Here in Western North Carolina, the spring tailgate markets are starting up again in full force! When you get to the market for the first few weeks, there will be a wide variety of greens to enjoy! Root vegetables like turnips, radishes and later carrots and beets will be coming soon and then come the asparagus and strawberries! It is a long anticipated event to see all these fresh, local foods coming after a long, dark winter. To help you make the most out of your farmers’ market finds, I have included some of my favorite ways to eat them! Here are some quick and simple, healthy recipe ideas for spring and I hope that you enjoy them!

1.  Asparagus: Saute in olive oil and garlic. Fix on the grill. Roast in the oven at 425 degrees until it softens and starts to brown. I also love to add to soups.

asparagus

These tender spears are a highlight of spring!

2. Greens & Lettuce: Add a variety of greens to your salads. For a raw salad be sure to massage your kale and collards. You can saute them in olive oil and garlic. Try adding them to soups.Lettuce

Lettuce and other variety of veggies from the farmers’ market.

3. Radishes: Slice them and add to salads.  Sliced radishes are also good sautéed over their own greens. Try this Radish Salsa

Radishes

                                                                                                  You can even make salsa from radishes!

4. Peas: Snow peas and baby sugar snap peas are delicious in stir fries. I also enjoy shelled peas cooked with new potatoes in a light white sauce.

Peas

There are a lot of creative ways to add peas to your recipes!

5. Mushrooms: Try them in pastas and stir fries. I also love them added to rice and other whole grains. Make sure that they are cooked through. Check out these two recipes

Mushrooms

Try a variety of mushrooms for added nutrition benefit!

 

6. Turnips: Roast them in the oven with potatoes, parsnips, rhutabagas, sweet potatoes or just by themselves. When they caramelize they are so sweet!

Turnip

If you don’t have turnips as one of your regular vegetables, give them a chance!

Spinach Burrito

Love some spinach in Mexican food!

 

7. Spinach: Add to salads, pastas, soups or sauté it! I love to put it in burritios, quesadillas and enchiladas! Check out the Black Bean Spinach Burrito

Strawberry

In my opinion, the strawberry is the crown jewel of spring!

 

8. Strawberries: Lightly freeze them and eat them as a frozen dessert. Buy extra from local farmers when they come in so you can have the rest of the year! Make a spinach and strawberry salad. Try some strawberry sherbet.Strawberry Sherbet

9. Carrots: Add a pop of orange to your meals by adding carrots to your salads, pasta, stir fries and soup. They also make a great side dish!

carrots

Farm fresh carrots make the sweetest ones.

Try this Spring Pasta which includes peas, asparagus and carrots. I also added cooked mushrooms. You an add parmesan cheese on top with toasted walnuts or pecans.  For extra protein add some cooked chicken, smoked trout/salmon or browned tempeh.

Pasta in a Jar

I love spring pasta!

Smoked Trout Salad Lettuce, sliced radishes, cooked baby potatoes, green onions and Greek olives. Top with Sunburst Smoked Trout (in the green package). Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Add a lemon and olive oil dressing.

Trout

Green salad topped with trout!

In addition to visiting the farmers’ markets, another way to connect with local farmers is to purchase a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) or even market bucks at the beginning of the season. You can find out more about the benefits and some of the farmers that have them available here.

I hope that you will give some of these favorites menu ideas a try! Food is more flavorful when it is fresh and in season! Buying food from local farmers puts more money in the local economy and helps families stay on the farm and do what they love for generations to come! As a dietitian in Asheville, I love to help clients become healthier and feel great! I share with them a variety of ways to do it. One of my favorites, is to heal the body with food! You can find out more about some of the things that we can work on here! Sign up for my blog, so you don’t miss a post!

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