Spring Has Sprung the Fruits & Veggies!

With the arrival of spring, the excitement of fresh vegetables and fruits is inspiring! What brilliant flavor profiles can we make with asparagus, micro-greens, basil, and strawberries?  Strawberries are sweet and versatile and packed with nutrition! Imagine a light and sweet strawberry puree with hidden tones of basil over almond flour pancakes.  A light salad with micro-greens, goat cheese crumbles, fresh slices of strawberries and asparagus tips making a dressing of pureed strawberries, basil and champagne vinegar!  A robust pork loin dinner with roasted pork loin cooked lying on a bed of rhubarb, strawberries and thyme served with wilted kale with sliced baby new potatoes and shallots with roasted asparagus drizzled with basil flavored olive oil.  Dessert could include Grand Marnier marinated basil and strawberries over vanilla yogurt ice cream with a sprig of mint on top. 

Asparagus has just 25 calories in eight medium-sized asparagus spears.  That serving provides 25% of your daily vitamin A, and 15% of your vitamin C plus folic acid.

Micro-greens are considered ‘juvenile’ greens.  Because they are picked young, they retain more nutrients.  Researchers found that leaves from almost all of the micro-greens had four to six times more nutrients than the mature leaves of the same plant.

Basil, often known as a pesto ingredient, is packed with vitamin K and has a unique array of active constituents called flavonoids. The flavonoids found in basil provide protection at the cellular level.  In addition, basil has been shown to provide protection against unwanted bacterial growth. These anti-bacterial properties of basil are not associated with its unique flavonoids, but instead with its volatile oils.

Strawberries have 49 calories in 1 cup.  High in vitamin C, a good source of foliate, it is ranked in the top 4 fruits nutritionally behind blackberries, cranberries and raspberries.  Scientists have found the polyphenols play a major role in helping regulate blood sugar response (whfoods.com). That is important for those wanting to regulate blood sugar levels, and also for people with type 2 diabetes who want to enjoy fresh strawberries.

My menu ideas encourage you to realize that all those spring inspirations can be utilized in all the meals within your day.  Embrace the light, sweet flavors and enjoy!

(photo:  ©2008  muammerokumus, Flickr)

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