Everyone loves Spring (minus the allergies) even just the colors popping up everywhere and the buzz of people outdoors again makes me smile. One of my favorite things and something I look forward to all winter is the Farmers Market in the Springtime. With the return of color, comes variety and lighter flavors that make mouths (at least mine) happy! Let me introduce you to my five favorite springtime veggies that you can pick up locally now to liven up your meals and while you are at it, maybe even whittle your middle!
1. Fiddle Head Ferns – say what? Yup, they are as much fun to eat as they are to say. These green spirals are not only full of antioxidants but they are a plant-based source of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. Also high in fiber they are the perfect side dish that will keep you healthy, satisfied and impress any dinner guest! My fav way to enjoy: to cook these babies by steaming or boiling them until tender then sauté them in olive oil, garlic, sea salt and pepper.
2. Zucchini – OK I know this one is a good old staple and nothing new but who doesn’t love zucchini and the many different things you can do with it! From zoodles to chips to fries and bread, let’s not knock a good sturdy standby that is high in water and low in calories! My fav way to enjoy slice it really thin with my mandolin, brush both sides with olive or coconut oil, add a dash of sea salt and slow bake until they become crispy chips that I put on top of EVERYTHING!
3. Asparagus – these sturdy stalks are popping up everywhere as the warm weather approaches. Reasons why I love asparagus: A) they are hard to mess up B) you can cook them in so many different ways (roast, steam, sauté, shave) and C) they are so damn good with eggs! Not only are these green veggies full of fiber (weight loss tool) they are also a natural diuretic so if you are feeling puffy from all the heat they’ll help you out! On top of all that, they are LOADED with antioxidants so they’ll help you to fight off disease all while tasting great. More, please! My fav way to enjoy: shave them into thin strips with my veggie peeler and to add them raw to salads or to quickly soften and add them to omelets. They go great with goat or feta cheese too….parm if you are roasting!
4. Ramps – These delicious mild not-quite-onions, not-quite-garlic and stronger-than-leeks plant is abundant in the spring for literally a hot second. Not only do they add depth and flavor to a dish, they are so seasonal, we simply miss them when they are gone. My fav way to enjoy: cooking them into my eggs or sprinkling on top of some chicken or fish. I keep them involved in light meals and enjoy all the flavor they have to give!
5. Radishes – let’s move away from the greens for a second and relish in the red, purple and white beauty of radishes! I love these crunchy, peppery veggies since they add so much beauty and texture to any salads. On the nutrition side they are loaded with fiber, are a natural diuretic, have only 19 calories per cup and fight heart disease. They even promote skin health due to the zinc and vitamin C, which helps to prevent aging and enhances healing. Yum, right?! My fav way to enjoy: eat them raw on road trips to prevent mindless snacking and excess cals. Sometimes if I’m at home a drizzle of olive oil and a dash of sea salt is all I need to keep away from those pretzels!
So for your first Springtime market trip don’t get overwhelmed now that you can buy more than winter squash, cauliflower and potatoes, rather rejoice in the colors and try something new….always simple and purely delicious! Shop local, eat seasonally and feel great!