Eat Green: Seasonal Cooking for Spring

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Spring is here. In order to eat seasonally your food focus should be shifting to tender, leafy vegetables that represent the fresh new growth of this season. The color green is associated with spring, which is a time of renewal and refreshing, vital energy. The greening that occurs in springtime should be represented by greens on your plate, including items like swiss chard, spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, fresh parsley and basil.

Leafy greens are some of the easiest and most beneficial vegetables to incorporate into your daily routine. Kale, for example, has more nutritional content and few calories than almost anything else. Although it can be found throughout the year, it is in season from the middle of winter through the beginning of spring when it has a sweeter taste. Kale is part of the Brassica family, which is known for their health promoting benefits and cancer fighting properties. Kale boosts the body’s detoxification enzymes, thus helping to clear potentially carcinogenic substances more quickly. Research shows that diets high in cruciferous vegetables, such as kale, are associated with lower incidence of a variety of cancers, including lung, colon, breast and ovarian cancer. One cup of kale contains just 36.4 calories, but provides 192.4% of the daily value for vitamin A, 88.8% of the daily value for vitamin C, and 7.0% of the day’s needs for manganese which helps produce energy from protein and carbohydrate. Kale also contains calcium, fiber, vitamin E, iron and B vitamins. Here is an easy and delicious kale recipe to get you started on eating for Spring.

Sesame Kale and Portobello Mushrooms

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 3-4 servings (as a side dish)

6 -7 cups chopped Kale
2 cups water
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon low sodium tamari
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/3 cup thinly sliced scallions-white and green parts
2 large Portobello mushrooms, stems removed and cut into 1 inch slices
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds to garnish
salt to taste

1.    Wash Kale, tear leaves from stems and chop into small pieces and put aside
2.    Bring water to a boil and add in prepped Kale. Cover and boil for about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside
3.    Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and scallion and sauté for about 30 seconds. Turn up heat a bit and add mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Cook for 5-6 minutes
4.    Reduce heat to low, stir in Kale and Tamari. Cover and cook for 1-2 minutes until heated through
5.    Garnish with toasted Sesame seeds

Photo Credit: Robert Couse-Baker for Flickr at Creative Commons

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