Lil Miss Fitness Freak

"And though she be but little, she is fierce"

How To: Tasty Fresh Spring Produce Meals

32 Comments

Hey Friends!

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]

April

Veggies: Beets, Cabbage, Carrots, Peppers (greenhouse), Tomatoes (greenhouse)

May

Fruits: Sneak peek of the first batch of strawberries!

Veggies: Asparagus, Radishes, Spinach

June

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.

Zucchini Noodles with Pesto Recipe on twopeasandtheirpod.com You only need 15 minutes to make this dish!Zucchini shines when spiralized into ‘zoodles’ and topped with a simple and delicious pesto sauce and season fresh tomatoes. Gluten-free and can be dairy-free and vegan if the Parmesan is left off.

Clean Eating Cherry Beet Smoothie

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

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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.

16 Fresh and Healthy Spring Rolls

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.

Roasted Spring Vegetable Arugula Salad with Arugula Pesto Vinaigrette - healthy and light Spring meal!

Try out a warm spring salad filled with roasted seasonal produce! Great vegetarian dish.

PowerBowls….

You knew I had to give you a few of my favourite type of dishes didn’t you?

Spring Quinoa Bibimbap with Asparagus, Fiddleheads, Fava Bean and Ramps

Korean food lends itself nicely to this category as this seasonal bibimbap lets spring produce shine. Great vegetarian option, gluten and dairy free.

Vegetarian Quinoa Pilaf Stuffed Peppers Recipe

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.

Main Dishes…

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.

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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. ***

Asparagus, Baby Artichoke, Pesto and Goat Cheese Quiche with Quinoa Crust

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.

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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!

Roasted Red Pepper-Stuffed ChickenMake 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.

Something a lil bit more elegant? Golden beets, fresh tarragon and peas make their way into this lighter, but beefier, dish.

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.

zucchinimuffins-19Chocolate Chip Zucchini Almond Meal Muffins #vegan #glutenfree

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.

DSC_0719Okay 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

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…and it just tastes better in my opinion! 😉

-Chelsea

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32 thoughts on “How To: Tasty Fresh Spring Produce Meals

  1. Rosé, some kabobs and some cherries sounds like a meal of the gods. Watching the sun set too – sounds like such a lovely evening. Such a great idea! 🙂

  2. Leave it up to Lil Miss Fitness freak to re-invent some of my old favourites and make me excited for healthy foods. Love your healthy recipes! 🙂

  3. Have you tried frozen cherries? I’ve been eating them alllll winter! They cure any ice cream craving. PS: All this looks absolutely delicious! Definitely something I would try! 😀 Seriously, please don’t ever stop doing what you do, because you are making our lives better every single day.

  4. Where to begin? I’ve been reading your blog for quite awhile now. I’ve always admired your positivity and outlook on life. I’ve been recovering from an eating disorder for around two years now. Even though I was doing pretty well in recovery I couldn’t seem to break from my obsession with food. Encouraged by your blog-I began to tackle more and more tasks as the time went on. I began to pay attention to my food as I ate it. I learned that it was okay to treat myself just because. I started listening to cravings. I began being more social. I got my period back.

    Throughout the past six months I have had so many ups and downs. I found a lot of things that worked for me and a few that didn’t. You really helped me understand myself more.. I sometimes over eat & feel guilty, but it is a journey after all, right? Now I am able to notice, and learn from my experiences. I have become more aware and have learned to recognize my “triggers” and how to deal with them.Each blogpost I read is like taking a breath of fresh air.

    Honestly, I could go on forever about you…. I’ve never met you in person, but you’re is definitely one of the most beautiful people I know! you have helped me more than she knows, and I am truly blessed to have had her help and support.

    I would have not been able to accomplish all I’ve done without this blog. And for that, I am eternally grateful.

    • Wow. This made me feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside. Thank you so much for sharing! Hearing that you are able to move forward and make changes in your mindset (ED’s have powerful voices so it makes it really hard!) is absolutely inspiring. You should be so proud of yourself for giving yourself some credit and leeway to learn about your body rather than trying to control it. I myself still struggle with that last piece to this day so thank you for inspiring me! I honestly don’t even know what to say to you beautiful words. I’m so grateful for having the opportunity to help others and hearing from you and all my other readers makes my day on the daily, honestly. Please keep going strong. You are doing amazing and always remember that if you have any questions or things to share you can always email me at c_cross20@hotmail.com! You are truly one to be admired, don’t forget that. 🙂 ❤

  5. Chelsea, thank you so much! And thank you for going way above and beyond as just a blogger. I appreciate your posts so much, and I am so glad that I came across your blog! For real, even if a person doesn’t have food struggles, I think they should have you as a dietician one day just for the support, because everyone needs that! 🙂

  6. LOVING how the blogosphere is filling up with clean eating ice cream recipes! & this one looks so delish! It’s going to be a good summer full of smoothies-love that beet and cherry one !!!

    • So pretty that smoothie right? You eat with your eyes first and so that colour is really something to speak about! Yes, ice-cream is a must-have treat over the summer months and there are now so many variations of it. It’s awesome!

  7. that cucumber sandwich idea was my snack today- if you haven’t tried it- do so——sooooooo good! you are the best! I am excited for the next 6-months. Thank goodness I stumbled upon your blog! I appreciate that you share so much with me. I can’t wait to start my health journey. THANK YOU! Time to accomplish even more these next 6-months! Lots of love!

  8. LOVE THE POWER BOWL IDEAS So simple and still clean eating. Love it!

  9. Ok, that spring roll recipe looks to die for. And, I feel you on the power bowl obsession!! I love love love it and most recently used it to replace my old pasta addiction – I just add some pasta to a huge bowl of veggies … seriously. Just, yum.

  10. OMG OMG OMG. I’M DYING. I’ve been looking for a pasta craving but don’t want the added cals/carbs….that zucchini recipe…Let’s just say: I’m dead x 10…..Because who doesn’t want pasta for dinner every night?

  11. For about a year, I’ve been wanting to work with YOU. Unfortunately my OSAP etc couldn’t afford me. However, a lady at the pulse told me about your blog. I’ve spent the day going through IT ALL! I feel very excited, and empowered to listen to my body, and be aware of my needs. Thanks for all the tools to help guide me along. I’m really looking forward to this journey! Have an amazing day

  12. AH!! I’ve seriously been contemplating buying a spiralizer every since Oh She Glows featured one. Love the concept of veggie pasta!! I think you just totally convinced me…. thanks!!

  13. You said to soak grains- tonight as I was making quinoa I thought of this- does it matter how long we do so?

    • yes soak all of your grains, even oatmeal! Most of the time I just throw in a bowl overnight when I want to have it or meal prep with it the next day. I do find that Quinoa doesn’t seem to need as much time, but that’s just how I do it. Easy peasy, then before cooking, get your hands in there and swish it around to get off any of the coating and drain the water. Cook with new water. 🙂

  14. excited for those pasta recipes… perfect for Italian girls who don’t want the thighs. 😉

  15. I absolutely loved this post! It is pretty much exactly how I feel after recently losing 50 pounds and getting close to my goal weight.
    Thanks for the honesty & motivation you have been for me.

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