Right now, gardens and farms (and backyards — we’re looking at you, dandelions!) across the country are bursting with fresh spring greens. It’s the peak of the season now as plants send up shoots and stretch their roots down into the warming soil, and the health benefits of eating spring greens are very well-researched.
For example, spring greens are exceptionally rich in:
- Vitamin C, which boosts your immune system
- Vitamin K, which is critical for bone health and healthy blood
- Plant chemicals and antioxidants, such as indoles and sulforaphane, which have a myriad of health benefits such as anti-inflammation properties, detox and purification properties, and even the potential to reduce the risks of diseases like cancer and heart disease
Incorporate more spring greens into your diet with these tasty and creative recipes.
Detox Breakfast Smoothie Made With Spring Greens
Not only will you start your day with a rich array of antioxidants and fiber, but this breakfast smoothie is also very rich in protein due to the kefir. Kefir is a type of fermented drink that has a flavor similar to creamy yogurt. Its fermented nature adds numerous health benefits to this spring greens smoothie: It’s high in minerals like calcium and phosphorous; it has far more active probiotics than most yogurt, which helps enhance your immune system and strengthens your gut; and it may even have antibacterial effects in your digestive system. Meanwhile, spring greens in the form of fresh dandelions (you can pick your own from your yard, so long as you don’t treat your garden with chemicals) and kale adds more antioxidants and fiber.
1 c almond or oat milk
1 c plain kefir (unsweetened)
1 banana, peeled and frozen
2 c frozen fruit
1 c dandelion greens, washed and chopped
2 c kale greens, washed and chopped
Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until creamy. Enjoy!
Lemon-Infused Spring Greens Salad
Juice from one lemon (2-3 tbsp)
Zest from one lemon (1 tbsp)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp maple syrup or honey
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
2-3 c fresh spring greens (e.g., kale, dandelion, bok choy, pok choy, etc.)
1/2 cup cooked, peeled shrimp
Combine the olive oil, maple syrup, salt, pepper, and lemon juice in a sealable container or a mason jar. Seal the jar or container and shake it vigorously to combine the dressing ingredients.
Heat up your steamer, then add the spring greens and steam for three minutes or until the greens are tender yet firm, and a bright green color.
Let the greens cool for a couple of minutes, then add to a big salad bowl. Toss with the dressing, then garnish with the lemon zest and cooked shrimp. Enjoy!
Spring Greens Pasta
While simple to make, this delightful dinner dish is robust in flavor and textures. Feel free to use any fresh spring greens you enjoy, whether you want the spiciness of arugula or the heartiness of red kale. You can even mix it up for a variety of flavors. Any and all spring greens pair well with the creaminess of the protein- and fiber-rich cannellini beans, making this a hearty and healthy meal high in immunity- and digestion-boosting ingredients.
12 oz whole-grain
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 14-oz can cannellini beans
6 c spring greens, washed and chopped
A handful of cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 green onions, minced
1 tbsp minced fresh basil
1 tbsp minced fresh parsley
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
Pinch of salt and pepper
Cook the pasta according to the instructions on its package, as every brand and type of pasta is different.
In a hot skillet, add the olive oil and saute the garlic until golden brown and fragrant. Add the cooked pasta, plus a couple cups of the hot pasta water, to the skillet. Heat until simmering, then add the spring greens and beans. Cook until the greens are wilted, then remove the pasta from the heat.
Stir in the cheese, herbs, and tomatoes. Toss with salt and pepper and enjoy!