Elizabeth Elizabeth is a divorced mother of two elementary-aged boys. She is a former English professor and lay minister who now manages the office and communications for a local church. When she's not working or writing, you'll usually find her cooking for her loved ones or hanging out at coffee shops and bookstores. Contact her by e-mailing her at Elizabeth@mumblingmommy.com.

Spring is a great time to feature veggies in your family meals. The first seasonal veggies start arriving soon: asparagus, artichokes, fresh peas, and new potatoes are always popular. But you should also try fava beans, leeks, fennel, and arugula. I’m sharing a few of our favorite fresh vegetables here.

Favorite Fresh Vegetables Receipes

Fresh Vegetables Asparagus Pizza

Spring might start on March 20, but it doesn’t really start in our house until we make our first asparagus pizza of the season. We discovered the original recipe for Spring Pizza in Eating Well a few years ago, but we’ve made a few changes along the way.

Note: This recipe works best with very thin or “pencil” asparagus stalks. Larger stalks will result in a more “raw” texture and will not be as roasted as the thin ones.

Yield: 4-5 main-dish servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes (more if you make your own dough)

Cook Time: 30 minutes (including time for preheating the pan)


¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp Italian herb blend

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1-1.5 lbs pizza dough, store-bought or homemade

12 oz. asparagus, trimmed

3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Parchment paper

1.   Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Tear off a large sheet of parchment that is the same length as your baking sheet. Put the baking sheet (without the parchment) into the oven and let it preheat at full temperature for at least 15 minutes while you prepare the pizza.

2.    Wash and trim the woody ends of the fresh vegetables: asparagus.

3.     Roll out the dough onto the parchment, shaping it into a rectangle that is about 1 inch wider (on each side) than your asparagus spears.

4.      Combine oil, garlic, herbs, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.

5.      Brush half of the oil mixture onto the prepared dough.

6.      Toss the asparagus in the remaining oil mixture.

7.      Arrange the asparagus on the dough. Alternate directions so that they do not fan out.

8.      Drizzle any remaining oil that is in the bowl onto the pizza.

9.      Top asparagus with the cheeses.

10.  Remove your hot pan from the oven carefully and slide the parchment and pizza onto the pan. I do this by carrying the hot pan in one hand over to the countertop and using the other hand to slide the parchment straight onto the pan. If your countertops are not heat-proof, then place the pizza/ parchment onto an unheated pan (or cutting board) first and then transfer to the hot pan.

11.  Bake the pizza 15-18 minutes, until the crust is golden and the asparagus is roasted.

This is wonderful on its own, or you can serve it with warm marinara sauce for dipping.

Veggie Soup with Wheat Berries and Fresh Vegetables

Where I live, spring is still cold enough to enjoy soup, and this one is a real meal-in-a-bowl. It has fresh vegetables, protein (beans) and fiber (wheat berries), so it’s healthy and filling. I’m including two quantities for this recipe. The first “full batch” fills two large stock pots! I love to make the large batch and freeze the leftovers into 3-cup containers. That way I have an easy lunch or supper ready in the freezer whenever I want. But if you just want one stock pot of soup, follow the ingredients list for the “half batch.” It’s still enough to feed the family and give you leftovers. It’s a perfect match for grilled cheese sandwiches, too.

Note on using wheat berries: The wheat berries need to be cooked ahead of time because they would not have enough time to cook in the soup. I like to cook them in the slow cooker overnight the day before I make this soup. Bob’s Red Mill has instructions on how to cook them in a slow cooker or on the stove.

Full Batch:

Yield: 20 servings (approx.)

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 1 hour

2 large stock pots

¼ cup olive oil

1 large onion, diced

4 ribs celery, diced

3 carrots, peeled and diced

10 cups chicken or vegetable stock

28 oz canned diced tomatoes

28 oz canned crushed tomatoes

2 bay leaves

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 Tbs Italian herb blend

2 medium zucchini, diced, divided

2 medium yellow squash, diced, divided

1 can (2 cups) white kidney beans, drained and rinsed, divided

2 cups cooked wheat berries (see note), divided

1 cup frozen peas, rinsed to defrost and divided

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, divided

Salt and pepper to taste

Full Batch Instructions:

1.      Set aside one stock pot. Heat the other one over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, onion, celery, and carrots. Saute for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened.

