With the arrival of springtime means it time to whip up fresh seasonal dishes. Think vegetables, color and freshness this month as sunny weather will be here to stay soon, and you need the perfect flavors to compliment the weather.
Here are nine recipes worth making during springtime in Austin.
Grilled shrimp tacos with mango salsa
Although the beloved Austin dish is enjoyed year round, modifying your toppings as the seasons change is the best way to eat tacos this springtime. These grilled shrimp tacos with mango salsa are super easy to make and have a wonderfully bright tropical taste that will leave you wanting more. This recipe is simple enough for any cooking level and will only take up 20 minutes of your time, leaving everyone in your house with a meal for any time of day.
You can find the recipe for grilled shrimp tacos with mango salsa here.
Brown butter gnocchi with asparagus and peas
Craving a meal with more of a warm substance? Brown butter gnocchi with asparagus and peas is a comforting and flavorful dish to enjoy for dinner, yet refreshing enough to enjoy during a warm day out. Pop out your cast iron skillet on any weeknight to make this fun and easy-to-make weeknight recipe. Pair this dish with white wine to enjoy the full spring effect.
You can find the recipe for brown butter gnocchi with asparagus and peas here.
Vietnamese spring rolls
Springtime in Austin calls for refreshing appetizers, such as Vietnamese fresh spring rolls, to help pass the warm days. This recipe is simple enough for anyone to make and will only take up 30 minutes of your time. With shrimp, pork, lettuce and herbs, this small dish is perfect for anyone looking to impress their guests with a refreshing springtime bite. Serve your spring rolls with peanut sauce or a traditional Vietnamese dipping sauce called nuoc cham which contains fish sauce, lime juice and sugar.
You can find the recipe for Vietnamese spring rolls here.
Spring vegetable quiche
Looking to host some friends and enjoy a springtime brunch? This spring vegetable quiche has everything you need to impress your guests. An easy and fast recipe to make, you can prep your ingredients and bake the quiche in under an hour. Not sold yet? This recipe is versatile where can add your favorite seasonal vegetables for a filling and delicious brunch option.
You can find the recipe for spring vegetable quiche here.
Lemony spring pasta salad
Something about springtime makes lemons and salads more appealing. Maybe it's the preparation for the hot summer days Texas will endure, but this lemony spring pasta salad, filled with feta cheese, arugula, pine nuts, fresh basil, rotini pasta and lemon vinaigrette is the perfect mixture of filling and vibrantly refreshing. You can make this pasta salad in under 30 minutes and it is a guarantee that it will be loved and eaten up on a springtime afternoon.
You can find the recipe for lemony spring pasta salad here.
Pan-fried cod with orange and swish chard
Adding some seafood to your springtime diet is the best way to avoid all responsibilities and pretend you are on a nice beach enjoying the warm weather. This pan-fried cod with orange and swish chard recipe has all the ingredients for spring: a source of protein, sweet vegetables and acidic fruits. You can make this recipe in 30 minutes to be enjoyed as a late afternoon weeknight dinner or a weekend lunch dish.
You can find the recipe for pan-fried cod with orange and swish chard here.
Taco stuffed peppers
Looking for a healthy colorful meal to feed your household? These taco stuffed peppers are the real deal. With vibrant colors, a delightfully familiar taste and healthy ingredients, this is your next meal to try. Filled with ground beef, tomatoes, onion, black beans, corn, brown rice and cheese, you'll opt out of ordering Chipotle for a long time. This recipe will take up an hour of your time and will improve your night no matter the day.
You can find the recipe for taco stuffed peppers here.
Vibrant spring broccoli Buddha bowl
This is the recipe to try if you're looking for a healthy springtime dish that will give you the energy you need while enjoying the warm weather. This vibrant bowl is filled with hearty ingredients such as sweet potatoes, broccoli, purple cabbage, lemons, avocado and lentils. With 50 minutes to spare, you can enjoy this healthy bowl jammed with proteins, healthy fats and delicious flavors.
You can find the recipe for vibrant spring broccoli Buddha bowls here.
Although you might be hesitant to make a cold soup, this cucumber gazpacho is so creamy, vibrantly refreshing and hydrating you will keep refilling your bowl as warmer days hit Austin. In 20 minutes, you can have yourself this flavorful dish to serve as an appetizer, or a whole dish by adding your favorite protein such as shrimp. This simple and almost ordinary dish is inviting with its vibrant color and will impress all your guests with its flavor.
You can find the recipe for cucumber gazpacho here.
🗓 All weekend
Check out this highly anticipated art exhibition with illuminated art along Waller Creek. Tickets are free and the event includes food vendors, dazzling lights, live music, and hands-on activities
All weekend 6 p.m - 10 p.m | 📍Waterloo Park
This iconic holiday tradition lights up for the first time this holiday season starting this weekend! Reserve your spot for an enchanting light and sound performance, delicious hot cocoa, sweet treats, and some overall fun with your friends or family. The show runs till January 6th.
