Looking to add a seasonal splash of colour to your spring dishes? In this post Hayley Baddiley from the ceramics and homeware brand Denby shares her top tips for bringing spring shades to the dining table.
There are so many things to love about spring, from the days becoming sunnier to the nights finally becoming shorter. But one of the best things by far is the season’s gorgeous light colour palette, which is always welcome after the darker shades of winter. There are a number of ways to enjoy the colours of spring, like adding the shades to your wardrobe or introducing them into your home interiors. Something that’s sometimes overlooked is adding them to our diets.
Adding colour to our dishes is more important than many of us realise. Naturally colourful foods tend to be packed full of vitamins and minerals. This is part of the reason why the Mediterranean diet is so good for us: it’s filled with brightly coloured fruits and vegetables.
And it isn’t just about the nutrients colourful foods contain, but how they make us feel. Colour has been found to impact how we experience the flavour of foods (The Colour Group). It’s also been discovered that different shades can even impact our appetites, with red and yellow making us hungrier, and blue and pink suppressing our appetite (Colour Meanings).
So how exactly can you introduce colour to make your dishes both look and taste better? Read on for my top tips for adding colour to your springtime meals.
Add new fruits and vegetables
A great way to add colour to your dishes is by trying out some new delicious fruits and vegetables. Not only can they add more nutrients to your meals, but they can really boost the flavour of a dish too. Plus colourful fruits and vegetables will make the meal look great, so you can eat the food in style whether you’re making it the centrepiece of a dinner party or just enjoying it at home with your family.
The following fruits and vegetables are colourful, tasty, and somewhat uncommon, so they can help your meals really stand out from the rest:
- Pak choi: This bright green vegetable has a subtle cabbage-like flavour. There are a number of ways to enjoy it, including in ramen dishes, curries, or as a side in itself.
- Purple sweet potato: These striking root vegetables are perfect for brightening up a plate. They can be used in the same way you would regular sweet potatoes, including as fries, or in a colourful vegetable curry.
- Jackfruit: This colourful fruit is incredibly versatile. Not only can it be used as a meat replacement in spring dishes like risottos and tarts, but it can be enjoyed as a tasty fruit too with yoghurt and honey, or even in a smoothie.
- Papaya: Papayas are vibrant orange fruits, which add a delicious taste to smoothies, fruit salads, and even taste good in savoury salads too. If you want to whip up a tasty yet healthy sweet treat, you can use them to make a delicious mousse too.
Experiment with spices
If you’re looking for a natural way to add both vibrancy and flavour to a dish, try using some colourful herbs and spices. As well as being able to make a dish taste delicious, many spices are beneficial for your health, such as turmeric which can ease inflammation and oregano which can boost your heart health (EatingWell). Plus, as herbs and spices are naturally full of flavour, you won’t need to rely on unhealthy additions to boost the taste of your dishes.
Saffron is a particularly colourful spice, which adds a gorgeous golden shade and a unique, earthy-yet-sweet taste to dishes. It works well in a variety of recipes, including risotto, soup, and paella. Turmeric is another great spice which can make food bright yellow, and gives dishes an earthy, sharp taste. The spice can be used for curries, roasted vegetables, and can even make a great addition to tea.
Flowers aren’t just to be admired in a bouquet, as some can even be edible too. They can make great additions to a number of spring dishes, to add vibrant colour and make them look beautiful. Flowers work particularly well in salads, and there are a number of types you can try, including honeysuckle, marigold, clover, lilac, and dandelion.
You can also use flowers as garnish for a variety of other dishes too. For example, pansies can be a great garnish for avocado toast, and rose petals and hibiscus can be used to decorate desserts and bring a natural sweetness to the dishes.
Always make sure to check that a flower is fit for human consumption before adding it to a recipe. When using edible flowers, try to use them when they’re at their freshest for the best flavour and look. And make sure to thoroughly soak them in cold water before using them in a dish to make sure they’re clean.
Serve the dishes in style
As well as adding colour to your spring dishes, there are benefits to serving them beautifully too. Research has found that people consider their food to taste better when it is presented well, so some extra thought at this stage can produce clean plates at the end of your meal.
The best colour plates and bowls to serve your dishes on depends on what the meal is. For example, green foods work well on yellow plates as these two shades are next to each other on the colour wheel, while red foods look best on a white plate to make the vibrant colour stand out (HuffPost). Whichever colours you opt for, make sure to choose the top quality, durable homeware which you love the look of.
If you use the tips above, you’ll be able to create some delicious and colourful dishes for the whole family to enjoy. For more tips and tricks to help you make your dishes even tastier, check out the rest of The Cooking Academy’s blog posts.
Kumud Gandhi is a Nutritional Food Scientist bestselling Author, Broadcaster, and Keynote Speaker on the subject of nutritional health for productivity & performance in the workplace. In 2010 Kumud founded ‘The Cooking Academy’ a cookery school that focusses on cooking for nutritional health and wellbeing. Kumud regularly presents to international audiences on a variety of topics such as ‘Eating for Immunity and a Lifetime of Wellness’. She is an expert in the field of Wellness in the Workplace and works with organizations to create transformational change in employee health & well-being through nutrition and health coaching.