5 spring vegetables to boost meals and health
Rhubarb: Spring's unsung hero
CBC Health spoke with registered dietitian Michelle Mountain of Humber River Hospital in Toronto.
Spring vegetables are here! Seasonal produce is a great way to get your nutrients. Top picks for this year's harvest:
Asparagus is an energizing and low-calorie spring vegetable that is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A and folate. Asparagus season is now upon us, running from April to June. To keep the nutrients and flavour high, don't overcook your asparagus. Thin spears only need three minutes in the steamer or pop them in the oven at 204 C or 400 F for 10 to 15 minutes. You can also barbecue them and then season with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
Packed with high nutrition at a low cost, this crop is spring's unsung hero! Rhubarb contains calcium for bone health and potassium for proper organ function. Balance the tart flavour of rhubarb by cooking it with sweet fruits like strawberries in the form of a compote, custard or in baked goods like pies. Or, embrace its tartness and toss in slices of rhubarb stems with beets, olive oil and garlic and roast at 190 C or 375 F until tender. Season with salt and pepper.
This amazing leafy vegetable has vitamin A, vitamin C and lots of fibre. Steam four cups of spinach for a few minutes and you'll meet one quarter of your daily fibre requirement. Add spinach to salads, eggs, chilis and soups. Or simply saute for a few minutes on high with a bit of olive oil to coat the pan and some chopped garlic.
This bright root vegetable is loaded with vitamin C, potassium and folate. Beets are low calorie — only 50 per cup — but they add lots of personality and nutritional punch to salads, especially when roasted and paired with goat cheese and spinach. A more convenient option are canned beets (the non-pickled variety) which are pre-cooked and low in sodium.
This flavourful veggie contains vitamin C and is a healthy but low calorie way to satisfy a craving for crunch. With only eight calories for 10 radishes, consider these refreshing vegetables as a healthier alternative to chips. Their peppery flavour pairs well when dipped in guacamole or Greek-yogurt based dips.
With files from CBC's Natalie Ruskin