Want to know what’s in season in May? Looking for May recipe ideas? Use leafy broccoli, jersey royal potatoes, fiery radish and watercress from your local greengrocer to make these seasonal dishes and bakes. We’ve included plenty of tips for how to shop for particular varieties, prepping guides and useful ideas to use up leftovers.

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After, check out our best June recipes, July recipes and August recipes.


Watercress

In season from April to September, this peppery little leaf has a slight mustardy kick and crunchy, refreshing stems. With its deep green leaves and slightly bitter flavour, watercress is a highly nutritious and versatile ingredient. Toss it into salads, whizz into soups or add into stir-fries to add a gentle earthiness or sauces to pour over baked salmon. Look for bunches rather than bags as it will retain its flavour and crunch longer – store in a glass of water in the fridge before using to keep the leaves crisp. Try more of our watercress recipes here.

Watercress and asparagus emmer risotto

Emmer is an ancient wholegrain which works well in this creamy risotto with plenty of spring greens, pecorino and white wine.

Watercress risotto in a bowl with asparagus on top

Prawn and watercress stir-fry

Watercress adds peppery notes to this saucy stir-fry. It's low in calories and perfect for a springtime dinner.

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Prawn and watercress stir fry

Get-your-greens soup

Loaded with green veg and potato for creaminess, this immune-supportive soup needs just a splash of cream to become a hearty, warming lunch.

Three bowls of green soup

Mackerel

Mackerels start arriving at UK shores in April or May and they stay until the cooler months kick in. They’re at their best and most locally caught in late spring/summer. Ensure the fish you buy has bright eyes, shiny skin and is firm to the touch. Its oily flesh means it can withstand strong flavours such as chilli, citrus and herbs. Roast or grill it until the skin lightly blisters and the flesh is opaque and flaky.

Masala mackerel

Mackerel's oily flesh means it can withstand punchy flavours – chilli and citrus are used alongside ginger, tamarind, cumin and garam masala.

Two plates of a tomato and chickpea mixture topped with two fillets each of crisp-skinned fish, alongside two glasses of wine on a white wooden background

Smoked mackerel Caesar salad

This is an upgraded classic that's perfect for summer with smoked mackerel and crispy onions. The classic caesar dressing also works well with chicken salads, new potatoes or salmon.

A white plate of lettuce, mackerel and croutons slicked in a creamy dressing

Mackerel puttanesca with orzo

This colourful, low-calorie mackerel dinner calls for seared mackerel fillets, a quick puttanesca sauce and orzo pasta, and it's all ready in 20 minutes.

A mackerel fillet on a bed of orzo pasta with a tomato sauce and rocket leaves

Spring onion

Spring onions are the young shoots of standard onions, before the bulb has had a chance to grow and develop. This produces a sweeter, milder allium flavour that can be used raw in salads or as a garnish – both the green and white parts add flavour and crunch. Spring onions often get overlooked as a side dish, as they’re usually just a base for flavour but, when braised, they’re great with a roast.

Braised spring onions with lemon and capers

Braise spring onions with lemon and herbs, and you have a spotlight-stealing side dish for a roast.

a white oval dish of cooked spring onions in a light sauce on a white cloth

Cheese and onion quiche

Using spring onions alongside ready-made pastry cuts down the cooking time so you can bake this classic vegetarian tart midweek.

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Occe (spring onion fritters)

Dunk these pan-fried, herby spring onion fritters into a garlicky yogurt dip and enjoy alongside a Turkish meze-style spread.

Occe (spring onion fritters) on a plate

Lamb

Although available all year, lamb is prized for being at its most tender and succulent in spring. It’s quite an expensive meat if you’re looking for a rack or whole leg but some of the cheaper, harder-working cuts, such as shoulder, neck and breast, hold a lot of flavour – once slow cooked, they also yield meltingly tender results.

Slow-cooked lamb shawarma

This lamb shoulder is slathered with a punchy marinade of garlic, ginger, cumin, fennel, turmeric and cinnamon, then slow-roasted for a fall-apart texture and served with homemade harissa.

