I've been eating meatless on Mondays for quite some time now, and while there are always tons more recipes to choose from and endless vegetarian meals I've not yet tried, pasta recipes have become a regular occurrence. It's not just because they're easy, though they usually are -- I just think that pasta often serves as a fantastic foil for tons of great meatless ingredients to come together.
Spring pasta recipes are some of my absolute favorites, probably because of the wealth of spring vegetables available. Just hand-picking two or three and adding them to pasta can be a fantastic spring pasta recipe in and of itself, but I do like to rely on the expertise of others when uniting these flavors as well. Here are just some of the excellent ways you can bring spring's bounty into your kitchen with pasta.
Leeks are a fantastic vegetable that can be available all year round, but they're particularly sweet and tender in spring. While they often play second fiddle, here they're the star, in a leek pasta dish that's particularly lovely with scamorza cheese over the top. Scamorza is similar to mozzarella, but it's often smoked, adding a nice richness to this simple Meatless Monday dish.
Image: Kimberley Stakal
The name says it all: spring's perfect pasta is just that -- a fantastic combination of peas, radishes, bright lemon and just the right amount of rich cream sauce to unite these ingredients in harmony. The clever surprise with this recipe comes with the addition of Greek yogurt; the cream sauce doesn't contain any cream at all! Not only does this add a lightness to the recipe, but it adds a zing of flavor to mirror the lemon.
Pasta image via Shutterstock: Anna Shepulova
So many springtime vegetables are fleeting on market stalls, so you have to take full advantage of them when they do pop up. This recipe is perfect for bringing out the best in ramps: a ramp pesto pasta with peas, topped with a poached egg. You don't need much to make peas and ramps sing, but some parmesan, garlic, and a touch of red chili flakes are a good place to start. Topping the whole pasta with poached eggs make it undeniably creamy and just rich enough for the perfect Meatless Monday treat.
Image: Laura Klein
Asparagus are yet another springtime favorite; they're particularly tasty in this gluten-free pasta dish, paired with shiitake mushrooms and a flavorful, unique, pumpkin seed pesto. This pesto is a bit different from the rest -- devoid of traditional basil, it uses a combination of parsley and cilantro to add a great brightness to this pasta. Pumpkin seeds add that nuttiness you know from more classic versions of this sauce. And raw goat cheese is an intriguing departure from parmesan that adds a great tanginess and freshness to the dish.
Top pasta image via Shutterstock: Marco Mayer
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