Eating Wisely: Celebrating Springtime Vegetables and Fruits

Spring veggiesThe arrival of spring brings with it the promise of bountiful backyard gardens, farmers markets filled with variety, and produce departments bursting with fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s also the perfect time of year to share La Leche League recipes that celebrate some of the first fruits (and vegetables!) that are ready to harvest.

As always, adjust these recipes so they work best for your family. Thanks to Delia M. for suggesting vegan options for these recipes. You can find those at the end of each recipe. Let us know what you think, and feel free to share your favorite springtime and summertime meals. Contact Amy at [email protected] with your family favorites.

Chicken and Sugar Snap Pea Sauté – Feed Yourself, Feed Your Family, p. 88 – Serves 4

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into ½-inch chunks
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and diced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 8 ounces sugar snap peas
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves

Season the chicken with salt and pepper.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken in a single layer and cook until browned, about 2 minutes. Turn the pieces over and cook until browned and the inside of the meat just loses its pink color, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a dish.

Heat the remaining tablespoon oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the peppers and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 5 minutes. Add the snap peas, 3 tablespoons water, and a pinch each of salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the peas are bright green and crisp-tender, about 4 minutes.

Stir the chicken into the mixture, along with the vinegar and basil, and cook 1 minute more. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Vegan option: Use tofu or faux chicken in place of chicken breasts.

Orange-Braised Baby Carrots – Feed Yourself, Feed Your Family, p. 186 – Serves 4

  • 1 pound baby carrots
  • ¾ cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the carrots, juice, butter, and a pinch each of salt and pepper in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat.

Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are tender and the juice has evaporated to a glaze clinging to the carrots, about 17 minutes.

Vegan option: Use dairy-free butter substitute in place of butter.

Baked Fresh Asparagus – Whole Foods For The Whole Family, p. 140 – Serves 2

  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 12 spears fresh asparagus
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped celery
  • 2 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs
  • Oregano and pepper to taste
  • ½ teaspoon (or less) salt

Spread butter in 8×8-inch baking dish. Arrange asparagus spears over butter. Combine remaining ingredients in bowl; mix well. Pour over asparagus. Bake, covered, at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

Vegan option: Use olive oil or dairy-free butter in place of butter. Use cheese alternative in place of cheddar cheese.

Rhubarb Pie – Whole Foods For The Whole Family, p. 223 – Serves 8

  • 4 cups chopped rhubarb
  • ¾ cup raisins
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 recipe Easy Oil Crust pie pastry (see below)

Mix rhubarb with next 5 ingredients in bowl. Spoon into pastry-lined pie plate; top with remaining pastry. Cut steam vents. Bake at 400 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. May substitute sorghum molasses or barley malt syrup for honey.

Vegan option: Use agave nectar or maple syrup in place of honey.

Easy Oil Crust – Whole Foods For The Whole Family, p. 235 – Serves 16

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ cup oil
  • ¼ cup cold water

Mix flour and salt in bowl. Combine oil and water. Add to flour mixture; mix with fork. Shape with hands into 2 balls. Let stand, covered with cloth, for 5 minutes. Roll out between sheets of waxed paper. Fit into 10-inch pie plate; prick with fork. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. May fit into two 9-inch pie plates or fill before baking and bake using recipe instructions.

Please send your story ideas to Amy at [email protected].

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