A lamb joint on a wooden board with a pot of red chunky sauce, a couple of forks and some flatbread

Lamb shank nihari

In Pakistan, this dish is traditionally cooked all night and eaten for breakfast with hot, freshly made naans. It’s often made with extra bones so the marrow enriches the curry further, whilst a homemade nihari masala spice mix takes this dish to the next level of flavour.

A dish filled with lamb shanks in a deep brown curry broth with lime wedges on the side

Rolled lamb leg with salsa verde

Pair fresh, zingy, vibrant salsa verde with lamb for a zesty alternative to your usual stuffing – it's a summery twist on a classic Sunday roast.

Rolled lamb joint in a roasting tin surrounded by green broad beans and a small pot of salsa verde, next to a bowl of carrots and potatoes

Jersey Royals

Prized for their creamy texture and delicate papery skins, this variety is often seen as the best in class when it comes to new potatoes. Their Protected Designation of Origin status makes them distinguishable from other new potatoes, but their texture is what really stands out. Simply boil and toss them in butter, cook and slice into salads or frittatas, or roast them in olive oil so their flavour concentrates and becomes an incredible carrier for the punchy salsa in the recipe below. Check out our favourite Jersey Royals recipes.

Roast new potatoes with chilli crab salsa

A light and sunny way to enjoy Jersey Royals, with chilli-flecked white crab meat. Perfect served as a light lunch with a glass of cold, crisp white wine in the garden.

Roast new potatoes with chilli crab salsa

Jersey Royal, broad bean and chorizo salad

Make the most of baby new potatoes in this super crispy chorizo salad served with peppery rocket, vibrant broad beans all tossed in oily garlic.

Broad Bean and Chorizo Salad Recipe with New Potatoes

Crispy smashed Jersey Royals

Looking for a new easy potato recipe? Check out these super crispy, buttery and garlicky smashed potatoes. Aperfect side for an impressive dinner with friends.

Smashed New Potatoes Recipe

Broccoli

The humble broccoli has so much to offer. Try roasting florets until golden tinged, then scattering over a blanket of finely grated parmesan; cutting into wedges and roasting on the BBQ with red pepper and spicy salsas spooned over; slow cooking until soft and yielding, then stirring through pasta; or serving in a squidgy sandwich with salty anchovies and creamy mozzarella. Look for dark green heads with the stalk and leaves intact. Don’t forget the stalk – chop finely and cook along with the florets as they hold so much flavour and reduce waste. Here are our favourite broccoli recipes to let it shine.

Broccoli and mozzarella focaccia

Overcooking broccoli really can be a thing of joy. It becomes soft, squidgy and deeply satisfying in this salty, chewy sarnie made with homemade focaccia.

Broccoli and mozzarella focaccia

Broccoli pasta bake

Add some green goodness to the classic cheesy pasta bake with florets of broccoli. Dijon mustard and a pinch of chilli flakes ensure a punchy sauce.

Broccoli and cheese pasta bake in a baking dish

Japanese chicken and broccoli curry

Try this Japanese chicken curry with broccoli and mushrooms. Add white miso and soy sauce to your curry sauce for an umami-rich midweek meal.

Japanese Chicken Curry Recipe with Broccoli and Mushrooms

Radish

The fiery flavour and crisp texture of radishes makes them perfect for adding to salads or serving whole with dipping salts and butter. Varieties include watermelon, mooli, black radishes and the classic breakfast radish. Choose ones that are unblemished and firm-skinned – and shock in cold water for extra crunch. Find plenty of radish recipes here.

Steak and radish tacos

Fresh, crunchy, peppery radishes work well in tacos paired with tender steak. This marinade is great with chicken thighs or pork fillet, too.

Steak and radish tacos

Miso buttered roast radishes

Peppery pink radishes steal the limelight in this simple side, with white miso, sesame seeds and soy sauce

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Miso buttered roast radishes

Chicken schnitzel with pickled radishes

Serve your next crispy chicken schnitzel with a colourful side of quick-pickled radishes, flavoured with dill, cucumber and fennel.

Chicken schnitzel with pickled radishes

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Anna GloverSenior food editor

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