Light and Fresh Spring Meals

strawberry_spinachWhether you are picking right from your garden or gathering from the Farmer’s market, you’ve got to love spring for the vibrant colors and fresh flavors of fruits and vegetables that it has to offer. What’s even better is that you can bring all of these together to make light and fresh meals in an instant.

Spring Pasta with Fava Beans and Peas


• 1 1/2 cups shelled fava beans (about 1 3/4 pounds unshelled)
• 6 ounces uncooked farfalle (bow tie pasta)
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
• 6 center-cut bacon slices, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
• 1 1/2 cups sliced red onion
• 8 garlic cloves, sliced
• 3 ounces thinly sliced mushrooms
• 1 cup fresh shelled or frozen green peas, thawed
• 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
• 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 1/2 ounces fresh pecorino Romano cheese (about 6 tablespoons), grated and divided
• 1/2 cup torn basil leaves


In a pot of boiling water, cook fava beans for 1 minute. Drain and then rinse with cold water. Drain the beans again and remove the tough out skins from the beans.

Cook pasta according the directions shown on the package. Omit the salt and drain after cooking.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan. Add bacon and sauté for 3 minutes or until the bacon begins to brown. Add in the garlic and onions, sauté for 3 minutes also or until they become tender. Add in the mushrooms and sauté for 3 minutes or until they begin to brown. Add in the peas and fava beans, sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, juice, salt and pasta. Cook that for about 2 minutes until thoroughly heated. Remove the pan from heat and stir in 3 tablespoons of cheese. Serve immediately and top with the remaining 3 tablespoons of cheese and basil.

Strawberry and Spinach


• 1 teaspoon dry mustard
• 1 teaspoon table salt
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 1/3 cup Strawberry Vinegar
• 3/4 cup canola oil
• 1 pound whole baby spinach
• 1 pint fresh strawberries, thinly sliced


Whisk together mustard, salt, sugar and Strawberry Vinegar in a medium bowl. Pour 2 to 3 tablespoons of oil into the mix and whisk until well incorporated. In a steady, thin stream, whisk in the remaining oil. Add the strawberries and spinach, gently toss well to coat.

Strawberry Vinegar


• 1-1/2 cups roughly chopped strawberries
• 1-1/2 cups white wine vinegar
• 1/2 cup sugar


Place strawberries and vinegar in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Let stand in a sunny window for up to 4 days. Strain into a small saucepan and discard berries. Stir in sugar and heat over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Simmer over low heat about 10 minutes. Cool and pour into a clean bottle. Cover and store in a cool, dry place or in the refrigerator.


Photo Credit:  Thinkstock