Monday, March 24, 2014

Spring Forward for Meatless Monday!

Is it just us, or does this winter season seem like it has been going on for an eternity!? Words cannot describe how happy we were when we finally gained an extra hour of daylight to counter all the dark, gray and cold weather we have been battling these later couple of months. But now, it's officially Spring! Hopefully the weather will get the memo soon so we all can finally experience some long awaited sunshine warmth and sunshine. 

One of the great things about Spring, besides the warmer weather, sunshine, and budding flowers, is all of the spring produce that will now be in season. After a months of winter squash, and hearty root vegetables, we are thrilled to experience some new, more delicate and fresh spring flavors! And because one of the best ways to eat sustainably, is to eat seasonally, why not stock up on what the Spring season has to offer! Best of all, this entire list of Spring time harvest, is also entirely MEATLESS! 

Greens:

One of the most versatile ingredients. Use it in salad in raw, saute it with stir-fry, stew them in soups, or even bake them (kale chips, anyone?) One type of greens that will be coming into season soon are mustard greens! Starting at the beginning of Spring and running through until the end of April, not only are these greens packed with flavor, they are also packed with vitamins and nutrients. High in vitamins K, A, C. They also are a great source of calcium and magnesium! (hmmm.. "Krazy Kale" Katelyn is back)
Fennel:
Fennel is one of my personal favorites! With a lovely crunch, and slightly sweet flavor profile, fennel is a great way to "brighten up a dish".  Fennel is most associated with Italian cuisine, but is also a great addition to Mediterranean dishes as well. Related to dill and parsley, Fennel is a bulb shaped vegetable with stalks and green leaves at the top; all parts are edible. Fennel is also a great way to incorporate more fiber into your diet, with 10.8%. They are also a great source of Vitamin C and potassium! 

Artichokes:
Another food I am eagerly anticipating is artichokes. Very filling and satisfying, this a great star of a meal, or side dish. It is also hearty enough to be a great meatless substitute! In addition, these little sprouting buds are also superfoods! Packed with fiber, potassium, calcium, iron and phosphorus, they will definitely put a spring into your step with all the vitamins they have to offer! I love to make marinated baked artichokes with italian dressing and seasoning, but they are great any way you serve them! 

Sugar Snap Peas: 
These are super fun, and a great way to add an Asian twist to any dish. Great in salads, soups, stir-fry, and everything in between. They add a great crunch and dose of magnesium, potassium and vitamin B6! 

Asparagus:
Another great spring find is asparagus! It's peak season is between April to May. They are super versatile and easy to prepare. Boiled, steamed, grilled, or oven-roasted, it's impossible to make these stalks taste bad! My personal favorite is to grill them with a mustard vinaigrette! Super flavorful! And it has a whooping 114% of the daily recommended vitamin K in one single cup! 
Rhubarb: It isn't often that a green is associated with dessert. The stalks of this vegetable have a rich tart flavor. They are commonly found in jams and pie. It's an easy plant to grow and it loves cold weather- perfect for this area!
*Be sure not to eat the leaves, they are poisonous! 









Radishes: Another cool weather lover, this vegetable is a rapid grower. It will complement many types of soups and salads, but is also great on its own! Despite their small size, they are very high in nutrients! They also help keep you cool during the warmer months due to its high water content!

Morel Mushrooms: 
Last but not least, one of our favorite fungi friends that is just as versitile as the radish! Add these to pastas or on top of pizza and they will add great flavor! They're even good when cooked in butter and salt!







We wish you a very green spring! Happy Meatless Monday!
-Kat and Katelyn 

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