Spring Dinner Party Menu and Tips

Say goodbye to winter with a spring green party.
By: Mary Beth Roberts

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A salad filled with fresh, spring vegetables and flavorful toppings makes a perfect meal for a spring dinner party.

The weather is warming, so it's time to lighten your wardrobe and your meals. Here are ideas for a refreshingly light dinner party that's a welcome change from those heavy winter menus. We've got suggestions for decorations, the meal and dessert. Call it a Spring Green bash.

Decorations

The landscape is turning green, so reflect the color in your decorations. The first flowers of the season make perfect centerpieces. Grocery stores and home improvement stores have bulbs like crocus, tulips and daffodils in pots and blooming. Also check local greenhouses. These flowering bulbs also make perfect gifts for your guests.

Another great idea for a spring centerpiece is a tray of grass. It's simple and definitely says spring! Check with your local greenhouses to see if they have any flats of fescue for sale.

Menu

Salad

Nothing says spring like an organic green bar with a variety of spring vegetables, cheeses and toppings. It's a main course that's healthy and easy to prepare. Choose baby greens of endive, mesclun, watercress, arugula and dandelion for the best flavor because the larger, more mature leaves have a bitter taste.

Offer an array of toppings for your salad buffet, like:

  • pine nuts
  • sunflower seeds
  • pecans
  • fresh strawberries
  • fresh orange slices
  • fresh asparagus tips
  • fresh sugar peas
  • fresh sprouts
  • fresh avocado chunks
  • grape or cherry tomatoes
  • grilled salmon or chicken

Don't forget the bread! Offer bread sticks, freshly baked rolls or Melba toast.

Dressings

Treat your guests to their choice of homemade flavors. Serve the dressing in individual bowls so guests can try a sample of each. This also allows them to control the amount of dressing they put on their greens.

Beverages

A great salad calls for a great wine. Pairing your spring greens with an herbaceous Sauvignon (or Fume) Blanc complements the crispness and nuttiness of a salad. For a moderately priced selection, try the Californian 1997 Chateau St. Jean La Petite Etoile, although at times it's hard to find. For a more affordable, but no less wonderful selection, try the Chilean 2006 Arboleda Sauvignon Blanc.

Dessert

Finish your spring salad meal with a dessert featuring simple flavors, like this one:

Strawberries and Cream

2 pints of fresh strawberries, cleaned and halved
2 cups half and half
1/2 cup sugar

In a saucepan, combine half and half and sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and refrigerate mixture overnight.

Place 1/2 cup of strawberries in each of 6 dessert dishes. Pour 1/4 cup of half and half/ sugar mixture over berries. Serve immediately.

Difficulty: Easy
Serves: 6

Next Up

Arugula Salad With Homemade Orange Poppy Seed Dressing

Round out your springtime brunch with the ultimate light side: a garden-fresh, leafy green salad. Arugula and watercress are ideal for this healthy recipe as both are cool-weather crops harvested in spring, with a crisp, peppery flavor. Fresh orange slices, tart strawberries and sweet blueberries scattered on top harmonize well with the from-scratch orange-poppy seed vinaigrette. Sprinkle on blue cheese crumbles for a savory, creamy note.

Roasted New Potatoes With Spring Herbs

Show off spring's harvest of new potatoes with bright flavors. These young potatoes have tender skins, so roast them unpeeled. A lemon and herb-infused olive oil drizzle brings a surprisingly light citrus note to this dish. Serve the potatoes on a bed of spring salad greens for additional herbaceous flavor.

Spring Vegetable Frittata Recipe

Tender spring asparagus and fresh peas bring garden flavor to this cheesy frittata. Grab an extra carton of eggs at the farmer’s market while shopping for produce. This herby, eggy dish requires an entire dozen.

The Ultimate Vegetarian Cheese Board

Move over, charcuterie. This superabundant vegetarian cheese board is so hearty and satisfying that you won’t even miss the meat. Tender baby carrots, snap peas and other favorite spring produce calls for lighter tasting cheeses with fragrant floral, fruity and citrusy flavors. Use our selected cheeses as a guide to build your board, and add on your favorite varieties. Paired with the right other ingredients, you’ll assemble an unforgettable spread.

Ranch Water Cocktail Recipe

If you haven't heard of Ranch Water yet, prepare yourself because it's about to be everywhere. And, once you've tried it, it's easy to see why: Ranch Water is basically a not-sweet, super pared-down margarita ... with bubbles. Intrigued? Read on for the unbelievably easy recipe, plus our tips for setting up a Ranch Water serving station (on a bookshelf!).

Easy Bavarian-Style Soft Pretzels

Soft, chewy pretzels are a frequent sight in German biergartens and the perfect salty companion to beer and (yum!) beer cheese. Up your Oktoberfest game this year and bake up a batch of these chewy munchables that are perfect for dipping. Learn how to make this fun, easy dish in just a few steps using readymade dough.

How to Make a Skeleton Cookie Charcuterie Board for Halloween

Frighten up your Halloween party table with this scary-cute skeleton bone cookie board. The spaces between the cookies overflow with sweet and salty treats to create an interactive, crowd-pleasing dessert display.

Trenne Primavera

This pasta dish is easy, elegant and perfect for a dinner party.

Swordfish Skewers Glazed With Sweet and Sour Sauce

For a sophisticated but simple dinner party recipe, prepare glazed swordfish.

Goat Cheese Quesadillas With Tomato and Corn Salsa Recipe

Quesadillas are classy nibbles for a glamping party, and they're easy to make with a camp stove.

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