Sweet leek carbonara

March is sometimes called the ‘hungry gap’ by gardeners, due to it marking the tail end of winter veg season while bountiful crops are still a little way off. But there are some real gems to look out for.

Although the garden might not be heaving with produce, this time of year sees the appearance of purple sprouting broccoli, spring greens, forced rhubarb and wild garlic. Here’s a selection of our favourite March fruit and veg along with delicious ways to enjoy them, be it in salads, pasta or a veggie tarte tatin!

Looking for more seasonal inspiration? Take a look at our round-up of the best seasonal produce, month by month.

Giving the classic Italian pasta dish a veg boost, this recipe champions leeks, which taste better than ever in March. Take a little time to slowly cook them down, then add thyme and plenty of cracked black pepper and say hello to your new favourite pasta recipe!

MORE: Lovely leek recipes

A quintessentially British combo! Our rhubarb and custard tart pairs layers of poached rhubarb with creamy custard to create the ultimate dinner-party dessert. Topped with flaked almonds and a drizzle of fruity syrup, this is one of our top recipes to make with beautiful forced rhubarb in March.

MORE: 10 tasty rhubarb recipes

Now is the time to look out for delicious wild garlic on your woodland walks. The young leaves, which appear now, have a delicate, sweet garlic flavour that’s amazing in a wild garlic pesto, or try this pasta dish with crispy, peppery Cumberland sausage.

This is such a simple pasta, yet it really packs a big punch and allows each ingredient to really sing. By only cooking the spring greens briefly they keep their fantastic colour and taste. 

This is the dish to make you think differently about cauliflower, that traditional British veg. Cinnamon and chilli gently spice a tomato and olive stew, while dried fruit brings a sweetness and the cauli an earthiness. 

In March, this long-stemmed brassica is at its sweetest. It’s delicious steamed, roasted, boiled or baked – plus, it’s really good for you. Try sprouting broccoli in this colourful frittata, or go for the super-simple Pan-roasted salmon where a handful of ingredients cooked with love and care really shine.

More fragrant than larger bulb onions, spring onions are just gorgeous in March and work really well in salads, soups and stir-fries. Enjoy their lovely tangy flavour as a garnish for this tasty fish stew.

Hungry for more? Take inspiration from our budget-friendly hub, full of £1 wonders, batch-cook recipes and more brilliant tips and recipes