Just the other day, Kate was talking to me about the health benefits of certain foods. I'm still learning what foods will provide me with enough nutrients for healthy living. Then I thought of all of the spring vegetables that are slowing creeping into the markets.
Here's a run-down on why They're good for you, then I'll get to the recipes.
Artichoke: Provides fiber, potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus and other essential minerals. Helps with liver health, arteriosclerosis, gout, migraine headaches, improves digestion, and lowers blood sugar.
Asparagus: Provides (114%) of vitamin K, folate. Helps with bone health and cardiovascular system.
Avocado: Provides good fat (oleic acid) folate, carotenoids, beta-carotene, and lutein. Contains free-radicals and helps with oral cancer.
Fennel: Provides a blend of phytonutrients such as rutin, quercitin, and kaempferol glycosides (powerful antioxidants). Helps reduce inflammation and the risk of cancer.
Fiddleheads: Provides vitamin A and C, fiber, iron, potassium, niacin, riboflavin, magnesium, and phosphorous. Helps eye health.
Mustard Greens: Provides high content of vitamins K, A, and C, beta-carotene, B6, folic acid, magnesium, and calcium. Helps fight free radicals, supports cardiovascular system, bones, and menopause symptoms.
Peas: Provides fiber, folic acid, vitamins C, K, A, calcium, iron, copper, zinc, and manganese. Helps with inflammation, cholesterol, bone health, Alzheimer's, skin, eyes, and oral cancers.
Radishes: Provides vitamin C and potassium. Works as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, and helps with kidney and blood health.
Other spring vegetables include: arugula (rocket), beets, carrots, chard, garlic, green onion, leeks, new potatoes, and turnips.
Fresh Spring Pasta
1 lb. pasta
1 lb. asparagus with bitter ends removed
1 pint cherry tomatoes
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
Salt to taste
- Cook pasta and set aside. I prefer to use thin spaghetti. Any variety will do.
- Roast, grill, or steam the asparagus until tender but firm. Once cooled, cut into 2"-3" pieces. Set aside.
- Add 2-3 tablespoons of EVOO to a sauté pan over medium heat and add the minced garlic. Do not brown.
- Immediately add the cherry tomatoes and salt, and cook until tender (the skin will start to pucker). You may even want some to burst.
- Plate pasta and add asparagus and the tomatoes, garlic and oil over top.
- Toss and serve. May be served warm or at room temperature.
More recipes to enjoy...
Steamed Spring Vegetable with Garlic-Herb Aioli, Fresh Pea and Ricotta Tartines with Spring Vegetables, Roasted Spring Vegetables, and more here.
Photo: Jean Gazis