This is an intriguing month for conscious cooks. The weather is completely unpredictable, with bone-chilling days when nothing but steaming hot soup will satisfy, to moments when there is a seductive, warm whiff of spring in the air.
Nature now begins its annual transformation, changing the landscape from white to green. Green is such a welcome color, bright and invigorating, with green ingredients playing a pivotal role in rejuvenating the body. Dark, leafy greens, in particular, are so very valuable in providing the body with nourishing, natural health benefits.
Arugula, collard greens, mustard greens, spinach, Swiss chard, kale, beet greens, parsley, and all types of lettuces bring a vibrant new range of color to the table, while serving up significant restoration.
Full of enzymes, dark, leafy greens can promote proper digestion and absorption of nutrients. Dark, leafy greens contain nitrites, which may increase fat-burning ability, making them a desirable component of a weight loss campaign. Rich in vitamin K, folate, beta-carotene and lutein, more greens in your diet can encourage younger looking skin, and may provide some protection from sun damage. The chlorophyll content in greens may neutralize toxins in the body.
Sensational spring salads can be composed by combining a variety of lettuces, kale, spinach and parsley with a light, yet lively, lemon vinaigrette. Add bits of basil and cilantro for even more herbal flavor and fragrance. Or for a more robust rendition, dress those greens in a coat of zesty garlic-mustard dressing and a shower of parmesan shavings. Eggs and greens are wonderfully compatible. An arugula and herb omelet makes for a sophisticated, yet speedy dinner entrée. Kale and spinach are spectacular when added to a pot of steaming hot soup. Lettuce wraps, filled with veggies and drizzled with sweet chili sauce explode with flavor!
Get your green on as you prepare your delicious life!
Lettuce Wraps Ingredients And Instructions
Serves 2. Use organic for all veggies if you can get them; be sure to wash your produce very well and then dry.
4 large Romaine lettuce leaves (or substitute collards)
1 yellow, red or orange pepper (thinly sliced)
1 English cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
2-3 Campari tomatoes, diced
1 nicely ripe avocado (peeled and smashed up in a bowl)
1 cup shredded carrot
8 cooked asparagus spears
2 cups cooked quinoa, brown rice, farro or barley
fresh parsley and basil (a small handful of each)
Divide smashed avocado and smear onto each of the 4 lettuce leaves. Then fill lettuce leaves down the center with veggies, parsley and basil and your grain choice. Don’t overfill! Drizzle with a little sweet chili sauce. Roll up and serve with more chili sauce on the side for dipping.
Sweet Chili Sauce
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (can go up to 1 Tablespoon if you really like it hot!)
2-3 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 ½ teaspoons minced fresh ginger (optional)
¼ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1/3 cup honey
¾ cup water
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
Bring red pepper flakes, garlic, ginger, honey, water and salt to a boil over medium heat in a small saucepan. Let boil for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.
Mix the cornstarch with the 2 tablespoons water and add to the saucepan, stirring until sauce thickens.
Remove from heat and let cool. Store in a glass container in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.