Warm French Lentils from Barefoot Contessa: I’m going to be honest: this isn’t the prettiest looking meal. But the taste of lentils that have been slowly simmered with onions, turnips, carrots, and leeks, then tossed in a mustardy vinaigrette is revolutionary. You’ll have one of *those* moments in which you wonder how something so seemingly simple can taste so good. The truth? When you use high-quality, seasonal ingredients like local carrots and turnips and don’t mask their flavors with complex cooking methods, heavy sauces, or a deep fryer, whatever you’re cooking is sure to be good. Locavore tip: Serve this with a fresh loaf of Barrio Bread, which is perfect for soaking up the incredible vinaigrette at the bottom of your bowl. If you can’t find leeks yet, use green garlic (young garlic whose bulbs haven’t fully formed).
Maple-Glazed Carrot Farro Salad from Edible Baja Arizona: If you’ve visited a local farmers’ market in the last two weeks, you’ve probably noticed an abundance of those sweet orange, yellow, and sometimes purple springtime-y carrots. Pulled from the ground of your local farm and brought straight to the market, these carrots are about as dense, flavorful, and colorful as they come. Roast ’em up with some Brussels sprouts and toss them with farro and greens for a well-rounded and hearty salad that makes incredible leftovers. Locavore tip: Swap the maple syrup for local honey and use asparagus or broccoli in place of Brussels sprouts if you find they’re hard to come by.
Lemongrass Chicken Bánh Mí Bowls from My Name is Yeh: Bowls are all the rage these days (i.e. filling up Instagram feeds, necessitating an entire category on food blogs, and found in abundance at hip restaurants), and while they’re not necessarily for those people who hate their food to touch, “bowls” are versatile, leftovers-friendly, and really tasty. Here we have rice+marinated chicken+crunchy quick-pickled radish/carrot slaw+something spicy. It’s basically banh mí, deconstructed. And it’s amazing. Locavore tip: Swap the fresh cucumbers for pickled cucumbers that were picked last season and used a crushed chiltepin or two in place of jalapeños.
Arugula Pesto Flatbread from Edible Baja Arizona: Thin, dough-y crust is topped with homemade arugula pesto, fresh mozzarella cheese, and thinly-sliced tomatoes, then baked to bubbly perfection. Serve it with a salad made of local mixed greens and colorful radishes for a light meal that’s perfect for a warm spring night. Locavore tip: Replace the fresh tomatoes with sun-dried tomatoes or a few slices of roasted butternut squash.
Spicy Shrimp with Cauliflower Mash and Garlic Kale from Pinch of Yum: Cheesy mashed cauliflower, garlicky kale, and spicy shrimp. It’s the kind of marriage we all dream of, and now you can have it at your dining room table/futon/wherever you enjoy eating meals. Locavore tip: Use a few dried chiltepins for some extra-spicy, extra-local shrimp.