Spring vegetable suggestions: the mighty asparagus

It finally feels like spring time and the change in weather is a good opportunity to make a change our diet as well. Winter usually entices us to indulge in hearty and heavy soups and stews, but spring brings with it the vibrant flavours and freshness of many fruits and vegetables.

It’s the perfect time to indulge in lighter fare, and although vegetables are available year-round, eating what’s in season always yields the most nutritional benefits. One of my favourite spring vegetables is asparagus, which is in peak season from March to June. The versatility of asparagus is what makes it a must on my spring time menu, not to mention it is low in fat and high in fibre.

My preferred ways to prepare asparagus are grilled and tossed with a Dijon vinaigrette, and in risotto with peas, another spring vegetable. This easy Dijon vinaigrette takes only three ingredients – equal parts lemon juice or the brining liquid in capers and Dijon mustard to two parts olive oil. I love the nutty flavour that grilling or roasting brings out in the asparagus. Other no-fuss ways to prepare these mighty stalks are sautéed with garlic and olive oil, blanched and served with hollandaise sauce or blended in a soup. Asparagus deteriorates very quickly, so plan to use it soon after purchase and remember to break off the bottom of the stalks as those are very tough to cook and eat.

Other springtime favourites of mine are strawberries, spinach and fennel. Strawberries work well in a salad with spinach and almonds as well as desserts, or try roasted fennel served with poached fish.