We’re all about seasonality over here, and Spring is a time of year that we especially love celebrating. Color returns to our plates after what feels like months of a winter color palette, and we do our best to fully take advantage of Spring’s emergence. So, what better way to take full advantage of the season than with the first and most colorful signs of Spring? These Spring Recipes with edible flowers practically burst off the plate with freshness.
In all honesty, they are served just as much for looks as they are for flavor – you’ll find that flowers have a mild flavor and taste much like the greens of their plant. Keep in mind though that not all flowers are edible! Even still, there are many to choose from – find them at grocery stores with extensive produce sections, your local farmers’ market, or even in your own garden! Here are some to try, via Good Housekeeping:
- Arugula Flowers: Peppery flavor, just like arugula leaves. Use in salads or other savory dishes.
- Chive Blossoms: Delicate, oniony flavor. Use whole flowers or separate the individual petals.
- Lavender: Floral flavor that’s perfume-y and faintly citrusy. Use in cocktails, teas, desserts, or other baked goods.
- Marigold: Faint citrus flavor. Try it in a salad.
- Nasturtiums: Peppery flavor and golden hue. Try them on crostini with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Pansies: Use these as garnish — they’re so pretty! Faint grassy flavor.
- Squash Blossoms: Mild raw squash taste. Usually cooked before eaten. Lightly dust with cornstarch and deep fry.
- Violets: Sweet and floral. Use in dessert or freeze into ice cubes for decorative drinking.
The options are really endless, and your choice may depend more on your artistic inclinations than flavor pairings. But here are a few recipes to get your creative ideas flowing!
Spinach Leek Soup with Nasturtium Garnish
This soup can be served warm, but it is also perfectly delicious chilled. In fact, serving it cold will help keep your flower petal garnish from wilting. Easy to make and perfect as a first course, side, or addition to a picnic potluck.
Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 6 cups
Recipe adapted from With Food & Love.
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 leeks, white and light green parts, sliced into rounds (about 1 cup)
- 1/2 large white onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 bunch green onions, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, diced
- juice of one medium lemon, about 1/4 cup
- 4 cups water
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 4 cups baby spinach
- 1 bunch fresh parsley
- Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large sauce pot over medium heat. Add in the leeks and cook for 5 minutes, then add in the white onion, green onion and garlic. Stir and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add in the lemon juice and stir again. Add in the water and season with a heavy pinch of salt and black pepper. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Once at a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Add in the spinach and parsley and stir to wilt greens. Let cool, and blend in batches. (Or, use an immersion blender to blend in the pot.)
- Serve chilled or warm with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and Nasturtium petals (or other edible flowers of choice).
Cheese Plate with Violets & Pansies
This is less so a recipe and more so a springboard for your own creative ideas! Cheese plates are great ways to have some fun with plating and experiment with flavor pairings. A general outline for cheese plates: include 2 cheeses (one mild and soft, one firm), two types of crackers, something sweet, something salty, a sauce, and a garnish. Additionally, add a wildcard ingredient like roasted or spiced nuts, cured meats, olives, pickled vegetables, jams, honey, or fresh herbs. Here, we served Miller’s Blend to pair with the cheese and add a spicier note to the sweetness of the spread.
On our cheese plate, we included:
- herbed goat cheese
- wheat round crackers and square seeded crackers
- cornichon pickles
- marinated mushrooms
- extra virgin olive oil
- violet and pansy petals
Spring Pea Shoot Salad with Geraniums
This salad is a love note to the fresh vegetables that signal the end of winter and beginning of Spring’s new growth and sunshine. Feel free to swap in other greens and raw veggies as you feel inspired!
Time: 15 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- juice and zest of 1 large lemon, about 1/4 cup of juice
- 1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- 2 cups pea shoots
- 1/2 cup mint leaves, stems removed
- 4-5 French radishes, sliced into thin rounds
- 1 large handful of snow or snap peas
- 1/4 cup edible flowers of choice (Geraniums are lovely in a salad)
- Begin by making the dressing: combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
- Assemble the salad: combine all ingredients except edible flowers in a large salad bowl. Add dressing to taste (you may have extra) and toss to combine. Finish with edible flowers and serve immediately.