The Best Mother's Day Recipes for a Homemade Celebration

Cook the best spring meal ever for the best mom ever.

Roasted Salmon Recipe | FWCooks
Photo: Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop styling by Audrey Davis

Mother’s Day only happens once a year, and a homemade dinner, whether big or small, is a great way to make it feel special. Even better? It's a spring holiday, which means you can get creative with seasonal produce (asparagus! peas!) and fresh herbs. We've compiled several dishes that would make impressive additions to your table, from salads like little gem with toasted spice vinaigrette to mains such as roasted honey-dijon sheet-pan salmon. You can pick and choose from the categories below to make a menu, or just pick one dish and keep it simple. The gesture is meaningful all the same.

Salads to start

Little Gem Salad with Toasted Spice Vinaigrette Recipe
Eva Kolenko

If you’re looking for a lettuce-based salad, you can try our Smoky Caesar, which swaps anchovies for canned smoked trout, or this pictured Little Gem Salad with Toasted Spice Vinaigrette from cookbook author Aria Adjani — the homemade sourdough croutons add an extra special touch, and leftover spiced dressing can be used as a marinade for chicken or fish. F&W Cooks contributor Andrea Slonecker’s broccoli rabe-avocado salad, on the other hand, gets the bulk of its greens from the cruciferous vegetable, as well as minced fresh chives and chopped flat-leaf parsley.

Our bright spring farro salad also includes chives and flat-leaf parsley, with the addition of seasonal vegetables like radishes and sugar snap peas.

Seasonal soups

Chilled Spring Pea Soup
© Quentin Bacon

Peas are a spring staple, so pea soup would definitely be a nice seasonal touch. Chef Daniel Boulud's version, pictured, is served chilled, so it’s deliciously light and clean tasting. You could also try TV chef Carla Hall’s creamy asparagus soup with savory Parmesan shortbread coins — both are “dead simple” to make, she says. Or, for something different entirely, make a lovely, herb-forward matzo ball soup.

Pastas and grains

Garganelli with Speck Peas and Scallion Cream
Victor Protasio

Recipe developer Liz Mervosh’s pasta primavera recipe is packed with vegetables — asparagus, carrots, and sugar snap peas, plus fresh herbs. This broccoli rabe risotto is studded with fresh tarragon and parsley and savory Parmesan cheese, then served with grilled lemon and mascarpone cheese. If you want something still seasonal with a little meat, try the Garganelli with Speck, Peas, and Scallion Cream, shown above. The creamy sauce is bright green and garlicky, and the salty speck, mint, lemon juice, and zest added at the end provide a nice contrast.

Meaty mains

Roast Chicken with Hot Honey Recipe
John Kernick

Although the total time on our Roast Chicken with Hot Honey, shown above, sounds long, a good chunk is devoted to letting the honey infuse and pre-seasoning the chicken. Once those are ready, the dish comes together fairly quickly. (Feel free to skip the edible flowers if you can’t find them.) If you’d prefer pork, chef Alex Hrabovsky’s pork tenderloin recipe is paired with a rich sauce starring pork jus, strawberries, and Merlot. As for steak? Food writer Paola Briseño González’s recipe for skirt steak and asparagus is paired with salsa de semillas, a beloved Mexican nut-based salsa.

Mains from the sea

Roasted Salmon Recipe | FWCooks
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop styling by Audrey Davis

We’re big fans of sheet-pan meals (fewer dishes to wash, less mess) and cookbook author Susan Spungen’s roasted honey-dijon salmon (pictured) is a winner, organized so that you can prep for the next step while the previous step is in motion. Cod with Lemony Leeks, Snap Peas, and Herbs from food writer Colu Henry is a simple, elegant main course that’s ready in just 35 minutes. There’s also never a bad time for shrimp and grits, and chef Isaac Toups' take features a chowchow made with mustard seeds, green tomatoes, and red bell pepper.

Meat-free mains

Palak "Paneer" with Pressed Ricotta
Photo by Christopher Testani / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Kathleen Cook Varner

The aforementioned pasta primavera recipe is meat-free, but if you’re looking for more meatless dishes, try these. F&W associate food editor Paige Grandjean’s veggie main (pictured) of palak paneer is bright and delicious; sweet potato fans should consider chef Spike Gjerde's sweet potato steaks, glazed with honey and served with brussels sprouts. And chef Missy Robbins’ chickpea topping for a spicy pomodoro sauce is quick and simple.

Don’t forget the sides

Roasted Asparagus and Mushrooms
Eva Kolenko

A drizzle of syrupy aged balsamic is the finishing touch for this simple roasted asparagus and mushroom dish (pictured), ready in just two steps. We also love roasting baby artichokes and sprinkling them with mint and parsley. If the mom or mom-figure in your life is craving smashed potatoes, try this recipe from food writer Alison Roman, which provides pointers for achieving the perfect crisp texture. Because it's all about keeping mom happy.

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