Spring greens and vegetables: The key to a healthy body

Many consumers are now choosing fresher, cleaner, pesticide-free, naturally and organically raised foods which need minimal preparation to bring out maximum flavor.

by Stan Kalson — 

It is simple: placing a high priority on the quality of food we eat helps determine the degree of our wellness.

Extensive media discussions have recently covered the dangers of chemical fertilizers and pesticides used in commercial agriculture. Health researchers now state, without hesitation, that there is a relationship between our consumption of poor-quality food and water, and an increased rate of disease.

In many cultures, fresh food preparation is the only acceptable lifestyle. So, do not wait for government research to validate the need for you to consume more fresh, organically raised fruits, vegetables, grains and meats.

Many consumers are now choosing fresher, cleaner, pesticide-free, naturally and organically raised foods which need minimal preparation to bring out maximum flavor.

At this time of year, local Phoenix-area farmers’ markets are bursting with springtime vegetables. Spoil your taste buds with higher quality foods and try the following recipes using fresh, organic spring vegetables.

Spring Vegetable Medley Salad

Ingredients:

  • 3 to 4 cups fresh greens (romaine, red leaf lettuce, spinach, arugula), torn into small pieces
  • 2 small, ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 2 small spring green onions, sliced
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • Black olives, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Herbamare Seasoning

Instructions:

Mix the greens and spread on a large platter. Scatter the tomatoes, carrot, onion and olives over the greens. Sprinkle with oregano. Before serving, drizzle a little olive oil and vinegar on the salad, and season to taste.

Fresh Salad Wraps

Ingredients:

  • 3 to 4 cups fresh greens (romaine, red leaf lettuce, spinach, arugula), torn into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • Slice of whole wheat lavash
  • Juice of small lemon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons non-salt herbal mixture or other salad seasonings, to taste

Instructions:

Gently heat the lavash bread until pliable. Spread tahini on bread. Add greens. Mix lemon, olive oil and herbal seasonings together. Then, drizzle mixture over greens. Roll up and hold together with a toothpick. Decorate with an olive or cherry tomato on the toothpick.

Spring Vegetables and Rice

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cups fresh asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup fresh carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup fresh snow peas, stemmed
  • 1 cup Brussels sprouts
  • 1 cup broccoli
  • 1/2 cup green scallion tops (snip with kitchen scissors)
  • 1/2 teaspoon herbal seasoning, to taste
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup water

Instructions:

Heat butter in a large, deep sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until golden brown. Remove pan from heat. Add asparagus, carrots, snow peas, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, herbal seasoning and 1/2 cup water to pan. Return to high heat; cover and cook until vegetables start to steam. Add cooked brown rice. Mix vegetable and rice. Place in serving bowl, and sprinkle scallion tops over mixture. Serve immediately with green salad.

Greens, Beans and Tamales

Ingredients:

  • 4 to 6 cups mixed greens (chard, kale, spinach), remove from stems and tear into small pieces
  • 1 can of vegetarian refried beans
  • Salsa, heat value to taste
  • Vegetable tamales, available at local farmers’ markets

Instructions:

Place tamales in steaming pot and steam until thoroughly warmed. Place greens in steaming pot over tamales, cover pot and cook until tender. Do not overcook greens or tamales. Place 1/2 can of refried beans in another pot, and cream with small amount of water and 1/4 cup of salsa. Warm. Arrange the tamales on a plate with steamed greens on the side, and pour creamed beans over tamales. Delicious and filling.

 

Stan Kalson is the founder and director of the International Holistic Center, Inc. and has been active in the Greater Phoenix holistic community for 32 years. www.holisticresources.org. 602-266-1160.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 28, Number 1, Feb/Mar 2009.

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