Spring Into Seasonal Eating

Spring is right around the corner, with all of the fresh beauty it brings to us and our bodies. As we awaken from our winter slumber ever so slowly, there’s a renewal waiting for us up ahead. This is the time when we are in sync with beautiful blooms, awakening our senses and energy to create something new.

When I think of spring, I get excited about the foods that the season brings. Crispy asparagus, radishes, and light pasta dishes tossed with fresh herbs and lemon come to mind. During this time of renewal, our bodies begin to crave crunchiness, freshness, and brightness in our food. So it’s an exciting time for cooks to transition from comforting meals to fresh dishes that make you feel nourished, while gently cleansing and resetting your digestive and immune systems. Yes, my friends, it’s time to “spring” into seasonal eating!

How Can Seasonal Eating Benefit Us?

  • Eating seasonal foods is better for our health. Foods that are grown and harvested during their season are more nutritionally dense. However, frozen foods can also be a great choice. Great taste will always be top-notch!
  • It’s better for the environment. These foods don’t have to
    travel nearly as far, so the associated fuel emissions and transportation costs are minimal. Also, buying locally helps support local farmers.
  • Cooking with seasonal ingredients saves money. When a fruit or veggie is in season, it’s abundant, and—not surprisingly—available at a lower price.

So … What’s Cookin’?

Build fresh, crunchy salads with the candy of the vegetable world! Cucumbers, arugula and avocados drizzled with your favorite dressing make for a delicious weekday lunch.

Each week, prepare at least two different zesty dressings or vinaigrettes to use during the week. Add fresh dill, tarragon or fennel fronds for added dazzle.

Springtime doesn’t mean you have to put away your soup pot! Keep it out and make light and refreshing soups with the best produce of the season. Some of my faves are pea, asparagus and cucumber cauliflower soup.

Make a weekly batch of arugula and parsley pesto. You can freeze it in ice cube trays for use in various recipes. Toss a few into your soup pot, or add a tablespoon to vinaigrettes for an Italian twist.

Now that I’ve got you thinking about all of the delicious fruits and vegetables the spring season has to offer, it’s an excellent time to start thinking about what you’ll be in the mood for after winter passes. Not quite ready to let winter go? Slowly transition out of it by combining the two seasons on one plate! 

Winter-To-Spring Salad

I pay homage to a few of my favorite winter fruits with this super simple salad. Pears and blood oranges mingle with a light vinaigrette. Regular oranges will work the same if you cannot find blood oranges.

1 orange, peeled and segmented 
1 head  butter lettuce, chopped 
½ pear, sliced thin
4 dates, pits removed, cut into strips 
¼ red onion, sliced
Goat or feta cheese 
1 tablespoon pine nuts
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped 
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped 
¼ cup olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Arrange oranges, lettuce, pears, dates and onions on large platter. Combine vinegar with herbs, oil, salt and pepper into small bowl. Whisk ingredients together until emulsified. Drizzle vinaigrette over salad right before serving.

Makes 2 to 4 servings

Author

  • Ruthie owns Black Fig Food catering and is proprietor of the online cooking platform Elevated Plant Plate. Learn more at elevatedplantplate.com and blackfigfood.com.