6 p.m and 9 p.m | 📍Mozart's Coffee Roasters - 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703
This fitness event is free and open to the public. Get your morning started right with a "Fitness in the park" class for kickboxing! The class will be led by certified instructors and is a great way to get a cardio workout in while also honing your self-defense skills.
10 a.m - 11 a.m | 📍 Metz Park
Support local LBGTQ+ and female artists at this outdoor market with over 150 vendors. Get your holiday shopping out of the way at this event, with vendors for food trucks, handmade goods, raffles, hands on workshops and activities, and more.
Did someone say cheese?! If you're like me and always willing to get your hands on a bowl of mac and cheese, then this event is for you. Check out the Mac and Cheese festival happening this weekend to decide which vendor has. the best mac and cheese for yourself, and enjoy the bar with creative cocktails while you're at it. Tickets start at $45.
11 a.m - 3 p.m | 📍Lantana Place - 7415 Southwest Parkway
Timmy and Tommy are ready to play.
As the 2-month-old white-and-tabby brothers swat feather wands, chase toys and generally hold court inside Purr-fecto Cat Lounge, a half-dozen potential adoptive parents look on lovingly, trying to get their attention.
“This is kind of like the speed dating of cats,” said Lupita Foster, owner of Purr-fecto Cat Lounge. “I intentionally didn’t put in any tables. That’s why we call it a lounge instead of a cat café because we have these lounge areas where you can sit and relax and cuddle.”
Foster, who has owned a cleaning company, Enviromaids, for 18 years, was inspired to open Purr-fecto Cat Lounge after adopting her own cat, Romeo, from a local shelter.
“When you want to adopt a cat, you have to spend a lot of time with them to get their personality,” Foster said. “I wanted to do something to help the community and something that makes me feel good, that warms my heart. A business with a purpose. This was a perfect idea.”
Actually, a purr-fect idea.
Inspired in part by a cat lounge she visited in Los Angeles, Foster began laying the groundwork for the business in late 2021 and officially opened the doors of Purr-fecto Cat Lounge, located at 2300 S. Lamar Blvd., in July 2022. Since then, she’s worked with rescue organizations such as Fuzzy Texan Animal Rescue and Sunshine Fund Cat Rescue to facilitate nearly 100 cat adoptions.
At any given time, there are 10-15 cats living in the space, which features an ideal blend of calm, cool corners and adorably Instagrammable backdrops with phrases such as “I want to spend all my 9 lives with you.”
Lina Martinez, 32, learned about Purr-fecto Cat Lounge from a friend’s Instagram post and made an appointment to visit two days later.
“My first impression was, ‘AWW!’” Martinez said. “The kittens were to die for. I felt happy and at peace – just what I needed.”
Visitors to the cat lounge pay $15 for a 30-minute CATXperience session or $30 for a 70-minute session that is spent getting to know the personalities of each cat. Foster said the first thing she typically sees from visitors to the lounge is a smile.
“Everybody that enters the door is smiling,” she said. “And we’ve seen people who have cried because they can’t have kids and they decide to go and adopt a cat instead.”
Foster said she loves bringing in cats who might not have a chance to be adopted at traditional shelters. She told the story of one cat named Izzy, who was partially blind, who was adopted by a family that had a deaf cat at home.
“Izzy was not going to get adopted anywhere else, but she’s extremely beautiful,” she said. “If she was in a cage in a rescue and you tell people she’s blind, she was probably going to be overlooked. But visiting our space, she doesn’t seem like she’s blind. She knows her way around. She moves around perfectly.”
Although Martinez, who had been casually looking for a pet to adopt since moving to Austin nearly four years ago, was interested in a cat named Ruby that she had seen on Purr-fecto’s social media, at the lounge she instead found herself drawn to 5-month-old mixed breed Tuxedo cat.
“I thought he was a star,” she said. “He worked the room and introduced himself to everyone. When I laid down to pet Ruby, he ran from the other side of the room and cuddled with me. It was game over. He got me.”
And she, of course, got him, complete with a commemorative photo that read “My Furrever Family” the day she took him home. Although his original name was Emmanuel, she renamed him Sullivan after her favorite DJ.
“Purr-fecto is special because of the amount of effort and love they put into taking care of the cats,” Martinez said, “and finding them good homes and making possible adopters feel at home.”
Foster, who spent a recent Thursday hosting a group of teenagers in foster care at the lounge, several of whom expressed interest in working there, said the best part about her new endeavor is that her heart is always full.
“I just feel complete,” she said. “I always felt as an entrepreneur that I was missing something. I knew I accomplished a lot, but in my heart I was missing a little connection with the community. Now I’m creating connections between humans and pets and that’s amazing. I’m creating family bonds. It’s just about love, you know. And we need that.”