This Spring, Got Veggies?

Spring is my favorite season for a lot of reasons. Each morning, I look out into the garden and yet another bush is blooming. Purple yesterday, red today, maybe yellow tomorrow. It’s delightful! I also love the longer days, hanging out at Little League baseball games, and making sidewalk chalk designs.

But my biggest reason for loving spring is the vegetables that are in season at this time of year. By May, I feel done with winter squash, parsnips and rutabagas. I am so ready for asparagus, artichokes and salad greens. Out with the stews and soups, and in with the blanching, steaming and grilling.

If you have a challenging time getting enough vegetables into your diet, this is the perfect time of year to increase your veggie intake. Spring vegetables are so flavorful that you don’t need to work hard to make them delicious. Preparation is quick and easy and before you know it, you’ll be getting your five or more veggie servings a day.

Here are some practical ideas to get you started:

  1. Consider getting a weekly or bimonthly organic veggie delivery. Most people are much more likely to eat vegetables when they are delivered to their home – along with yummy recipes.
  2. Use a couple of hours on a Sunday to prepare salad fixings for the week. We wash salad greens (buying pre-washed greens is a great option too), steam asparagus, chop carrots, and slice cucumbers. It’s much easier to throw together a salad when you walk in the door if everything is ready to go.
  3. Never underestimate the yumminess of a sugar snap pea. These make a great addition to salads and are a big school lunch favorite in our house too. They’re wonderful in stir fries as well.
  4. A bed of just wilted spinach makes any dish more gourmet. I buy pre-washed baby spinach leaves and steam them for just a few minutes. Add a little lemon juice and olive oil and voila!
  5. Make a visit to the Farmer’s Market an opportunity for inspiration. Chat to farmers about their spring produce and get their favorite ways to eat their heirloom green beans, or succulent artichokes.
  6. Don’t forget spring herbs – garnish any dish with fresh parsley, and put fresh mint on top of a yummy fruit salad. Herbs add nutrition, color and flavor.
  7. Radishes are another spring favorite. I like them sliced raw in salads but they are also delicious roasted and tossed with a little soy sauce. People who don’t like radishes will be amazed at how good they taste when roasted.
  8. Chard is another leafy green that cooks in a snap. I like to sauté it with some garlic cloves and olive oil. Then toss it with some chickpeas for a light and nutritious side dish.
  9. Beets are a spring staple in our house. We steam the beets, then peel them and slice them for salads. While the beets are steaming, we sauté the beet greens in a little olive oil and eat them warm or cold.
  10. Use spring veggies in a morning smoothie. My hubby makes a banana, kale, apple, carrot drink for some extra morning nutrition.

I’d love to hear your spring veggie ideas!

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