After a long winter, we have officially welcomed spring! With a new month upon us comes new experiences and opportunities, along with a host of fresh seasonal produce we can find at our local markets. So let’s get inspired this season and take advantage of all that early spring can offer us.
What’s in season now?
It’s important to note that seasonal produce may be different depending on where you’re located and what growing conditions your area experiences, but we’re here to offer some inspiration to kick start your seasonal eating journey. We’ve rounded up some of the produce in season in April, along with a dose of inspiration for your culinary endeavors this month.
Here’s a fun fact about arugula. While you’ll often see this included in mesclun mixes (an assortment of small, young salad greens), it’s part of the cabbage family. In half a cup of fresh arugula, you’ll get a dose of vitamins A and C and folate (vitamin B-9, a nutrient crucial for blood cell formation and promoting healthy cell growth and function). This serving will also contain part of your daily vitamin K requirements, plus lutein (an antioxidant that helps maintain our eye health and reduce the risk of macular degeneration).
Are you looking for more inspiration? You may have experienced a bed of arugula with one of your favorite sandwiches, along with a dash of balsamic reduction. We love to add arugula into this delicious lentil summer salad (it’s good for spring, too!) and this summer cornbread Panzanella salad.
There’s a chance that we may automatically associate leeks with potatoes, but these vegetables offer a host of nutritious benefits beyond their delicious taste. Part of the onions, scallions, and garlic family, leeks are nutrient-dense, providing our bodies with provitamin A carotenoids (which our body will convert into vitamin A) and vitamin K1, which is necessary for our heart health and blood clotting. They’re also rich in antioxidants which can help combat the oxidation of our body’s cells.
Are you looking for more inspiration? Leeks are delicious roasted much like broccoli, sweet potatoes, and carrots. Add your cooked leeks as a side to this ginger salmon for a balanced meal, or chop them up and add them to the mixture to create these perfect black bean burgers.
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It’s no surprise to many that leafy greens provide our bodies with many benefits. Dark leafy greens are one foolproof way to get a dose of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. For example, spinach can help support bone health by providing vitamin K, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus. Much like arugula, spinach is also a great source of lutein to help with maintaining our good vision.
Are you looking for more inspiration? We already know and love spinach as an integral part of some of our favorite meals, including the greens to balance out our breakfast omelets and flesh out our next salad. So pop a handful into this immune-boosting smoothie recipe, or layer the leaves between the decadent layers of this Forza lasagna.
Though we think of strawberries as a sweet fruit, consuming them can regulate our blood sugar by slowing down our body’s process of digesting glucose and moderating our body’s insulin usage. You’ll also be able to provide your body with a dose of vitamin C, manganese, and fiber to improve immune function, help our body form connective tissues, and aid in digestion.
Are you looking for more inspiration? Sometimes, nothing beats a bowl of freshly washed strawberries as a sweet snack. Strawberries make a delicious addition to a salad, especially when combined with a handful of walnuts and crumbled feta cheese over a bed of two other seasonal veggies this month, spinach and arugula. This non-dairy strawberry ice cream and vegan cheesecake are two options to curb your next sweet tooth moment for a sweet, decadent option.
You might be sensing a common theme, but mangoes are another fruit rich in incredibly rich nutrients. In addition to antioxidant properties, they’re also brimming with fiber to help with our body’s digestive function. You can also expect some vitamin A and vitamin C from your mango consumption, which can help maintain healthy hair and skin as the aid of the vitamins in collagen production.
Are you looking for more inspiration? We have two words for you: mango salsa. Cut up some ripe mangos and add them into your typical salsa mix of tomatoes, red onion, and cilantro with a bit of jalapeño and lime for the perfect side during your next taco night or alongside a bowl of your favorite tortilla chips. If you’re looking for a good balance between sweet and spicy, this black bean mango salad is right up your alley.