I’m a Californian. That means that exceptionally good produce is available to me year round, and I am a spoiled shopper. On the rare occasion that I can’t find the fruit or vegetable I need, I hardly know what to do with myself. Meltdown in the middle of the grocery store? Quite possible (I know, I sound like an absolute brat).
But those several near-meltdowns have taught me a lesson. Seasonal limitations are normal for most of the world, which I now actually appreciate and acknowledge to be a good thing. Why? Because eating seasonally is good for your health, not to mention your wallet. Our bodies are built for variety; a variety of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, and seasons force us to cook with an array of different foods throughout the year. Additionally, foods that are in season will often be harvested nearer to where they are sold, meaning that the vitamins that naturally deplete post-harvest have less transit time to do so.
So here we are; it’s spring, and my favorite fruits and veggies are making an appearance on the dinner table. Asparagus, avocado, peas, spinach, apricots, berries, mangoes…YUM. Check out the recipes below to enjoy the nutritional benefits of the season. Bon Appétit.
compliments of Food & Wine
If you’re looking for flavor, you just found it. The exotic combination of fruit and spices, not to mention the tenderness of the chicken, earned this creation a permanent spot in my recipe book. Easily paired with a grain and vegetable (I suggest rice, orzo or couscous with asparagus), this meal is a great way to replenish after a long run or an active day. The chicken fills and sustains with lean protein, while the dried fruit and oils provide natural and necessary sugars and fats.
Compliments of Food & Wine
This salad is as tasty as it looks – and equally as fresh. Tomatoes, asparagus, and spring greens are all coming to fruition in the next few months, so take advantage! Health benefits? “Asparagus is high in anti-inflammatory nutrients, as well as provides a wide variety of antioxidant nutrients, including vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin E, and the minerals zinc, manganese and selenium” (1). The chickpeas in the salad are satiating, and provide a good source of fiber as well as protein. This meal is great for vegetarians, and is easy to compliment if you’re not – just throw chicken breast on the grill with the asparagus and your meal is complete.
A few tips for this one:
1) Don’t be freaked out by the ingredient “mesclun” – it’s a fancy word for a salad mix. Butter lettuce, arugula, spinach, and leaf lettuces are all good choices.
2) I recommend cutting down on the oil in the dressing; go down to 1/3 cup for better flavor.
Compliments of Bowl of Delicious
The day after Cinco de Mayo can be a culinary letdown – how do you follow a day filled with fantastic Mexican food? Well, I made these on May 6th, and I was not disappointed. The blackened cod in these tacos carries wonderfully intense flavor, and the cooling mango salsa and avocado pair perfectly with the spiced fish. We recommend this recipe for several reasons.
1) It’s adaptable; great for those who don’t eat red meat, easy to make gluten free by using corn tortillas, and family and friends can add as many or few toppings as they please.
2) Cod is a good source of lean protein, and provides Omega-3 fatty acids, which lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease, high blood pressure and heart disease.
3) Mango and avocado are in season and delicious.
Check out more Recipes for the Runner!
(1) Szalay, Jessie. “Asparagus: Health Benefits, Risks, and Nutrition Facts”. LiveScience.com. 2014. Web.