Spring is in the air. Days are longer, sunnier and warmer. It is time to pack away our winter paraphernalia especially in the Northern Hemisphere. That warrants a lighter menu to help us shed the unwanted winter pounds.
Gardens are starting to bud, and looking around the supermarket, we will notice many green produce that auger in the spring season. You will find dandelions, burdock, beets, and arugula, as well as white and red radish with their leaves, along with spinach, endives and many others.
These greens are beneficial for us and they taste delicious in salads. Some also lend themselves to light cooking.
Mixed Greens Spring Salad
Ideally the fresh mixed spring greens should be used, but feel free to use an assortment of some more common greens, such as romaine or radicchio, endive or butter crunch.
8 cups (2 L) mixed greens
1 cup (250 mL) thinly sliced radishes, cucumber and button mushrooms
Poppy Seed Dressing:
4 Tbs light mayonnaise
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbs lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp poppy seeds
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Poppy Seed Dressing: In large bowl, whisk mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, poppy seeds, salt and pepper. (Make-ahead: Transfer to airtight container; refrigerate for up to 1 week.)
Add mixed greens and vegetables; toss to coat.
Preparation 30 minutes
Serves 4 -6
Roasted Red Pepper and Hummus Wraps
Roasted red peppers and hummus make a lovely combination.
To roast red peppers, choose 4 firm nice red peppers. Seed and wash them thoroughly and cut them in half. Place them in a baking sheet and broil in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes until charred. Remove from oven and cover tightly for 10 minutes with a dishtowel or silver foil. Open up the wrapping and you will find that peppers will peel easily. Cut peppers into thin strips and mix with 1 cup prepared hummus.
8 leaves of your favorite green leaves
4 large whole wheat wraps
1 cup (250 gr.) roasted red pepper Hummus
1/2 cup (125 gr.) grated carrots
1/2 cup (125 gr.) thinly sliced cucumbers
1/2 cup (125 gr.) variety of sprouts (optional)
Place 2 lettuce leaves on each wrap. Spread hummus evenly over each. Sprinkle with carrots, cucumber, and sprouts (if using).
Tuck sides over filling; roll up from end. Cut each diagonally in half. Wrap in silver foil. Feel free to make more wraps and fill them with tuna or eggs salad (instead of Hummus) over greens. Send extra wraps for lunch the next day, your children will thank you.
Preparation 20 minutes
The ever so versatile cabbage is a delicious addition to any meal. This soup is light and nutritious as it is vitamin packed with loads of veggies.
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup diced celery
1 red pepper diced
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1-28oz. can of tomatoes, chopped
6 cups hot water
3 tbsp chopped parsley (optional)
2 cups raw potatoes, cubed
1 cup raw carrots, diced
6 cups green cabbage (chopped)
In a skillet brown the onion, and then add celery and red pepper and saut? until transparent.
Transfer to a large soup pot and add the remaining ingredients except for the cabbage.
Cook 1 hour uncovered then add the cabbage. Cook one more hour then serve hot.
You can use the crockpot for this recipe with wonderful results. Just put all your ingredients into the crockpot in the morning and enjoy a wonderful, nourishing meal at suppertime.
Preparation 30 minutes
Warm Chicken Salad with Pine Nuts
Combining lettuce greens with the protein (chicken) transforms this salad into a favorite, with the best of the vegetable and protein worlds.
Poaching chicken breasts in a mixture of balsamic vinegar and chicken broth makes them unusually tender. The poaching liquid then becomes the base for a slightly sweet, intensely flavored dressing.
3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (homemade chicken soup works well)
3/4 cup (Kedem or other) balsamic vinegar
4 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
1 tsp rosemary (a spice) optional
1 bay leaf
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed (1 pound total)
2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbs chopped shallots/onions
Salt and pepper to taste
6 cups torn mixed salad greens, such as curly endive, escarole, spinach, Belgian endive, arugula, radicchio and/or watercress, washed and thoroughly dried
2 medium red bell peppers roasted (see recipe above) and cut into thin strips
1 Tbs pine nuts, toasted
2 Tbs chopped fresh parsley, preferably flat-leaved
Combine broth, vinegar, garlic, 1 teaspoon rosemary and bay leaf in a wide saucepan or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Add chicken breasts, cover and poach gently just until the flesh is no longer pink inside, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and keep warm.
Boil the poaching liquid until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Strain, discard garlic and bay leaf and pour 1/2 cup poaching liquid into a small bowl. Whisk in oil, shallots and pepper. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Toss greens in a large bowl with 1/4 cup of the dressing. Arrange on individual plates. Carve chicken into thin slices and arrange over greens. Garnish with red pepper and drizzle the remaining dressing over all ingredients. Sprinkle pine nuts, parsley and remaining 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary over the chicken.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Jello Fruit Mold
- 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 cup late harvest Riesling or other sweet white wine
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
2 cup seedless red grapes, chilled
2 cup seedless green grapes, chilled
In cup, evenly sprinkle gelatin over ½ cup water. Let stand 2 minutes to allow gelatin to absorb liquid and soften slightly.
In 2-quart saucepan, heat sugar and 1 cup Riesling on medium-low, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves. Stir in softened gelatin mixture, and heat 1 to 2 minutes or until gelatin dissolves, stirring frequently. Remove saucepan from heat. Stir in lemon juice and remaining 1 1/2 cups Riesling.
Pour gelatin mixture into 9" by 5" loaf pan. Refrigerate 1 1/2 hours to let it set slightly. Add grapes, distributing evenly; cover and refrigerate overnight, until firm.
To unmold the dessert, place loaf pan up to rim in bowl or sink of warm, not hot, water 4 to 5 seconds. Remove pan from water. Insert small metal spatula around edge of pan to release gelatin. Dry outside of pan. Place serving plate on top of loaf pan, and grasping both together, invert Jello onto plate. Cut into slices to serve.
This molded dessert can stay in the fridge up to 4 days, feel free to make it ahead.
P.S. This works just as well in a Bundt pan, with a mixture of your favorite spring fruits.
Preparation 20 minutes