6 recipes using spring produce
Spring is all about green. Our landscapes grow lush with the rebirth of plants and trees, and green vegetables come back in abundance. And if you prefer to save some money and protect the environment by shopping seasonally, you will be rewarded with plenty of varieties to choose from! Every season - summer, autumn, winter and spring - has a menu of specific produce that you should take advantage of while you can. Some spring favourites include asparagus, peas, green beans, leeks and spinach. All are all are cheap, versatile and easy to use.
Put a ‘spring’ in your step, and enjoy the added nutritional benefits of local, seasonal produce, with these easy, green recipes
1. Spring green smoothie
In a blender, combine 1 large handful of spinach, 1 granny smith apple, 1 stalk of celery, 1 handful of parsley, 1/4 avocado, 1 cup of almond milk and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Add ice, if desired.
2. Savoury spring green porridge
Add 1/2 cup of rolled oats, 1/2 grated zucchini and 1 cup of water to a pan, bring to the boil then gently simmer for 8-10 minutes. Add more water if needed. Meanwhile, and 2 large handfuls of spinach into a blender and process until semi-puree. Remove and add to the porridge, stirring through with 1/2 cup of green peas. Top with 1 sliced spring onion, a poached egg and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
3. Asparagus, pea and ricotta frittataPreheat oven to 180C. Finely chop 2 bunches of asparagus spears. Saute in a hot pan with olive oil, 2 cloves of crushed garlic and 1 cup of fresh green peas. Whisk 6 eggs and season with salt and pepper. Pour eggs over the vegetables, and top with crumbled ricotta. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until set.
4. Brown rice risotto with silverbeet and leek
Wash and slice one leek into 2cm disks, and saute in a hot pan with olive oil. When the leek starts to soften, add 1/3 cup brown rice and 2 cups of vegetable stock. Stir for 15 minutes, or until rice starts to soften and the liquid absorbs. Meanwhile, wash and roughly shred 1 bunch of silverbeet leaves, and shave 1/3 cup parmesan cheese. When the rice is almost cooked, add the silverbeet and parmesan and stir until leaves have wilted.
5. Balsamic strawberry, walnut and spinach saladWash 2 cups of baby spinach leaves and place in a bowl. Halve one-punnet of strawberries and place in a hot pan with 2tbs balsamic vinegar, 1tbs olive oil and 1tsp honey. Stir for 1-2 minutes, until strawberries start to absorb flavour, but not soften too much. Top the salad with the strawberries and pan juices, and finish with ½ cup crumbled feta.
6. Spring bean salad
In a pot of boiling water, blanch one handful each of trimmed green beans and asparagus for 3-5 minutes, they should remain crisp and bright green. Refresh under cold water. Add 1 cup of fresh broad beans into the boiling water for 2 minutes. Refresh under cold water. Slice the beans and asparagus into thirds and remove the shells from the broad beans. Place vegetables in a bowl and toss with 1/4 shredded cabbage, 1/3 cup sesame seeds, a handful of bean shoots, a drizzle of olive oil, ½ tsp sesame oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Written by Samantha Cowan - a Melbourne based Accredited Practising Dietitian and Sports Dietitian who believes that healthy eating should be flavoursome, fast and fuss-free.