Spring into flavor with 5 fresh food ideas for warmer months

crab cakes and pasta

Do the warmer weather, sunshine, gentle breezes and beautiful blossoms have you in a spring state of mind? The change of seasons also signals it's time to change things up in the kitchen. Spring is inspirational as fresh flavors complement the season of renewal, awakening taste buds in new and exciting ways.

There are many ways to jazz up your dishes and enjoy lighter, brighter fare. So open your windows, take a deep breath and get ready to celebrate spring with these five scrumptious food ideas:

Feeling fine anytime with feta

Looking to add a zesty, savory kick to salads or pasta dishes? Look no further than Nikos Feta cheese. This award-winning American version of the classic Mediterranean cheese is made from cows’ milk and has a milder, less salty taste than its Greek cousin. Nikos Feta cheese’s soft, crumbly texture and tangy taste make it the perfect addition to any dish in need of a little pizzazz.

Feature fresh fare in your spring dishes

Head to your local farmers market or grocery store and pick out some fresh produce and enjoy flavors plucked locally. One can't-miss fruit of spring is strawberries, with peak season being April to June in the United States. From pies and smoothies to an irresistible Strawberry and Feta Salad, you're sure to bask in the bounty of fresh produce during springtime.

Bubbly delights quench your thirst

Sayonara, soda! When you crave something bubbly but want to skip the excess sugar, there's an easy way to toast to the arrival of spring. Simply grab some sparkling water and add your own flavor enhancements like sliced strawberries, chopped pineapple or segments of citrus fruit. Have fun mixing and matching flavors for a customized drink perfect for you.

Delight in dip to add fun and flavor to favorite foods

When the munchies hit there's nothing more satisfying than something crunchy. From pretzels and whole grain crackers to a variety of veggie straws, stock up and then make your own dip for a healthier alternative come snack time. Why not give Avocado and Feta dip a try? Ripe avocados are delicious during spring months, plus the feta and splash of lime really enhance the fresh flavors.

Slide into spring with Feta Artichoke Crab Sliders

From food trucks to five-star restaurants, sliders can be found on menus across the country, but there's no better place to whip up a mouth-watering batch than your very own kitchen. Try the award-winning recipe for Feta Artichoke Crab Sliders and enjoy iconic spring flavors so tasty there won't be any leftovers.

Ingredients:

3/4 pound crab meat
1 cup Nikos Mediterranean Feta cheese
1/2 cup bottled artichoke hearts, chopped
1 cup breadcrumbs
2 green onions, chopped
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
2 limes, juiced
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 dozen slider buns, split

Directions:

In a large bowl, stir crab meat with feta, chopped artichoke hearts, bread crumbs and green onions.

In a small bowl, whisk egg, mayonnaise, mustard, lime juice and cayenne pepper. Fold into feta mixture. Form mixture into 2-inch patties, then chill for 20-30 minutes.

Heat butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, until sizzling. Add 5 to 6 Feta-Artichoke Crab patties at a time and cook 4 minutes, turning once, until golden. Remove from skillet.

Serve each patty on a slider bun with condiments as desired. Serves 6-8 (two sliders per person).

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