In-Season Eats

Kristin Porter

in-season eats: Mini Mango-Carrot Cupcakes

Can cupcakes be considered health food if they’re chock-full of vitamins, vegetables, and fresh fruit juice? I’d like to think so. Especially when they’re as cute and poppable (read: impossible to eat just one) as Mini Mango-Carrot Cupcakes!

Packed with shredded carrot and sweet mango juice, Mini Mango-Carrot Cupcakes are a fun and sunny take on classic carrot cake. That signature orange hue from freshly shredded carrots is pumped up by the addition of fresh mango juice, or a mango juice blend, which can be found at nearly every grocery store these days. Smooth and tropical-tasting, mango juice is an excellent source of vitamin A, and a good source of Vitamin C, too.

Bonus: mangos and carrots are both in season right now, which means they taste superbly sweet and fresh in this dessert. That being said, the cupcakes aren’t overly sugary-tasting, and almost have the consistency of really moist cornbread. Totally a trip from the ordinary.

Ok, ok, these babies are still technically considered dessert, and have the indulgent, cream cheese frosting swirled on top to prove it, but I like to think their portion-controlled size and addition of a few fresh ingredients make them a great, healthier option to serve at parties or for kids.

The original recipe for Mini Mango-Carrot Cupcakes is for a full-sized layer cake, so I simply scooped the batter into lined mini muffin tins and baked at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes.

However you make it, enjoy this yummy, springtime dessert!

Click here for the Mango Carrot Cake recipe >


Delish Dish Editor

In-Season Eats: Black Rice Salad with Snap Peas, Carrots, and Almonds

It finally felt like spring this weekend. It was 65 degrees, I took my dog to the park, and I felt like cooking something fresh and delicious. Then I remembered saving this Black Rice Salad with Snap Peas, Carrots, and Almonds for a spring day. Because you can’t eat loads of fresh veggies mixed with almonds, black rice, and a light wasabi-laced dressing when it’s cold and blustery outside. This dish was made for the first day of spring.

To start, I did have to invest in a couple of ingredients, but none were too spendy, and I knew I’d be making this salad more than once. I found black rice at a gourmet market along with the wasabi paste. I was a little intimidated because I had never cooked with black rice before, but I followed the package instructions, and it only took a little longer than regular rice. When testing it for doneness, I realized it has this subtle sweetness that is really unexpected. I can’t wait to try using it in other recipes.

The good thing about this recipe was that I could chop everything while the rice cooked so it didn’t take forever. Then, I just threw all the ingredients together and topped it with crunchy almonds. I couldn’t even wait five minutes to eat it. I had to scarf down a bowl immediately, and it was just as fresh and zippy as I thought it would be.

And the dressing! Oh my gosh, let’s talk about the dressing. It’s really simple: just honey, tamari sauce (which is like a darker, milder soy sauce, so if you don’t have a bottle on-hand regular soy sauce works great, too!), wasabi paste, oil, and lemon juice. The sweetness from the honey and the bit of wasabi come together for a combo that is truly flavor awesomeness.

One thing to note is that it makes a big batch. I think we originally shot the recipe for the magazine to be a side dish, but I like it all on its own as a main dish (though I suspect it would be amazing with baked salmon). I kept the almonds on the side and then topped each bowl with them as I dished it up. Though the recipe calls for Marcona almonds, any kind of nut would work here. The nuts do add a lot though, so don’t skip them!

So what are you waiting for? Go make this amazing recipe already! It’s healthy, filled with veggies, and just dying to be your new go-to spring salad.

Here are my tips:

  • You can get black rice and wasabi paste in the health food and Asian aisle of your supermarket. You can also substitute farro or wheat berries for the black rice.
  • Don’t be intimidated if you’ve never cooked with black rice. It’s just like regular rice only it takes a little longer to cook than regular rice. Plus, it’s subtle-sweet flavor is really interesting!
  • Tamari sauce is a darker, milder version of soy sauce. It’s gluten-free as well. But if you don’t want to buy it, just use regular soy sauce.
  • The recipe calls for microgreens or shredded cabbage. I found bagged shredded cabbage at my grocery store so that’s what I used. It worked great!
  • Marcona almonds are my favorite nut. And I’m nuts about nuts. But they can be a little expensive, so feel free to substitute with whatever nut you like. Just don’t skip the nuts, because they do add delicious texture to the salad.

Lauren Brennan

Avocado and Asparagus Egg Sandwiches

Nothing screams Spring quite like bright green veggies! Recently, I’ve been really digging asparagus probably because it’s so easy to cook and my entire family loves it. Yes, even my 4 year old loves it! She calls is ‘sparagus’. She also calls avocados ‘ha-do-ca-dos’. We have fun little cooking and grammar lessons all at the same time.

I’m all about education and multi-tasking.

Except not really.

Anyways, after searching BHG.com, I found this amazing recipe for Avocado and Asparagus Egg Sandwiches. Pretty healthy, totally delicious and really easy to throw together! Plus I had all the ingredients on hand. That is a recipe meant to be.

Here’s how you make them:

Start by snapping the bottoms of your asparagus off. The ends are woody and aren’t that fun to eat. I also sliced mine down the center because the asparagus at the grocery store were particularly large and in charge.

