Spring is finally here, and although we’re going through uncertain times, it’s hard not to appreciate the weather warming up, the plush green grass, and flowers blooming left and right.
The sparse winter gives way to a large variety of beautiful, nutrient-rich produce that comes into season during the spring. Here are a few delicious suggestions of what to do with it:
Carrots are Queen
Carrots are a sweet root vegetable which allows them to absorb lots of nutrients from the soil. High in vitamins A, K and some B, they keep the immune system functioning effectively. They can accommodate many palates as they’re fantastic cooked or raw. For a low carb option, they can be turned into “noodles” and tossed with bean sprouts, peanuts, a splash of rice vinegar, red onion, garlic and even a bit of cabbage for a Thai-style noodle salad. If you fancy their sweeter side, cut them into medallions, coat in a little avocado oil, salt, pepper and maple syrup and pop them in the oven to roast for a healthy dessert-like alternative.
Now is an excellent time to get back to your roots and reconnect with the earth. Beets have a strong earthy flavor that pairs well with lighter and crispier food, so adding them to salads is great. They can be eaten raw but are best when cooked: cube and boil them, and store them in a container in the fridge, ready to add to any salad. You can enhance their flavor profile by squeezing a bit of lemon or lime and a sprinkle of salt on them after boiling - leave them to marinate in the refrigerator.
The best recipe I’ve found to pair them with is a salad of mandarins, arugula (another crop in season), feta (for dairy-free readers try a feta from tofu or cheese substitute like chao) and chopped walnuts, pistachios or pecans. The key to making a delicious salad is variety.
Eating Well for Everyone
It won't be long until the sweet and tart strawberry is finally ripe for the picking. Their high water and natural salicylic acid content do wonders for the complexion. Strawberries seem to fit in anywhere with any meal and are even tasty on their own but seem to be a match made in heaven with bananas and almond milk in the blender for a fruity smoothie. You can always add a scoop of plant-based vanilla protein powder or Greek (or dairy free) yogurt for a more satiating snack or meal replacement. A great tip for the perfect smoothie consistency: use frozen bananas!
Too Early for Grilling?
Never - even if the weather hasn’t warmed up entirely enough to grill outdoors, artichokes and asparagus can be done on an indoor grill or even a cast iron! The key is in giving them a high flavor taste. Artichokes seem to be underrated. However, high percentages of folate, vitamins K and C, fiber as well as heart and liver health-promoting properties, make artichokes one of the highest-ranking antioxidant-rich vegetables. That's not to forget asparagus, however, which has many of the same vitamins and minerals but also includes chromium, which aids in blood sugar regulation. Pairing lemon, garlic, olive oil and fresh parsley with asparagus is nothing short of delicious. As far as artichokes are concerned, once grilled, add a smear of home-made spicy aioli; we love a homemade “mayo” made from aquafaba (chickpea brine) and add paprika and cayenne for a low-fat alternative.
As we journey through uncertain times, it's important to enjoy the little things. If eating well hasn’t been a priority the past few months, now might be the time to change things up. Wishing you good health.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Madison Eubanks is Holistic Wellness Practitioner and a graduate of Southwest Institute of Healing Arts. Nutrition and Urban Farming are not only her areas of expertise, but her passion; she loves educating people on the healing powers of food and how they can allow it to “be thy medicine”. Madison also has certifications as a health and life coach and is a 200-Hour Registered Yoga Teacher. She has been a dedicated vegan for over four years, believing it to be one of the best choices she has ever made: ‘there is no better diet that takes in consideration for human health, the environment and animal welfare’.