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Recipe: The Lemony Pleasures of Spring Cooking

Lemon is the flavor I crave most when spring is approaching. Let its zing wake up your meals from morning to night.

Recipes that use lemon. Lemon roast chicken.

I fall in love with lemons again every spring. There’s something about the wakeful zing of the tangy citrus that perfectly captures the joyful possibilities of a world getting ready to bloom.

The health benefits of lemons can’t be overstated, from immune-boosting vitamin C, magnesium, and bioflavonoids to antimicrobial and antiviral compounds to help your body fight infections and aid digestion. In short, lemons are a healthy, delicious super-food.

Here are some of my favorite ways to cook with lemons:

  • Half a lemon and a teaspoon of honey stirred into hot water for a hydrating, throat-soothing drink
  • Lemon squeezed into a bowl of chicken soup
  • Lemon zest, olive oil, and a pinch of kosher salt stirred into cooked spring peas
  • Lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and dill whisked into a fresh, light salad dressing
  • Lemon juice mixed with powdered sugar and a little water to make a simple glaze to drizzle over simple pound cake

The flavor enhancement of a lemon is only part of its springtime appeal. There’s also its aroma. A deep inhale of a freshly cut lemon is somehow simultaneously calming and invigorating. It’s fresh and alive, clean, and full of potential. In other words, it’s a joyful nose-full of spring (minus the seasonal allergy risk).

I’d love to hear your favorite ways to use lemons in the kitchen. Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with the easy lemony roast chicken recipe that’s on my family’s menu this weekend.

Recipe: Roasted Lemon Garlic Chicken
Serves 4


  • 1 chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 lemons, cut into quarters
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • ½ cup garlic lemon green olives (or your favorite garlicky olives), chopped
  • Granulated garlic
  • Dried thyme
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • Olive oil


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the chopped onions around the pan, and arrange the chicken pieces on top. Sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper, granulated garlic, and thyme. Give the lemon quarters a strong squeeze over the chicken, and wedge the lemons between the chicken pieces. Sprinkle the olives around the pan. Drizzle olive oil over the whole pan, and gently massage the oil over the chicken and onions to coat (don’t rub off the seasoning!). Roast for an hour and serve hot, with lemon wedges for an extra citrusy zing.

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