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Go Nuts this Spring!

The Spring Equinox arrives on March 17th—time to get excited about planting all those fresh fruits and vegetables and/or seeing them in our local markets! Nuts are a wonderful way to enhance spring produce, in texture, flavor, nutrition and staying power!

Here are some creative ways to enrich the first “fruits of spring” with your favorite tree nuts:

  • Lettuce such as arugula, kale, mustard greens and spinach are ready to pop up in your garden or farmer’s markets in early spring. And there’s nothing more welcoming for nuts than a green salad. Try a simple dressing of olive oil and lemon and a scattering of toasted sliced almonds and walnuts. Or, for something a bit more special, mix grated parmesan with finely diced tree nuts, and place teaspoonful-sized mounds in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Allow them to melt and turn golden brown, then flip and cook a minute more before placing onto a wire rack to cool and scatter over salads.
  • Asparagus is one of the first vegetables to break ground in March, its shoots seem to rise out of nowhere. Lightly steamed or roasted until tender to the bite, and served with crumbled goat cheese and roasted chopped hazelnuts or pine nuts is divine. Just make sure if you steam or boil the asparagus that you cook it 1-2 minutes or until just tender, and then refresh it in an iced water bath for a few minutes to stop it from cooking further and getting overcooked. Try white asparagus with melted butter, capers, parsley, lemon and pecans or macadamias.
  • Fava Beans may take a bit of work to steam and then remove their skin, but they are so worth the effort. A warm fava bean and English pea salad with mint, diced nuts, lemon zest and olive oil is a great side dish with grilled salmon or chicken. It also makes a great dip or sauce when pureed with your favorite tree nuts, olive oil and fresh herbs. Pure Spring!
  • Radishes are well known to be served shaved over salads, but did you know they are also great cut into quarters and sautéed or roasted with other vegetables? For salads, layer thinly sliced cucumber, radish and red onion and drizzle with red wine vinegar and olive oil. Puree any tree nut with basil, mint, parmesan and olive oil and drizzle over the top! Walnuts and radishes are great sautéed until golden and served over a steak or rack of lamb. Or for something lush and unique, puree radish with yogurt and cashews or macadamias for a delightful summer soup.
  • Morels are foragers’ springtime treat and so gorgeous with any kind of nut, especially hazelnuts, walnuts and pine nuts. Wash well, chop and sauté over high heat with nuts to serve as a side dish or toss through pasta, topped with some fresh ricotta, lemon zest and finely sliced basil.
  • Rhubarb, like asparagus, suddenly shoots up when the weather warms and is so much more versatile than many realize. Of course there are the classic desserts like this Crisp, by Love & Lemons, with walnuts, but think of roasted rhubarb with a dot of brown sugar to serve over pork, it’s sweet-sour red juices drizzling over the meat. Easy but so very special. If you’re hankering for a recipe for an exquisite rhubarb, asparagus and nut pasta, try this Italian recipe by Laura Bonicelli.
  • Strawberries are at their best in early spring – look for bright red berries without white around the stalk. Sometimes the smaller ones have the best flavor. For breakfast, serve over our Breakfast Grain Bowl or a bowl of muesli and yogurt. Or for dessert, our Fruit Tiramisu, which has elements of a British trifle, is succulent and fresh.

Spring is the perfect season for a healthier lifestyle with easy, more colorful and plant-based meals, so set your imagination free and make your kitchen your playground!

Bon Appétit!

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