Spring has arrived, and with it has come the annual plethora of bright, seasonal vegetables. Grocery stores and farmers markets are filled with a sea of green goodness: Huge bunches of arugula, asparagus, and baby spinach look so tempting, taste wonderful, and are packed full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Globe artichokes are packed full of magnesium, an energizing mineral that will literally put a spring in your step. Serve them simply steamed, so they don’t lose any of their nutrients, and savor the taste of the plump leaves and rich heart, as you dip them in simple lemon butter.
Arugula is definitely a favorite salad leaf: The fresh leaves have a peppery spice and are so versatile. Filled with vitamins A, C, and K, as well as plenty of iron, make sure eat as much arugula as you can in springtime, when the leaves are at their tastiest. Whizz it up in pesto to be tossed with pasta, pile it on top of pizza to add some nutritional goodness to your pie, or make a sunny salad centered on this seasonal leaf.
We know that these green spears are now available all year round, but they really are a million times tastier when they’re eaten in season, and grown by a local farmer. The vitamin A in asparagus will help boost your immune system, vitamin K will help your body transport calcium to your bones, and folate is a mood enhancer, naturally improving your happiness levels.
Fava beans are a highly underappreciated ingredient. They’re one of the oldest cultivated plants in the USA, they’re a fantastic source of fiber, iron, and protein, and they naturally work to lower your cholesterol. They can be incorporated into your dinner party in so many ways: Start your dinner with a simple fava bean hummus, enjoy them in a spring vegetable ragù, or pile them on toast for the prettiest crostini.
Filled with vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, fennel is a delicate vegetable that will add a sophisticated taste to your dinner party. Citrus pairs so well with fennel, so make the most of the last of the winter’s fresh citrus, and combine fennel with your favorite citrus fruit in the early weeks of spring.
They may not seem like the most interesting vegetable, but leeks are a secret superfood, bursting with vitamins A, C, and K. They’re super easy to incorporate into your dinner party menu, either using them in a pasta sauce, in risotto, as a side dish, or in a springtime salad.
You may not think that lettuce has a season, as it’s so widely available all year round, but it really is at its best in early spring. Make sure you avoid the pointless water-filled iceberg lettuce, and allow the tastier, healthier leaves to show off their spectacular simple selves in an antioxidant packed salad.
Never underestimate the power of the little pink radish. Not only can they pack in a surprising amount of flavor into their peppery body, but they are also a fantastic source of vitamin C. Make sure you don’t throw away the leaves, which are a great source of calcium and protein — they’re great in pesto, salad, or soup.
Scallions may seem too common to have a season, but they really do. Spring is the best time to enjoy these baby onions, which can be so much more than a garnish on your salad. Grill them, char them, and make sure you use both the white and the green part to get the most flavor out of them. They’re great for all you allergy sufferers, as they’re rich in antioxidants, which act like an antihistamine.
Baby spinach leaves are at their peak in early spring. Packed full of vitamin C and folate, spinach will boost your immune system and will give you an extra kick of energy. Toss the leaves in a salad, serve them as a healthy side, or cook them in a soup.
Spring garlic, also known as green garlic, or young garlic, is simply garlic that hasn’t fully matured yet. It can be used where you would have used regular garlic, but will have a fresher, more delicate, taste and aroma. This baby garlic is a favorite amongst dieters, as it contains allicin, which stops you from over-eating by stimulating satiety in the brain.
We don’t need to tell you how sensational ripe strawberries are. It really is worth waiting for strawberries to come into season before you buy them, as their taste totally transforms when they’re perfectly ripe and juicy. To make sure you really make the most of these little antioxidant- and vitamin C-filled superfoods, use them in salads, as well as in everything sweet that you bake this spring.
Watercress is an often overlooked superfood. These delicate little leaves pack a punch when it comes to flavor and health benefits. They have a powerful, spicy taste, are much crisper than other salad leaves, and the health benefits are endless. Watercress leaves contain more vitamin C than an orange, more vitamin A and beta-carotene than tomatoes, and they’re bursting with potassium, protein, and magnesium.