It’s easy to get stuck in a produce rut—going to the grocery store and buying the same broccoli, asparagus, lettuce and never going out of your comfort zone. Spring is a great time to introduce new veggies into your diet and today I have a some suggestions for 5 spring vegetables to try.
One thing that helped me expand my veggie repertoire was joining a CSA (community supported agriculture) and receiving a box every two weeks filled with seasonal produce. It forced me to figure out how to enjoy a wider assortment of options—persimmons, fennel and beets, oh my–and pushed me to be more comfortable experimenting with new-to-me foods in the kitchen.
You don’t need to join a CSA to become more adventurous with your vegetables, though. Sometimes all it takes is a trip to the farmers market (or even just a good grocery store) to expand your horizons. But if that still leaves you baffled at what to do with this new-to-you produce, I’ve put together this list to help you out.
5 Spring Vegetables to Try
This one is unfamiliar to many, but has long been a staple in my Italian family. It’s packed full of nutrients like vitamins A, K and folic acid. It has a more bitter taste than its broccoli relative, but when prepared properly is delicious. It is most commonly served in pasta dishes with sausage, but it’s easy to lighten up for a vegetarian main meal or side dish.
Here’s an easy, healthy and delicious broccoli rabe recipe that even my kids love:
-Boil broccoli rabe for one minute, then drain and plunge in cold water.
-Saute two cloves of minced garlic in extra virgin olive oil for about 30 seconds.
-Remove broccoli rabe from the cold water and add to pan with garlic.
-Add a can of rinsed chickpeas, a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes, salt to taste and serve on top of whole wheat couscous.
Source: Trader Joe’s
This one is more of a winter vegetable, but it’s new to many people and you should still be able to find it– definitely a fun find. Kale sprouts, or kalettes, are a hybrid of the two trendiest vegetables—kale and Brussels sprout. Pretty like kale, but with a taste more similar to Brussels sprout, these make a quick and delicious side dish. Simply following the cooking directions on the Trader Joe’s bag has made them a hit with my family.
Writing this post was just the opportunity I needed to try this green that I’ve seen and passed up at the farmers market. I prepped them similarly to broccoli rabe, using this recipe and as it turns out, they actually taste quite similar. I wish I had prepared more for dinner so that I could have had some leftovers in the morning to top with poached eggs, but my family enjoyed it so much that there was none left. I also love this Stuffed Portobello Mushroom recipe, which is a delicious vegetarian dinner.
These beauties can be found at the farmers market and are hard to pass up. You can use them the same way you would green onions—to top soups and salads, caramelize and grill. Here’s a butter lettuce salad recipe to try.
Source: OSC Seeds
Perhaps you’ve had regular radicchio in salad mixes, but this variety has larger leaves and is best when cooked. If you spy it at the farmers market, you’ll be enticed by its pretty purple color. Definitely snatch some up for sauteeing in olive oil and finishing with a squirt of lemon. Or try this recipe for lentil and brown rice salad that plays on its bitter flavor.
What are some of your “out of the box” produce items?
I originally wrote this post about 5 New-to-You Veggies for Calio.