Spring Forward: A Fresh Take on Soups and Salads

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Spring has truly sprung and it’s time to take a big breath of fresh air and welcome back a new crop of fresh finds at the market. Out with heavy winter food and in with lighter meals inspired by the season’s most delicious and nutritious fruits and vegetables.

What better way to celebrate the season than with tempting soups and salads? Consider these recipes a springboard to working delicious springtime produce into your diet.

Leek Potato Soup with Green Pea Pesto

Matthew Kadey

Leek Potato Soup with Green Pea Pesto

PREP: 30 minutes
SIMMER: 15 minutes

MAKES 5 SERVINGS.

This delightful chunky soup delivers top-notch nutritional value. Garnish it with this season-inspired green pea pesto for a show-stopping soup. Serve it for lunch or as part of a light dinner.

Each serving of soup with pesto contains 495 calories, 17g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 713mg sodium, 68g carbohydrate, 13g fiber, 17g sugars, 14g protein, 26Est GL.

Chicken Strawberry Salad with Maple Rhubarb Vinaigrette

COOK: 20 minutes
PREP: 30 minutes

MAKES 4 SERVINGS.

For all the rhapsodizing about strawberry-rhubarb pie, this dynamic duo performs admirably together in a salad. Strawberry lends seasonal sweetness while rhubarb infuses the dressing with a subtle tang. Poaching the chicken keeps the meat deliciously moist. Both the chicken and the dressing can be prepared up to 3 days in advance.

Each serving of salad with dressing contains 391 calories, 20g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 65mg cholesterol, 543mg sodium, 23g carbohydrate, 6g fiber, 10g sugars, 31g protein, 6Est GL.

Chicken Strawberry Salad with Maple Rhubarb Vinaigrette

Matthew Kadey

Asparagus Gazpacho

PREP: 20 minutes
CHILL: 2 hours

MAKES 5 SERVINGS.

With peak tomato season still weeks away, get a head start on gazpacho by using asparagus as a base. This verdant soup is just the thing to liven up lunch or dinner. Make it 1 or 2 days before serving; it’s even better after it rests. Garnish options include pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, feta, chives, shaved Parmesan, a drizzle of olive oil and even kale chip crumbles.

Asparagus Gazpacho

Matthew Kadey

Each serving includes 136 calories, 11g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 362mg sodium, 8g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 3g sugars, 3g protein, 3Est GL.

Roasted Radish White Bean Salad with Hummus Dressing

PREP: 30 minutes
BAKE: 35 minutes

MAKES 6 SERVINGS.

This swoon-worthy salad is guaranteed to refresh your taste buds after a winter of heavier fare. It’s also a wonderful way to work more plant-based protein into your diet. Roasting freshly harvested spring radishes creates a whole new vegetable; it tames their spiciness and transforms them into nuggets of mellow sweetness. Try tossing radish greens into the salad mix and, if tolerated, roughly chopped hard-boiled eggs for added protein.

Roasted Radish White Bean Salad with Hummus Dressing

Matthew Kadey

Each serving with dressing contains 377 calories, 18g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 554mg sodium, 47g carbohydrate, 14g fiber, 6g sugars, 12g protein, 19Est GL.

Contributing chef Matthew Kadey, RD, is a registered dietitian and food writer. He is author of The Muffin Tin Chef (Ulysses Press), The No-Cook, No-Bake Cookbook (Ulysses Press) and Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sports and Adventure (VeloPress).