April is here, bringing a whole new array of spring vegetables. With a little sunshine around, April spring is the time to stock up your pantries with fresh colorful seasonal vegetables and fruits to ensure good health and nutrition.
As April is observed as National Garden Month, it is a great time to get your pots and tools out and start the adventure of sowing, growing, and reaping fresh produce at home. Since the whole objective of gardening is to encourage using fresh produce, non-gardeners can get it from the farmer’s market. The market is full of colorful veggies like carrots, snap peas, asparagus, artichokes, radishes, spring greens, and fruits like apples, rhubarb, berries, and some citrus varieties.
For Spring Nutrition, we give here 2 simple recipes – one savory and one sweet using the fresh seasonal produce of early April.
April is the peak season for asparagus. It is low in calories and nutrient-rich in fiber, folate, and vitamins A, C, and K. It aids weight loss because of its high fiber and water content. It is packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants helping with blood pressure regulation, fighting against inflammation, and improving digestive health. This simple recipe of oven-roasted asparagus makes a great side with grilled fish or any lean meat, or it makes an excellent nutritious snack on its own.
- Asparagus – 1 bunch of thin spears, trimmed
- Olive oil – 3 tbsp
- Salt – 1 tsp
- Black pepper – 1/2 tsp, ground
- Garlic – 1 clove, minced (optional)
- Lemon juice – 1 tbsp (optional)
- Parmesan cheese – 1 ½ tbsp, grated (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C (425 degrees F).
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the asparagus spears with a drizzle of olive oil.
- Sprinkle the salt, pepper, garlic, and Parmesan cheese. Toss it to coat the asparagus well.
- Place the coated asparagus as a single layer on a baking sheet.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 12 -15 minutes, or until just tender, depending on the thickness.
- Sprinkle the lemon juice just before serving.
- Roasted asparagus with grilled fish and roasted tomatoes make a great combo.
- Roasted walnuts, seeds, or almonds can be added to the asparagus for extra texture and nutrition.
- The asparagus can be roasted and served along with in-season fresh sweet potatoes or red potatoes.
- The asparagus can be trimmed into smaller pieces if desired.
- Herbs or spices of choice can be added along with the salt and garlic before roasting.
This recipe makes 4 servings.
Nutritional Facts (per serving):
- Calories – 123
- Protein – 3.3 g
- Carbs – 5.2 g
- Dietary Fiber – 2.4 g
- Fat – 10.8 g
Rhubarb is probably one of the first vegetables to show up in spring. It makes a great option for savory and sweet dishes. Rhubarb is an excellent source of Vitamin K, essential for blood clotting and bone health. It is also rich in antioxidants that are good for healthy skin, fighting cancer, inflammation, and premature aging. The rich fiber content lowers bad cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart diseases. This recipe of Rhubarb muffins is easy to make in large quantities for a family dinner or party.
For the Muffins:
- Rhubarb – 1 cup, diced
- Vanilla yogurt – ½ cup
- Egg – 1
- All-purpose flour – 1 ⅓ cups
- Butter – 2 tbsp, melted
- Vegetable oil – 2 tbsp
- Brown sugar – ¾ cup
- Salt – ¼ tsp
- Baking soda – ½ tsp
For the topping:
- Brown sugar – ¼ cup
- Butter – 2 tsp, melted
- Ground cinnamon – ½ tsp
- Ground nutmeg – ¼ tsp
- Sliced almonds – ¼ cup, crushed
- Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C (350 degrees F).
- Grease a 12 cup muffin tin. Paper liners can also be used.
- Take a medium bowl. Combine the yogurt, oil, melted butter, and egg.
- In another large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, salt, and baking soda.
- Slowly add the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix till just combined. Fold in the rhubarb.
- Add this mixture into the prepared muffin tin, filling them till at least 2/3 full.
- Take a small bowl and combine the topping ingredients of brown sugar, melted butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, and almonds.
- Gently spoon this mixture over the muffin tops, and press it down lightly.
- Bake for around 25 minutes in the preheated oven. When pressed lightly, the tops must spring back.
- Cool for about 15 minutes before removing.
- Make sure the leaves of the rhubarb are cut off and not used in cooking as they are poisonous.
- Although fresh rhubarb is healthy and nutritious, frozen rhubarb can also be used in this recipe.
This recipe makes 12 servings.
Nutritional Facts (per serving):
- Calories – 112
- Protein – 3 g
- Carbs – 31 g
- Dietary Fiber – 0.8 g
- Fat – 6.6 g
Recipes ideas and sources taken from allrecipes.com