Spring makes me think of flowers and vegetables blooming in the garden. Let me share some of my favorite winter to spring transitional recipes with delicious winter vegetables that continue blooming right into the spring. Let’s enjoy leeks, spaghetti squash and asparagus right now.
Spaghetti squash is my go-to addition for almost any meal. Use it with your favorite spaghetti sauce, in a stir-fry or a base for any protein and vegetable combo. For many years, I was intimidated by the preparation process. I tackled it this year, and it was super simple.
Perfect Spaghetti Squash
1 spaghetti squash
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Sprinkle of salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper
- Cut off top and bottom ends of the squash
- Stand the squash on one of the cut ends, slice it in half
- Use a large spoon to scoop out the seeds and discard them
- Drizzle 1 teaspoon olive oil inside each half and rub the oil all over the inside of each half, add more oil if needed
- Lightly sprinkle salt and pepper over the inside of each half
- Place cut side down on the lined baking sheet
- Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, until cut sides turn golden and the interior is easily pierced with a fork. A small squash will cook in less time.
- Fluff interior with a fork to make the insides spaghetti-like.
- Ready to serve!
The next two soup recipes will make you want to hang on to cooler weather just a little longer.
Miso Soup with Asparagus and Broiled Salmon
4 3-oz salmon fillets, skinned
2 tablespoons miso paste
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons Shao-hsing cooking wine or dry sherry (optional)
3 cups vegetable broth
2 1/4 cups sliced bok choy (halve wide stems lengthwise and slice crosswise)
1 cup sugar snap peas
1 cup of 1-inch long asparagus
2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
1/2 cup diagonally sliced scallions
- Place salmon in a pie plate. Mix 1 tablespoon of miso paste and soy sauce in a cup and spread over the salmon’s top. Set aside.
- Preheat broiler. Line a broiler pan with foil. Coat a broiler-pan rack with cooking spray.
- In a large saucepan, place the oil, garlic and ginger. Cook over medium heat, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until fragrant.
- Add the wine or sherry (if desired), vegetable broth and cover. Increase heat and bring to boil.
- Reduce heat to medium, add bok choy, peas, asparagus and carrots.
- Cover and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, or until crisp/tender.
- Add the scallions and remove from heat.
- Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon miso and cover to keep warm.
- Broil salmon 5 inches from heat source for 8 to 10 minutes, or until browned and just opaque in the thickest part.
- Transfer the salmon to soup bowls, ladle the soup on top and serve right away.
This soup recipe combines two of my favorite winter vegetables that stick around in the spring, butternut squash and leeks. Enjoy!
Sweet Butternut Squash and Leek Soup
3 slices center-cut (30% less fat) of bacon, chopped
2 cups leeks (about 3), white and light green parts only, chopped
2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 pears, peeled, cored and chopped
1/2 cup carrots (about 2), chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 cups low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth
1/2 cup light cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Add bacon and cook until crisp, 5 to 6 minutes.
- Stir the leeks in and cook until they begin to soften, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add squash, sweet potatoes, half of the pears, the carrots, and thyme. Stir occasionally until the vegetables are slightly softened, about 9 to 10 minutes.
- Stir in the nutmeg and cook for 30 seconds.
- Pour in the broth, bring to boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.
- Remove pan from the stove and cool for 10 minutes.
- Transfer the soup, in batches, to a blender and puree.
- Return to saucepan over medium heat.
- Stir in cream, salt, pepper and heat until hot, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Divide among 8 bowls and garnish with the remaining pear.
More Healthy Spring Recipes: