When I was growing up, seeing the first asparagus shoots poking out of the ground always meant spring was on its way. Regardless of rainy evenings and the occasionally cold, windy day, asparagus is one of the universal signs that winter is finally over. Of course, you can probably find mushy, flavorless asparagus at the grocery store any time of year. But the fresh, brand-spanking-new shoots that are in season in April and May are really special. While we'd never say no to this spring veggie roasted with olive oil and sea salt, these fun recipes make the most out of asparagus's short time as belle of the ball.

Shari / My Fancy Pantry

Asparagus Soup with Tarragon and Chevre (via My Fancy Pantry)
For how impressive it looks on the dinner table, this soup is pretty darn easy. Sautee a few shallots and a pound of asparagus, then add chevre, vegetable stock, and milk (go with skim or 1% to make it a bit lighter).

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Deb Perelman / Smitten Kitchen

Spring Asparagus Pancetta Hash (via Smitten Kitchen)
The classic meat and potatoes combination gets a Springy update with asparagus. The recipe is super flexible—sub in sweet potatoes, use bacon or ham instead of pancetta, or ditch the meat altogether. This dish makes a rockstar breakfast, but also works great for dinner with a poached egg on top and a side of bread.

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Sarah J. Gim / Tastespotting

Quinoa with Asparagus, Fava Beans, and Green Peas (via Tastespotting)
Do you see all the green in this photo? After months of sad supermarket veggies and hearty potatoes and beets, we are all about the fresh vegetables. This quick salad lets the produce do the talking—just combine cooked red quinoa, fava beans, asparagus, baby arugula, and green peas. Toss everything with lemon juice, olive oil, and some salt and pepper and go to town!

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Jessica Sanders / Feastie

Shrimp with Couscous and Asparagus (via Feastie)
Clearly we still have one-pot meals on the brain. This meal comes together pretty quickly, and it checks off all the boxes for a balanced meal—grains, protein, veggies all present and accounted for.

Kelly Senyei / Just a Taste

Asparagus and Ricotta Pizza (via Just a Taste)
Shaving ricotta stalks gives this white pizza more than a hint of spring flavor. The ricotta base and veggie topping make this dish a fresh, light dinner option. To make it a bit more wholesome, use low-fat ricotta cheese and sub in whole-wheat crust.

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