Spring Forward with 7 Bright, Flavorful Recipes

By Ann Foster Thelen

Spring is on the horizon! The air is fresher, days are longer and signs of renewal are abundant as flowers poke through the ground and birds serenade our surroundings. It’s the season to awaken taste buds with bright and refreshing foods.

We’ve pulled together a rainbow of recipes that are colorful and delicious. From salads to ideas for brunch, these recipes pair Iowa-produced proteins with fruits and vegetables. Each is guaranteed to put a spring in your step and give you more time to soak up warmer days and sunnier skies.

As you search for beautiful, fresh food during Iowa’s changing seasons, turn to Iowa’s farmers for local and high-quality items. Not only are farm-fresh foods found at Farmers’ Markets, but also at the meat counters and in the aisles of grocery stores across the state. As the No. 1 producing state of many foods, such as pork, eggs, corn and soybeans, and strong in beef, turkey and dairy production, Iowans have access to many homegrown choices!

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Edamame Greek Salad | The Soyfoods Council

Photo Credit: The Soyfoods Council

When the temperatures start to rise, salads are a signature staple for mealtime. This Greek salad features edamame, the darling of soyfoods with its nutritional benefits and subtle flavors. Edamame serves up 11 grams of protein in just half a cup and is rich in healthy fiber, antioxidants and vitamin K. Served atop a bed of Romaine lettuce, the flavors of feta cheese, basil, onion and red wine vinegar delight the senses. Tomatoes and cucumbers pair perfectly with this springtime salad that is a meal in itself. Bookmark this recipe to serve up time and time again, especially when the fresh vegetables are in season in Iowa. Find the recipe here.

Turkey Raspberry Salad | National Turkey Federation & Iowa Turkey Federation

Photo Credit: Iowa Turkey Federation

Smoked turkey breast is a filling, protein-packed topper for a simple, yet delectable, salad. This no-cook Turkey Raspberry Salad is quick to put together, making it great for the lunchbox or dinner on the deck. When the goat cheese meets the raspberry vinaigrette, it becomes a dreamy combination. A little crunch, a little tart and a little sweet equal springtime perfection! Plus, a 3-ounce served of boneless, skinless turkey breast is low-fat and packs 26 grams of protein. This meal will help to fuel the long-awaited outdoor activities of gardening, bicycling and immersing in nature. Find the recipe here.

Corn and Tomato Salad | Iowa Corn Promotion Board

You don’t have to wait for the dog days of summer to dish up corn and tomatoes, although this recipe will also be a hot weather favorite when the fresh veggies are plentiful. Fresh, canned or frozen corn are all wonderful in this Corn and Tomato Salad. The addition of crumbled blue cheese and green onions along with drizzles of balsamic vinegar elevate this salad from fantastic to incredible. It’s the perfect refreshing side dish to pulled pork sandwiches and macaroni and cheese. Although most corn grown in Iowa is field corn and turned into livestock feed or common household items, this salad gives a nod to our state’s prestigious No. 1 role in corn production. Find the recipe here.

Smoked Beef Brisket Benedict | Iowa Beef Council and Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner.

Photo Credit: Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner.

Brunch might be the favorite meal of springtime. From Easter to Mother’s Day, food is the centerpiece of celebrations. Smoked Beef Brisket Benedict is an award-worthy recipe to add to the menu this season. Slices of smoked beef brisket and seasonal asparagus top an English muffin finished with an egg and hollandaise sauce. In addition to protein, beef boasts critical vitamins and nutrients, such as iron and zinc, which are important for a healthy immune system.  Find the recipe here.

Air Fryer Korean Pork Lettuce Wraps | Iowa Pork Producers Association 

Photo Credt: © 2020 National Pork Board, Des Moines, Iowa USA.

Butter lettuce leaves – tender, mild and sweet – cradle air-fryer cooked pork tenderloin, cucumbers and shredded carrots for a handheld dish that looks and tastes like spring. Gochujang sauce adds a bold, sweet and spicy flavor. A fermented Korean chili paste, gochujang is made from glutinous rice, fermented soybeans, red chili pepper flakes and salt. Pork features a profile of protein and many beneficial nutrients, including potassium and thiamin. Many people don’t consume enough potassium, an essential electrolyte known for helping to maintain normal blood pressure. Thiamin aids in the metabolism of carbohydrates, protein and fat. Find the recipe here.

Pepper Jack Egg White Frittata | Midwest Dairy

Frittatas are lovely and easy dishes to make on the stove or in the oven. Often a blank canvas for creativity, this protein-rich dish – with 31 grams per serving – is delightful for any meal of the day. This recipe takes just four ingredients and seamlessly blends the kick of pepper jack cheese with the flavors of spinach and red peppers. It’s a bouquet of fresh goodness in every fabulous bite of this egg, cheese and vegetable combination. Delicious cheese comes from the quality milk of dairy farms. Cheese is an excellent source of calcium, which is essential for strong bones. Find the recipe here.

Noodle Zoodle Egg Bowl | Iowa Egg Council

Photo Credit: Iowa Egg Council

This recipe lightens up a traditional pasta dish as zucchini noodles share the spotlight with whole wheat spaghetti. Garlic, red chili flakes, lemon, basil and tomatoes add a zesty balance of acidity and brightness to create an exceptional dish. Poached eggs are the proverbial “icing on the cake” and add loads of nutrition. Every oval contains all nine essential amino acids, which play a role in almost every system throughout the body. Among a host of benefits, they help maintain muscle tone and tissue strength and provide energy. Find the recipe here.