2.      Add the stock, tomatoes (all), bay leaf, garlic, and herbs. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes.

3.      Meanwhile, prepare the zucchini, squash, and beans.

4.      Heat the second stock pot over medium heat. When it is warm, carefully pour half of the soup mixture into it.

5.      Add half of the zucchini, squash, beans, and wheat berries to each pot.

6.      Return both pots to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes.

7.      Stir peas and balsamic vinegar into both pots. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Half Batch:

Yield: 10 servings (approx.)

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

2 Tbs olive oil

1 small onion, diced

2 ribs celery, diced

3 carrots, peeled and diced

6 cups chicken or vegetable stock

14 oz canned diced tomatoes

14 oz canned crushed tomatoes

1 bay leaf

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 Tbs Italian herb blend

1 medium zucchini, diced

1 medium yellow squash, diced

1 cup white kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup frozen peas

1 cup cooked wheat berries (see note)

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Half Batch Instructions:

Heat stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, onion, celery, and carrots. Sauté for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened.

1.      Add the stock, tomatoes (all), bay leaf, garlic, and herbs. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes.

2.      Meanwhile, prepare the zucchini, squash, and beans.

3.      Add zucchini, squash, beans, and wheat berries to the soup.

4.      Return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes.

5.      Stir in peas and balsamic vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Carrot-Fennel Salad:


Fennel Tips: Fennel is a favorite at our house, and the season ends soon. Cooked or raw, it has a mild, slightly sweet flavor and wonderful smell. Use the white bulb in soups, salads, or roast it with potatoes. The green stalks are inedible, but they are great for soups or stock. Use them in place of celery for chicken stock or cook with potato soup and remove before serving. And don’t throw away those lovely fronds! You can chop these fresh vegetables up and use them in place of parsley in salads, like the one below, or on top of soup.

Yield: about 3 cups

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 2+ hours


3 cups grated carrots

1 fennel bulb, sliced very thin (do not use the stalks)

¼  cup extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup honey

Zest and juice from 1 lemon

1 tsp dried fennel seeds

2 Tbs fennel fronds or flat-leaf parsley, chopped fine

Dash salt, pepper to taste

Mix the dressing into a jar and shake. Stir into salad and marinate for at least 2 hours before serving. This can last for several days in the fridge, and it just keeps getting better. The longer it sits, the softer it gets, and the stronger the lemon-flavor becomes. The cool flavors are a great complement to spicy food.

Bonus: Easy, Customizable Vinaigrette:

Spring and summer are salad season, and it’s hard to beat a classic vinaigrette for health and flavor. You can make your own easily, and experiment with flavors, if you know the right ratios: 2 parts oil to 1 part acid plus 1 tsp mustard and seasonings. Here is my basic recipe that makes enough for 6 side dish salads. But you can vary the quantities depending on how much you are making, if you keep the ratio the same.

½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

¼ cup acid (such as balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, cider vinegar, fresh lemon juice, or fresh lime juice)

1 tsp mustard (honey mustard goes best with the juices or cider vinegar; Dijon tastes great with the red wine or balsamic vinegars. Or try pairing chipotle mustard with lime juice for a south-of-the-border flavor!)

1 tsp spice or herb blend of your choosing. I usually use French or Italian style herb blends, and my favorite for spring veggies is Penzey’s Parisian BonnesHerbes If you’re using the chipotle mustard/lime juice combo, then try ½ tsp powdered garlic (or 1 fresh clove) and ½ tsp adobo chili powder (very mild but flavorful) and ½ tsp red pepper flakes for heat (if desired.)

Dash salt

Dash pepper

Mix all ingredients into a jar, cover tightly, and shake. Voila!

What are some of your favorite fresh vegetables?

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Category: Recipes

Tags: asparagus pizza