Spring is obviously a wonderful time for foodies and cooks alike. The variety of fruits and veggies available make for many light and bright dishes that are easy to put together. Plus, if you agree that spring symbolizes new beginnings, it’s all the more reason for getting on board with your health goals starting this season! To help you get motivated with healthy eating, here are some veggies in season around NYC this spring. Each of them is packed with healthful goodness that’s sure to keep you feeling light, fit, and completely in sync with the season!
What’s spring without fresh peas? And no, they aren’t comparable to those found in a can. Peas are usually planted at the start of the year, making them a favorite at spring farmer’s markets. These little green gems are packed with protein and Vitamin K, along with manganese, B-vitamins and fiber. Plus, they’re low in fat and sodium, making them an excellent part of any meal. Grab a handful (or more!) of them for our yummy recipes below!
These green spears typically appear in late March and are only in season in New York for a few weeks. Popular as a spring veggie, asparagus boasts a long list of serious health perks. It’s a great source of B-vitamins, folic acid, and vitamin C, K, and E. Aside from being packed with antioxidants, it supplies you with lots of fiber, can boost your mood, and can help prevent UTIs. A cooking tip: it’s best to buy asparagus just before you plan to eat it, as it doesn’t really keep well.
Pea greens, the tender shoots of the plant, make for a great addition to salads and veggie stir fries. They’re a potent health powerhouse with their enzyme and phytonutrient content. Plus, they’re rich in folate and Vitamins A, C and K. Health studies say that they’re excellent in fighting inflammation, diabetes and heart disease, making them rank high among the best superfoods. If you’re a green smoothie enthusiast, you can add a handful of them to your morning smoothie for a massive health boost.
The wild version of leeks, ramps are a springtime green that have become a specialty at farmer’s markets and green grocers. Packed with flavor, ramps also offer various health benefits like boosting immunity and lowering bad cholesterol. This is no surprise, as this wild fare is high in iron, chromium and manganese, along with vitamins A and E.
Their unique, wild garlic-onion flavor shines in simple recipes where you can grill or sauté them. The same goes for adding them to various springtime recipes like soups and stir-fries. Ramps are usually short-lived in NYC, so you may have to keep your eyes peeled for them.
Because we love spring so much, here are two recipes you can easily put together using NYC’s freshest produce. And no, they’re not salads, but hearty, refreshing dishes that’ll fill your tummy (and heart!) with spring delight!
Spring Peas and Penne with Parmesan
This dish adds a springtime twist to your pasta. Healthy and filling, you’ll surely be rubbing your tummy with satisfaction!
3/4 cup fresh peas, shelled (about 1 pound)
1 medium bunch pea shoots (about 6 ounces)
1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3/4 pound penne pasta
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare the pasta as per package instructions, but set aside half a cup of the cooking water for later use.
- While waiting on the pasta, steam the peas for about 4 minutes, then transfer to a bowl.
- Steam the pea shoots for 2 minutes, then transfer to a chopping board. Set aside the steaming water for later use.
- Roughly chop the pea shoots then set aside.
- In a skillet, heat the oil then add the diced garlic. Add in the chopped scallions and cook for about 3 minutes.
- Stir in the pea shoots and cook for a minute.
- Mix in the peas, parsley and tarragon and stir.
- Add in a quarter cup of the steaming water, mix, then add salt and pepper to taste.
- Get half a cup of the pasta cooking water and add to the mix. Remove from heat.
- When the pasta is ready, drain and toss in with the skillet mix. Toss in some Parmesan, and serve hot!
Egg Drop Soup a la Spring
This veggie-packed spring soup recipe is perfect for springtime dinners!
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 pound asparagus, diagonally sliced
1/2 bunch of ramps, coarsely chopped
3 garlic bulbs or 2 cloves, thinly sliced
2 medium carrots, chopped
2/3 cup fresh peas, shelled
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
4 cups chicken broth (preferably low-sodium)
1-2 tablespoons Parmesan, grated
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- In a small bowl, prepare the egg mixture by beating the two eggs with salt, 1 tablespoon Parmesan, and 1 tablespoon water. Set aside.
- In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add in the garlic, carrots plus some salt to season.
- Lower the heat and stir vegetables occasionally, cooking for about 15 minutes.
- Once the carrots are soft, mix in the chicken broth and bring to a boil.
- Add in the peas and asparagus, cooking for about 3 minutes until vegetables are tender.
- Lower the heat and add in the ramps, mint and basil.
- Trickle in the prepared egg mixture in portions along different areas of the pot, mixing after each addition.
- Allow egg to set by letting stand for 1 minute. Then, stir in the lemon juice.
- Remove from fire and add more salt and lemon juice if desired. Serve steaming hot topped with more Parmesan!
Aside from adding a fresh twist to your meals, spring veggies bought locally are crisper, fresher, and more nutritious. Plus, buying locally can even help reduce our carbon footprint.
Whichever way you see it, there’s no healthier way to celebrate spring than to have these green goodies on your plate!