Throw a Spring Fling!

Embrace the season with a party featuring seasonal, organic vegetables. The recipes featured here can easily be doubled or tripled to serve the number of guests you invite.

Watercress, Radish, and Feta Salad  
Reprinted with permission from FOOD: Vegetarian Home Cooking © 2012 by Mary McCartney, Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photography by Mary McCartney

20 minutes prep time  |  Serves 2

You'll need:

  • 3 c watercress, washed and dried
  • 8 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 3⁄4 c crumbled feta cheese

For the dressing:

  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste


  1. First, remove any tough, woody stems from watercress.
  2. Toss watercress and radishes in a medium salad bowl and add feta cheese.
  3. Drizzle olive oil and lemon juice over salad, and then season with a pinch of sea salt and a couple grinds of black pepper.
  4. Toss together and serve immediately.


Leek And Pea Risotto    
Reprinted with permission from FOOD: Vegetarian Home Cooking © 2012 by Mary McCartney, Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photography by Mary McCartney

40 minutes prep time  |  Serves 4

You'll need:

  • 3 Tbsp light olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 medium leeks,* finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 1⁄4 c risotto rice
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme or parsley, chopped
  • 2⁄3 c dry white wine (optional)
  • 1 qt hot low-sodium vegetable stock, plus more stock or boiled water, if needed
  • 1 1⁄3 c frozen or fresh shelled peas, or chopped green beans
  • Black pepper and sea salt, to taste
  • 1⁄4 c grated Parmesan cheese , plus more for serving


  1. Melt oil and butter together in a large heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Stir in chopped leeks, onion, and celery and then saute gently for about 15 minutes, to allow leeks and onions to sweat and become translucent, but not brown.
  2. Add rice and garlic and mix well, coating rice in oil. Cook, stirring often, for a couple of minutes, to allow rice to heat through, but not brown. Now stir in herbs and white wine (if using).
  3. Add a couple ladlefuls of hot stock (about 3⁄4 cup), enough to cover rice. Stir well, and simmer gently, stirring frequently, until stock is nearly absorbed, but do not let rice cook too quickly.
  4. Gradually add more stock and keep stirring, until all of it has been absorbed; do not allow risotto to dry out. You want a thick, soupy consistency. Stir in peas halfway through cooking the rice, after about 7 minutes.
  5. After about 15 minutes rice should be cooked through but still al dente. If you run out of stock and rice is not cooked yet, use some extra stock or hot water to finish it off—but be careful not to let it overcook and become soggy or sticky.
  6. Season with black pepper. Taste rice and add salt, if needed. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese. Mix well and let stand for 1 or 2 minutes. Then serve immediately, with extra Parmesan cheese and black pepper sprinkled over the top.

* You can play around with the vegetables you use, for instance, substituting 6 shallots for the leeks.


Spicy Sprouting Broccoli  
From Garlic: The Mightly Bulb by Natasha Edwards ($24.95, Firefly Books, 2012)

20 minutes prep time  |  Serves  4

You'll need:

  • 11/2 lb sprouting broccoli* or kale
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely sliced
  • 1 red chili, deseeded and finely diced
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce


  1. Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil. Add broccoli and blanch for 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a small frying pan, add sesame seeds and toast over medium heat for 2 minutes until they start to pop. Set aside.
  3. In another frying pan, heat oils over medium heat. Add garlic, ginger, and chili, and fry gently for 2 minutes.
  4. Add broccoli and coat with oil mixture. Add vinegar and soy sauce and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  5. Serve with sesame seeds sprinkled over.


*Sprouting broccoli is a variety of broccoli with a larger number of heads, many thin stalks, and a delicate flavor.




Green party tips

1. Send out Evites instead of paper invitations. Personalize them with funny pictures or pretty designs.

2. Use large leaves collected from the yard for place cards. Write guests’ names on them with a nontoxic marker.

3. If you decide to use disposable plates and cups, look for versions made from recycled or sustainable materials as well as those that are biodegradable.

4. For a blast of green, adorn your home with small organic plants. Let guests take them home as party favors that they can later plant.

5. Send extra food home with guests so leftovers don’t go to waste.

6. Soy or beeswax candles add a warm and welcoming atmosphere, and they won’t emit toxic fumes.


“Green Party Tips,” the Nest,, 2013