Skip to main content

Eating & drinking   |   Recipes

Seasonal eating: Asparagus and broad beans 

Everything in nature seems to grow almost in front of your eyes at the moment. The spring sun entices both us and plants out to enjoy it, but as you may have discovered by optimistically leaving your coat at home, it’s still quite chilly and will be for a while yet.

At this time of year, British-grown hardy greens and root veg keep us going, but the first of our homegrown new season veg is not quite yet ready. 

To provide some much-needed variety and excitement during the last part of the UK ‘Hungry Gap’, we celebrate the start of the Spanish asparagus season, and also the first of their fresh broad beans.  

This brings some welcome additions to plates while UK crops are still emerging, and means there is no use of environmentally-disastrous heated greenhouses or air-freighted produce to bridge this gap.  

Asparagus is always so eagerly anticipated and highly sought after. Its subtle flavour is a real delicacy – the fact they grow from dormant plants called ‘crowns’ makes them sound very regal too. A wild plant first cultivated by the Egyptians, it was a Roman delicacy (Julius Caesar is alleged to have eaten asparagus with melted butter). Served at the royal courts of Europe and much loved by Louis XIV, after the 18th Century it was enjoyed by all again, not just nobility.  

Interested in growing your own? The RHS has a comprehensive guide here and Garden Organic has tips and factsheets here. If you can get your hands on some asparagus or tender broad beans now, here are some new ideas from Riverford chef Bob Andrew to try: 

Tempura asparagus 


A quick and addictive dish. This is a snack for two using our standard asparagus bunch size. Be prepared to feel a compulsion to make it again straight away. There is never enough. The trick to light, crisp, gossamer-thin batter is to bring it together just before using and to be quick and carefree in the mixing – the lumps add character and texture. For the full recipe, click here. 

Roasted asparagus with hollandaise sauce  


A true hollandaise can be a scary and laboured undertaking. This is a speedy version that uses the heat from the melted butter to lightly cook the egg yolks and the brute force of a food processor to bring it all together. Use within 30 mins of making, don’t try and refrigerate or re-use the next day as the egg yolks make it a high-risk food. To try making this recipe, click here.  

Spiced broad bean chips 


Everyone has their favourite recipes for broad beans, but they all tend to leave you with a big pile of pods. This zero-waste recipe is a tasty way to use them up. They are often presumed to be tough and fibrous, but if prepared in the correct way they are surprisingly tender – find out how here. 

Chargrilled spring veg with green sauce and ricotta 

Spring veg

A celebration of fresh flavours, this is great to cook outdoors with friends. Bursting with goodness, it combines smoky chargrilled veg with a piquant green sauce, zesty lemon, and creamy ricotta. If you omit the cheese (or use a dairy free alternative) it makes a wonderful vegan dish to share. We have a great Wicked Leeks guide on how to BBQ spring veg for more handy tips, and for the full recipe click here.



1 Year

Always so inspirational

1 Reply

view replies

Comments Editor

1 Year

Thanks Suzi! Love that you are feeling inspired to try some of these seasonal veg ideas.

0 Reply

Wicked Leeks Issue 9: Out now

We explore seasonality and hear from cover star Poppy Okotcha on the secret power of gardens.

Read now

Ecological farming can feed UK if diets change

New report outlines how diets can support an ecological farming system in the UK to cut carbon, restore nature and preserve farming livelihoods.

Read now
veg box

Ethical organic veg. Delivered.

Set up by Guy Singh-Watson, Riverford now delivers across the country with a full range of fresh produce, meat, dairy and more.

Shop now
Spread the word

The twin crises of climate change and biodiversity losses will be the defining stories of our future, but it is not too late to change direction. 

Here at Wicked Leeks, our mission is to help inform and inspire positive change. Our journalism is free to all because of this, but we want to reach as many people as possible who share our desire for a better world. We know our readers are some of the biggest advocates of sustainable living, and you can help us grow this movement by sharing this article widely, with your friends and on social media. Now is the time to act.