5 recipes for celebrating the start of spring

Persian Green Frittata
(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

Spring has sprung, and for the first time in a long time, L.A.’s weather is, for the most part, acting accordingly, blessing us with long, sunny and relatively warm days. Symbolizing hope and renewal, the arrival of the spring season also intersects with annual holidays such as Ramadan, Nowruz, Holi, Easter and more.

A Muslim holiday that falls on the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, Ramadan began on March 10. For a month, practicing Muslims will fast from dawn to sunset, along with intense prayer and community service. To mark the end of Ramadan on April 9, Eid al-Fitr, a holiday of breaking the fast, can involve up to three days of celebration, including decorating the home and preparing rich, sweet dishes.

Nowruz, or Persian new year, overlapped with the spring equinox on March 19, with celebrants cleaning house, putting seasonal flowers on display and gathering around food with family and friends.


Holi, also known as the festival of colors, love and spring, follows on Monday. On the night before the festival, participants gather around a bonfire to symbolize burning the old to make way for new beginnings. The next morning, they douse each other in vibrant colors, dance, sing and pass out delicacies.

Whether or not you observe any of these holidays, the start of spring also represents a bountiful time at our local markets, and many of the dishes traditionally associated with the holidays above use seasonal produce. Kuku sabzi, a verdant frittata filled with fresh herbs, is a popular Nowruz recipe that can be adapted for Easter brunch or any meal when you’re craving an abundance of greens.

For something more indulgent, try Cali Tardka’s crispy samosas that are plump with potatoes and paired with two types of chutney (you also can order these savory pastries directly from the family-run Riverside home business if you want to skip the cooking).

Juicy chicken thighs braised in spring onion salsa verde make for a simple, spring-centered meal, served with rice or tortillas on the side. Grilled carrots with za’atar and tahini labneh are a vibrant side dish for springtime spreads, and a creamy “fruit tart” pie can be adapted with whatever fruits are in season.

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Grilled Spring Carrots With Fresh Za’atar And Tahini Labneh

Bright and earthy flavors are balanced in this dish that places za’atar-topped spring carrots on a bed of whipped tahini labneh. Prepare it as a side dish to pair with heartier proteins.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 45 minutes

Whole carrots, lightly charred on the grill
(Pascal Shirley / For The Times)

Kuku Sabzi

During your visit to the farmers market this weekend, be sure to pick up plenty of parsley, dill, cilantro, green onions and leeks for this herbaceous frittata that’s more greens than egg. It’s an easy breakfast or lunch that can be adapted with whatever greens you have on hand (or even potatoes or beans) and is best served at room temperature.
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Cook time: 1 hour 20 minutes

LOS ANGELES, CA- September 12, 2019: Strawberry Muffins on Thursday, September 12, 2019.
(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

Cali Tardka Samosas

For a slightly more decadent dish, try the savory samosas from Cali Tardka, an Indian restaurant that’s run by a mother and son out of their Riverside home. You can make the pastries extra crispy by refrigerating the assembled samosas overnight, and have the option to take it in a sweet or minty dipping direction with two supplementary chutney recipes.
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Cook time: 2 hours

Prepared samosas with tamarind and mint chutney
(Paul Rodriguez/Paul Rodriguez)

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Chicken Thighs Braised In Spring Onion Salsa Verde

Make excess amounts of this spring onion salsa verde and see how its flavors intensify over time. To start, use it to braise chicken thighs and be sure to chop plenty of extra spring onions to use as garnish for your finished dish.
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Cook time: 1 hour

Overhead of chicken thighs braised in salsa verde
(Los Angeles Times)

Creamy ‘Fruit Tart’ Pie

Many of the fruits featured in this fall fruit tart are still ripe throughout the spring season, including kiwis, passion fruit and mandarins, while you can substitute the out-of-season fruits, such as persimmons and figs, for apricots, berries and whatever else you can find at your local farmers market.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 1 hour 15 minutes, plus 7 hours unattended

Fruit tart prepared by cooking columnist Ben Mims
(Katrina Frederick / For The Times)

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