How to Become a Spring-Time Chef

April 30, 2021

If shopping in the produce section for your plant-based meals is overwhelming, follow this simple guide to pick out nutritious and delicious goodies to cook up this Spring.

I’ve got spring fever! Yay for the start of the growing season and the season of farmer’s markets, CSAs and all the plant-based goodies. Let’s take a look at some of the fruits and veggies we have coming our way this spring and what delicious dishes we can make.

  • You probably have heard a lot about “ramps season”. Ramps look like a green onion that tastes like garlic. They are not hard to miss, mostly because of their smell but also due to the fact that you can only find them for a short time in the spring and we go crazy for them! Ramps are packed with vitamin A and C, making them essential to our eye health and immune system. They also are known for their antioxidant content, an important element our bodies need to fight off cancer-causing free radicals.  So how should we use this nutritious allium? I recommend throwing these on the grill, serving them in your salad or as a side to add in to your entree such as a sandwich. They are so flavorful and can elevate almost any dish!
  • Next up we have asparagus. Where to even start with this superstar?! You may find these stalks as the traditional green variety, or white, or even purple. Asparagus is loaded with nutrients. They are a great addition to a balanced diet. Some nutrients to highlight are Fiber, keeps cholesterol down and gut healthy, Magnesium and Calcium for muscle and bone health, Vitamin K  for blood clotting and bone health, and Riboflavin and Thiamin, B vitamins that are essential for digestion of macronutrients and brain function. Asparagus is best simply roasted with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Or if you want to get creative with your veggie sushi rolls, you can put these in your roll to add a little crunch.
  • Let’s not forget the overlooked green peas. Fresh green peas get a bad rep because of canned and frozen peas, that can be like eating overcooked mush. Also, it’s the go-to veggie you see at every dinner table on tv and in movies. But if you get a batch of freshly grown peas, you may change your mind about this legume. Also a green vegetable that boasts Vitamin K, Fiber, and Vitamin C. Additionally peas are a good plant source for Protein. Great as a stand alone side dish, in a salad, or my personal favorite is a green pea pesto you can add to toast or pasta.
  • The most favorite fruit, strawberries! No one doesn’t love strawberries. If you are given a bowl of fruit salad, I guarantee you pick out and eat the strawberries first. Strawberries are Vitamin C bombs! Keeping our immune system strong, aids in absorbing iron, and promotes wound healing. If you want to do more than have these as a snack, they go great in a smoothie, or as an addition to a spinach salad with some almonds or pecans, or even as a homemade compote.
  • Greens don’t always have to be spinach or kale, another option you may find in the spring is swiss chard. Rainbow chard has those beautiful rainbow-colored stalks that immediately draw you in. Swiss chard is another great source for your Vitamins A, C, and K. Use these colorful and versatile greens in a basic veggie saute or in soup, but if you are looking to get creative, try using it in a quiche recipe. This can be a dairy based quiche or a vegan quiche.
  • Artichokes don’t get a lot of love outside of the mediterranean area. They are such a great vegetable, packed with nutrients, and great flavor. No wonder it’s everyone’s favorite party dip! Another micronutrient-rich veggie that you can’t miss. My favorite go-to veggie for Potassium, an important mineral for controlling blood pressure. Don’t get intimidated by a raw artichoke. Once you have these prepped and cooked, they are a great snack, or addition to almost any dish. I love to chop them up and throw them into my veggie tacos, or in my bowl of pasta. Really goes well in almost anything!
  • And finally, we have the best and messiest springtime snack, cherries. I love eating a handful of cherries and end up with red, sticky fingers. This fruit supplies a hearty dose of Fiber, Vitamin C, and Potassium to your diet. Besides eating these as a snack, there is nothing more delicious than a tart cherry pie.

Hope this list helps eliminate some of that “writer’s block” we get when thinking of what to cook or dishes to make. If there was ever a time to get cooking in the kitchen, it’s spring and summer. So don’t waste any time!