5 Seasonal Veggies To Eat This Spring, Plus Recipe Ideas
With temperatures rising and flowers blooming, we can’t help but feel like spring is upon us. Though autumnal veggies like butternut squash and winter citrus are wonderful, spring brings a whole set of seasonal produce that effortlessly adds color, flavor, and nutrients to plates. Below, five of our favorite spring veggies at their peak now, plus their health benefits and recipe ideas for each. Bon appetit!
Why they’re healthy: Radishes are among the most nutrient-dense veggies around, per a 2014 report published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease. The study highlighted the top 41 “powerhouse fruits and vegetables,” AKA the foods with the highest amounts of critical nutrients including potassium, fiber, protein, calcium, iron, and thiamin, among others. Radishes are also high in vitamin C, a water-soluble vitamin that’s known to aid collagen synthesis and boost immunity.
How we like them: Known for their sharp flavor, radishes (which are in season in New York from May through September) are best enjoyed shaved in a summery salad or dressed up with a simple lemon and olive oil dressing. If you’re a fan of the bright root veggie’s signature bite, enjoy it as crudite with your favorite dip. Fava bean hummus is the perfect creamy accompaniment to a spicy radish.
Why they’re healthy: Asparagus aren’t just packed with prebiotics, a type of fiber that acts as food for the good bacteria in your gut; they’re also high in fiber, folate, and vitamin K. Translation: Asparagus are a no-brainer come springtime. As an added bonus, the green spears also deliver antioxidants like vitamin E, which helps beat bloat by acting as a natural diuretic.
How we like them: Roasted. Blanched. Steamed. It all works! If you’re baking asparagus, simply pop them in the oven with olive oil and salt and pepper and cook at 350 degrees until crispy for the perfect side to any spring dinner. Another idea: Enjoy a poached egg on top of steamed asparagus for a healthy homemade brunch.
Why it’s healthy: Rhubarb stems (Note: The leaves are not edible!) are super fibrous and full of nutrients, including calcium and vitamin K, which are important for bone and blood health respectively. Just one cup of chopped rhubarb provides about 10% of your daily recommended intake of calcium.
How we like it: Despite its typical preparation in sweet eats (think strawberry rhubarb pie), rhubarb is actually a vegetable, not a fruit. Eaten solo, rhubarb can taste bitter and may be tough when raw. We like cooking it down to create a low-sugar homemade jam with strawberries and chia seeds. Add some lime zest to the mix for a surprisingly zingy aftertaste.
Why it’s healthy: High in gut-friendly fiber, vitamin C, and B6, summer squash is at the top of our list come May. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant in the body, quenching free radicals that can damage proteins and DNA in the body. Vitamin B6 serves countless functions, including participating in the synthesis of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.
How we like it: There are lots of different types of summer squash (zucchini, butterscallop, and roly poly are a few), but you won’t go wrong with whichever you choose. We love turning zucchini into noodles—or “zoodles—and pairing them with a homemade pesto. Cooking yellow straightneck squash on the grill is also hassle-free and delicious. Feeling creative? Try your hand at cooking up healthy zucchini herb patties. We love them topped with a refreshing dollop of yogurt.
Why it’s healthy: Kale may be trendy, but spinach delivers just as many nutrients, including iron, vitamin A, calcium, and folate, among others. Pro tip: Eat spinach with foods high in vitamin C (like in a salad with red bell peppers and orange slices) to help your body absorb more of its iron.
How we like it: Folded into omelets. Chopped up in meatballs. There are countless ways to add spinach to your plate! If temps are too high for cooking, simply throw a few handfuls of organic baby spinach into your morning smoothie for a boost of leafy greens first thing.