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 3 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 4 poached eggs, optional
  • 4 slices crumbled bacon, optional

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Place the vegetables in a large bowl and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread in a single layer on a large baking sheet and roast until fork tender and lightly browned, about 25 minutes.
  3. Bring vegetable broth or water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Slowly add the cornmeal, whisking continuously to avoid clumping. Add salt and black pepper and whisk to combine.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until polenta is creamy and thickened, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add olive oil, parsley, and basil, and stir to incorporate, then remove from heat.
  5. Portion polenta into four bowls, then top with veggies and optional poached eggs and bacon, and serve.

Spring Salad With Herb Dressing

Customize this zippy dressing with any combination of fresh, tender herbs like cilantro, dill, mint, or the fronds from your fennel bulb.

a plate of spring salad with herb dressing

Yields 5 servings | Prep time 20 minutes | Cook time 0 minutes 

Salad

  • 1 large fennel bulb, diced
  • 4 medium radishes, sliced
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas, chopped
  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted and salted

Dressing

  • 3 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 large lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 2 tbs. minced chives
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup plain, full-fat Greek yogurt

Directions

  1. Place the veggies and pine nuts in a large mixing bowl and toss to mix.
  2. Add olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, basil, chives, garlic, salt, and pepper to a blender and blend into a paste. Stir in Greek yogurt to form a smooth and creamy dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
  3. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss until everything is evenly coated. Serve.

Sautéed Veggie Omelet

When spring turns to summer, swap the asparagus, mushrooms, shallots, and spinach for corn, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes.

a plate with a veggie omelet

Yields 1 serving | Prep time 10 minutes | Cook time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs. butter, ghee, or coconut oil, divided
  • 5 spears asparagus, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 tbs. finely diced shallot
  • 1/3 cup sliced button mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup spinach or leafy green of choice
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 oz. crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 tbs. finely chopped chives

Directions

  1. Place a medium skillet over medium heat for 30 seconds, then add 1 tablespoon of butter. When the butter is melted, add asparagus and cook, stirring frequently, until it brightens in color and begins to soften, about two to three minutes. Add shallots and mushrooms and cook until the shallots are translucent and the mushrooms are soft, about five minutes. Add spinach and cook just to wilt, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Place a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add remaining tablespoon of butter and allow it to melt. If the butter sizzles, your skillet is too hot — turn down the heat before proceeding.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk eggs together until streaks of the whites are no longer visible. Add the eggs to the skillet and stir with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper.
  4. Stir continuously and gently shake the skillet for the first minute or so to encourage the eggs to cook evenly; scrape any stuck eggs from the sides of the skillet to allow uncooked eggs to flow into open spaces. Stop stirring when the egg mixture is nearly cooked through.
  5. Once the bottom of the omelet is set and the edges look crispy, remove the skillet from the heat. Spoon the vegetable mixture and goat cheese onto one half of the omelet and use your spatula to gently fold the omelet in half, then slide it onto a plate. Serve garnished with fresh chives.

WEBEXTRA

Ratatouille

a cast iron skillet with ratatouille

Yields 8 servings | Prep time 35 minutes | Cook time 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 medium Sicilian eggplant, sliced into thin disks
  • 2 small summer squash, sliced into thin disks
  • 2 tsp. sea salt, divided, to taste
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 red or orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 lb. Roma tomatoes, sliced into thin disks
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place the eggplant and squash in a colander and sprinkle with about 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Set aside for 30 minutes to release excess moisture. Gently pat dry with a kitchen towel.
  3. Place a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Once the skillet is hot, add the onions, garlic, bell peppers, and half of the tomatoes. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft and lightly browned, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Place a separate skillet over medium heat. Once the skillet is hot, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add squash to the skillet, taking care not to overcrowd the surface. Cook on both sides for about three to four minutes each, or until lightly browned. Remove the squash and set aside.
  5. Repeat with the eggplant, cooking about two to three minutes per side. Remove the eggplant and set aside.
  6. Arrange the squash, eggplant, and remaining Roma tomatoes in a spiral over the top of the onions, peppers, and tomatoes in the cast-iron skillet.
  7. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining olive oil with the chopped basil, salt, and pepper, and pour evenly over the skillet. Cook in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened and stewed. If the mixture appears to be drying out during the cooking process, cover with a lid or aluminum foil. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

This article originally appeared as “Clear Out the Crisper” in the May 2021 issue of Experience Life.

Photography by: Andrea D’Agosto, Prop styling by: Alicia Buszczak, Food styling by: Paul Jackman
Maddie
Maddie Augustin

Maddie Augustin is a Minneapolis-based recipe developer.

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