Here’s to another round of How-To and this week the beautiful weather has inspired me to give you some ideas (Thanks to Pinterest) for cookin up some of the fruits and vegetables of the season.
Yay to seasonal and local eating! 😀
So first off, what are some of the fresh goodies that Mother Nature has to offer come springtime in Ontario? Well fruits may still be pretty much off the table until the summer season, but April, May and June kick off the beginning of some wonderful veggies to play around with! [Source]
Veggies: Beets, Cabbage, Carrots, Peppers (greenhouse), Tomatoes (greenhouse)
Fruits: Sneak peek of the first batch of strawberries!
Veggies: Asparagus, Radishes, Spinach
Fruits: Cherries make their first appearance! Hope this year is a better season for them!
Veggies: Asian Veggies, Beans, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Field Cucumbers, Lettuces, Green Onions, Peas, Radicchio, Summer Squash
So as you can see, the warmer and sunnier weather starts to sprout an amazing variety for you to choose from. Don’t let those fresh (and cheap!) goodies pass you by. Use’em up!
Need inspiration or ideas?
Don’t worry, I got your back! 😀 Simply click on the pictures for the link-love.
The lighter fare…
Sometimes the heat and the sunshine means you just want something a lil lighter and fresh.
That colour! Beets and cherries make for a beautifully coloured smoothie. If you are making this for a meal like breakfast I would recommend adding some form of protein to it for sustenance like plain greek yogurt (if you do dairy) or a vanilla or neutral flavoured protein powder. Gluten and dairy free. Vegan. Paleo
Fresh snap peas and asparagus make for a lovely green addition to a cold pasta salad. The pesto ain’t hurtin it’s flavour either ;-). Great meatless option.
Feeling adventurous? Toss some cherries into a salsa for an unexpected tartness. Great as a dip or as a topping! Gluten-free, vegan, paleo.
Spring rolls make for an easy, yummy and customizable appetizer. Take whatever veggies you want, along with a protein and a starch, wrap it all up and you are good as gold. Gluten-free.
Try out a warm spring salad filled with roasted seasonal produce! Great vegetarian dish.
You knew I had to give you a few of my favourite type of dishes didn’t you?
Korean food lends itself nicely to this category as this seasonal bibimbap lets spring produce shine. Great vegetarian option, gluten and dairy free.
Who says a #PowerBowl can’t have an edible bowl? This is a fun way to make use of your local sweet peppers when they first appear in the markets. Gluten and dairy free. Vegetarian and vegan options.
Gluten-Free and want lasagna? No problem! Zucchini saves the day. For a lighter option, go with naturally leaner cheeses such as goat cheese, feta or cottage cheese and/or pick from the various offerings of part skim cheeses including ricotta and mozzarella. Vegetarian and Gluten-Free. Can be made vegan using a flax egg and a vegan cheese alternative.
Can’t forget about the bestest main meal of the day…Breakfast! Carrots are the weapon of choice in this beautiful stack created by the Pancake Queen herself, Mrs. Heather over at Kiss My Broccoli Blog. High protein and gluten-free.
For those richer occasions. Get your arm ready for some stirring action with this fresh, spring flavoured risotto. Ohhh those scallops! Want it to be a lil less rich? Skip the butter (use a touch of coconut oil to sautee the onions and such) and use a lighter cheese such as goat cheese for that creaminess factor without the heaviness. Gluten-free? Try brown rice OR even buckwheat groats (check out this recipe). Want to experience even further? Try cauliflower ‘rice’ risotto. Check a recipe out here.
***NOTE no recipe has mentioned to soak your grains overnight before your make your dishes. Please do so! This helps to break down that outer coating that makes digestion more difficult, thus nutrient absorption less, and cooking time longer. ***
An Easter morning breakfast classic. The quiche. This one has been made gluten-free with the use of quinoa and has been filled with the greens of the season. Gluten-free, vegetarian.
Can’t forget about the carnivores…
Just because we are talking about local produce doesn’t mean that protein has to be pushed out of the spot light.
Want the easiest thing ever to make? Kebabs take the prize. Take some veggies + protein and stick it on a stick and fire up the grill. Done and delish! I threw in a lamb recipe for those of you who like more exotic meats, but you can use any protein really. Naturally gluten free and paleo (depending on side dish)
Add some sweet and tart flavour to an otherwise savory meal with some lovely cherries. Yes, fruit isn’t just for your sweet tooth!
Make use of those sweet bell peppers by roasting them up and pureeing them with some herbs and spices into a pesto-like stuffing for baked or grilled chicken. Add a sprinkling of cheese (I suggest goats cheese, feta or part-skim mozzarella) if you wish and broil it for a few minutes to get it all bubbly. Gluten-free and dairy free if no cheese is added.
Gettin fruity with it…
Although we don’t get much yet (bring on summaaa!), some of my personal favourites start to make an appearance towards the end of the spring season.
Creative use of the beautiful strawberries that start to appear later in spring season. This thick and chilled soup would make for a nice afternoon treat or dessert! I would recommend using Stevia as the sweetener of choice, but that is up to you. Gluten and dairy free, vegan, paleo.
Dried fruit is no stranger to a wild rice pilaf, so why not fresh cherries? This makes for a simple and zingy side dish for your springtime dinners. Gluten-free and vegan.
What? You don’t think to put strawberries on your pizza? This a sweet and savory take on a traditional flatbread. You take whatever base you want and add your toppins. Great for vegetarians.
Vegetables…In my snacks?
Oh yes, work those local gems into your munchies too!
Easy as 1, 2, 3! If you don’t wanna use cucumber, you could also use zucchini for this super easy snack idea. Paleo, gluten and diary free.
There’s grass in my muffins! If you have ever had zucchini bread you will know that you CANNOT taste the zucchini so never fear…and eat your veggies in a snacky fashion! Gluten-free, vegan, paleo, refined-sugar free.
Okay so I had to throw a fruit snack your way too. Cherries bring these energy bites to life with a nice sour note. Packed with quick energy (sugars from the fruit and the dates), these lil bites would make a nice pre-lifting or run snack. Raw, paleo, gluten and dairy free.
I hope this post inspires you to make something with the goodies that this season (once it actually starts…) has to offer! I tried to be as inclusive as possible by having recipes that can cater to many dietary preferences/restrictions so enjoy! 🙂
As a closing remark, here are just some of the benefits of eating seasonally and locally…
…and it just tastes better in my opinion! 😉