Seasonal Eating: Spring
As we've seen in previous posts, Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that a person should alter his or her diet to align with the seasons. According to the Five Elements Theory, spring is connected to the liver. So foods that support and nurture this amazing organ are called for when the winds of March take hold. And spring and the liver have the same color in common, green! So more greens are beneficial during these refreshing, vibrant months when everything is sprouting and leafing out. Challenge yourself to double or triple the amount of green vegetables you eat daily - there are so many delicious options!
Also, young plants - microgreens and sprouts - are helpful for gently cleansing the body during this time. Such foods bring vibrancy to dishes and are subtly rejuvenating. The two recipes below incorporate some of our favorite foods for spring - kale, sweet potato, radishes, asparagus, citrus, and delicious sprouts. If you're feeling creative, add your own twist to these dishes, which are great canvases for experimentation.
Roasted Beet, Sweet Potato, and Kale Salad
1 large sweet potato
1/4 cup dried, unsweetened cranberries
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
4 beets peeled
1 bunch kale, chopped
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
3 green onion stems, chopped finely
2 tbsp coconut oil
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
dash of cayenne pepper
Juice of one lime
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
To make dressing, place olive oil, vinegar, cayenne pepper, and lime juice in a blender. Blend on medium for 30 seconds.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Dice sweet potato into 3cm cubes. Peel fresh beets dice into 3cm cubes.
Toss on a baking sheet with coconut oil, salt, and pepper. Bake for 40-45 minutes, tossing occasionally until the vegetables are soft.
While the vegetables are cooking, blanch the kale to reduce bitterness and soften the greens. To blanch, stir the chopped kale leaves into boiling water for 2-3 minutes, drain, then run under cold water to stop the cooking process.
In a large bowl, toss together the sweet potato, beets, walnuts, cranberries, kale and quinoa.
Add dressing to salad and toss well. Top with finely chopped green onion. Serves 4.
Spring Quinoa Salad
1 cup quinoa (white, red, or multicolored)
2 cups purified water
1/2 tsp coarse Celtic sea salt
1 large handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
juice from 1/2 lemon, or more to taste + more for the asparagus
2 tablespoons cold-pressed olive oil + more for the asparagus
1 tbsp raw honey
1 bunch asparagus (approx. 15 spears)
1 bunch radishes (approx. 15), sliced
1 lb. strawberries, sliced
1 big handful pea, lentil, radish, or any other type of fresh sprouts
shaved Parmesan cheese to taste (or you can leave this out)
Bring the water to boil in a saucepan, then add the quinoa.
Let this gently simmer on low heat for 7-10 minutes, then add sea salt.
Remove from heat and let sit for another 7-10 minutes or until tender.
Drain any excess water and let slightly cool.
Finely chop the parsley and add to the quinoa together with lemon, oil and honey.
Season with more salt and pepper to taste.
Heat a grill or a large griddle pan and dry grill the asparagus spears on both sides until nicely marked and soft.
Slice the asparagus spears into bite size pieces and drizzle generously with lemon juice and oil. Thinly slice radishes and strawberries.
Place the buckwheat in a serving bowl, arrange asparagus, radishes and strawberries over and scatter with Parmesan cheese and sprouts. Serves 2-3.