Once you have your asparagus in a shallow dish, cover them with boiling water and set aside. After about 10 minutes they should be crisp-tender and bright green. Drain.

While the asparagus is doing it’s thing, cook up some bacon,

fry a few eggs,

and mash a ripe avocado with a little lemon juice.

To the avocado, chop up a few pieces of the barely cooked asparagus and stir. Once this is all done, you can assemble your sandwiches!

 First, spread a healthy layer of the avocado mixture onto some toasty bread, then top with more asparagus, cooked bacon and a fried egg. Serve warm and enjoy!

We loved this recipe and the combination of bacon and avocado with the asparagus was amazing!!

If you want to try this recipe out, check out the printable right here.


Kate Taylor

in-season eats: garlic-roasted asparagus

Hello! Kate from Cookie and Kate here. Spring is quickly approaching, and so is asparagus season! Asparagus at its peak is a delicacy, if you ask me, and I can’t get enough of it during the springtime. It makes its way into salads, sliced into ribbons, as well as stir-fries, frittatas, and any recipe that calls for an assortment of vegetables.

That said, Garlic-Roasted Asparagus is my favorite preparation. Simply roasted asparagus makes a light yet flavorful side dish that can complement any cuisine. In the past, I’ve tried to dress up roasted vegetables with fancy dressings and sauces, but the truth is that they are best with a light coating of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. A squeeze of lemon or dash of soy sauce will kick the flavor up a notch, but roasted peak asparagus hardly needs any help.

For this easy side dish, you’ll need 1 1/2 pounds asparagus, 2 to 3 cloves garlic, some olive oil, salt and pepper and good-sized baking pan. Simply preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, snap off the woody ends of the asparagus stems, slice your cloves of garlic thin, and toss the asparagus in a light coating of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for 10 to 15 minutes (I roasted mine for a full 15 minutes), until fork-tender. Serve warm.

Find the full recipe for Garlic-Roasted Asparagus here.

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Erin Gleeson

In-season eats: blood orange glazed brussels sprouts and carrots

Blood oranges (and all kinds of citrus!) have been coming in my weekly CSA box of local produce. (A perk of living in sunny CAlifornia I guess!) I used the blood oranges to make this mildly sweet glaze for brussels sprouts and carrots and it came out wonderfully! Adding the nutmeg makes it a perfect chilly weather dish. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh brussels sprouts
  • 3 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup (blood) orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

1. Cut Brussels sprouts in half. In a medium saucepan combine sprouts and carrots. In covered medium saucepan cook in a small amount of boiling water or steam for 10 to 12 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain well. Return all of the vegetables to pan.

2. In a small bowl stir together the orange juice, cornstarch, sugar, nutmeg (if desired), and salt. Add to brussels sprouts and carrots. Cook and stir the mixture over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 1 minute more. Serve immediately. Makes 4 side-dish servings.

 

The Forest Feast is a blog by Erin Gleeson full of simple, colorful vegetable based recipes with photos and watercolor illustration. After working for many years as a food photographer in NYC, Erin moved to a cabin in the woods where she is currently working on The Forest Feast Cookbook. Follow Erin on Twitter and  Instagram, @theforestfeast.


Kristin Porter

in-season eats: Honey-Soaked Quinoa Salad with Grapes & Cashews

Alright, so there’s nearly a foot of snow on the ground, but that isn’t stopping me from dreaming about warmer weather ahead, specifically, spring break!

In just a few week’s time folks from all over the country will be shedding their hats and mittens for shorts and flip flops, and flocking towards warmer weather, wherever that may be. Me? I’m heading to Charleston, South Carolina at the end of March with my husband for a week of fun, sun, and what else – lots of southern food!

Anyways, after months of enjoying hearty, homestyle suppers, I’m on the lookout for lighter, yet flavorful meals that will fill me up, but ensure I’ll be able to fit into the tank tops and sun dresses I’ll be packing for my trip, like Honey-Soaked Quinoa Salad with Grapes, and Cashews.

This hearty salad is as flavorful as it is colorful with the additions of crisp grapes, spicy red onion, sweet dried apricots, and creamy cashews, tossed with hearty quinoa, baby spinach, and a zingy, gingery dressing. Quinoa and cashews are high in protein, so this salad filled me right up, but it’d also be great topped with a chicken breast marinated in some of the dressing and then grilled. Either way – you can’t go wrong.

Start by making that gingery dressing I mentioned, which combines fresh ginger with garlic, honey, vinegar, lime juice, and extra virgin olive oil. Pour all the ingredients into a jar with a tight fitting lid then shake to combine.

Next cook up some quinoa then add to a bowl with with dried cashews and dried apricots. Tip: make sure to rinse your quinoa very, very well in a fine mesh sieve under cold running water before cooking, even if the package says “pre-washed”. Quinoa has a naturally bitter coating called saponin which will throw the taste of the dish off if it isn’t properly rinsed off before cooking.

Next add halved red grapes and thinly sliced red onion.

Finally, add vitamin-rich baby spinach on top then toss everything together with half the dressing.

Plate up, then dig in!

Fresh and flavorful, you will absolutely love this light, figure-friendly salad. The mixture of textures and flavors kept my mouth guessing with every bite. Fun, and delicious to eat!

Click here for the Honey-Soaked Quinoa Salad with Grapes & Cashews recipe >