Winter is finally gone and Springtime is blooming. It’s the time of year for outdoor activities, soaking in the sun and enjoying the cool breezes. It’s a season of lightheartedness and enjoyment. Eating fresh, healthy, light foods that also energize you is key to maximizing the Spring experience. Here are some great spring lunch recipes that are perfect for picnicking in the park, sharing with others, or for a post-workout or pre-errand meal at home.
Turkey or Chicken Gyros
Easy and flavorful, convenient to take with you on the go.
- 1 peeled medium cucumber
- 2 teaspoons dill weed
- 2/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 1-1/2 cups shredded lettuce
- 8 thin tomato slices
- 4 whole pita bread, warmed
- 2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 pound turkey breast tenderloin, cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips or chicken
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt-free Greek seasoning
- Chop a third of the cucumber finely. For the sauce, mix sour cream, dill, onion, lemon juice and chopped cucumber. Slice the remaining cucumber thinly.
- Heat oil over medium-high heat in a non-stick skillet; sauté the chicken or turkey until no longer pink, around 4-6 minutes. Stir in Greek seasoning. Serve turkey, lettuce, tomato and sliced cucumber on pitas; top with sauce and cheese.
Creamy Polenta, Spring Veggies and Gremolata
A tasty vegan and gluten-free meal that is as nutritious as it is flavorful. Includes the seasonal specialty, wild fiddleheads.
- 2 ½ cups water
- ½ cup dry polenta or cornmeal
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon granulated onion or garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon pepper, preferably white pepper
- 2–3 tablespoons olive oil or butter
- 1 cup morel mushrooms ( brush them clean, don’t wet)
- 1 cup porcini mushrooms ( brush them clean, don’t wet)
- 2 cups asparagus, tough ends removed, cut into 1–2 inch slices
- Handful pea shoots
- 1 cup fiddlehead ferns
- Other options: cremini mushrooms, spring peas, snow peas, english peas, edamame, green beans
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 chopped shallot
- 2 tablespoons sherry wine, white wine or water
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme or tarragon
- 2 tablespoons Gremolata
- In a medium pot, bring water to a boil and season with salt, pepper and spices. Once boiling, whisk in the cornmeal. Bring to a simmer, cover and turn heat to low. Mix again in 10 minutes.
- Then cook for another 10 minutes ( 20-25 minutes total). Stir in the olive oil, butter or goat cheese. Turn off the heat.
- As the polenta is cooking, make the gremolata and set it aside.
- Cook the vegetables, cut into bite sized pieces. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat.
- Add mushrooms first, and sauce until just tender, 4-5 minutes. Add shallot and other veggies.
- Add salt and pepper and stir frequently. Lower the heat and take your time, cook about 5 minutes until al dente, or fork tender. Sprinkle in some wine or water, turn up the heat to medium to help cook off the wine. Taste, adjust salt. The gremolata will be very flavorful, so keep the veggies simple. With thick asparagus or larger pieces of veggies, cover the pan for a few minutes to lightly steam them. Don’t overcook them or you may lose the color. If using pea shoots as the garnish, make a well in the center of the pan and lightly sauté them (keeping them separate).
- Assemble 2 bowls or make one large beautiful platter or bowl and serve it from there.
If polenta has thickened too much, reheat it, whisking in a little splash of water, until loose and creamy again. Re-taste for salt. Pour polenta into bowls, top with a mound of the veggies, then top with optional pea shoots. Spoon the flavorful gremolata around the veggies, over the polenta.
Chili-Stuffed Poblano Peppers
A super flavorful recipe with a kick that’s perfect for the cooler days of spring.
- 1 pound lean ground turkey 93% lean or ground beef
- 1 can 15 oz chili without beans
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 large poblano peppers
- 1-1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend, divided
- 1 medium tomato, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 green onions, chopped
- Preheat broiler. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook turkey, crumbling meat, until no longer pink, 5-7 minutes; drain. Add salt and chili; heat through. Stir in 1/2 cup cheese, tomato and green onions.
- Cut peppers lengthwise in half; remove seeds. Place on a foil-lined 15x10x1-in. baking pan, cut side down; brush with oil. Broil 4 inches from heat until skins blister, about 5 minutes.
- Turn peppers with tongs. Fill with turkey or ground beef mix; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Broil until cheese is melted, 1-2 minutes longer.
Vegetarian Spring Rolls
- ⅓ cup soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2 teaspoons chili oil
- ½ teaspoon finely grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon sesame oil
For the Spring Rolls:
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
- 12 julienned shiitake mushroom caps
- 3 minced green onions ½ small green cabbage, shredded (about 2 cups)
- 1 cup bamboo shoots, drained and julienned
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
- Spring roll wrappers, defrosted
- 1 cup julienned snow peas
- 1½ tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten
- Oil, for frying
- Make the dipping sauce: In a small mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients and set aside until ready to serve.
- Make the spring rolls: Over medium or high heat, in a large skillet or wok, add the oil. Once the oil begins to shimmer, add garlic, ginger and green onions, and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, 30 to 40 seconds. Add cabbage, mushrooms, and bamboo shoots. Add salt. Sauté, shaking the pan often until the vegetables start to soften, about 3 minutes. Turn up the heat to high, then add the snow peas, sesame oil and soy sauce then season with salt. Sauté for 1 more minute until the vegetables are crisp-tender. Stir in the cilantro.
- Drain the filling to remove any excess moisture, then spread the vegetables on a rimmed baking sheet and let them cool to room temperature for about 10 minutes. Begin assembling the spring rolls (see the story for a slideshow): Working with one wrapper, place the wrapper so that a corner is facing you, then spoon 2 tablespoons of the cooled filling onto the bottom third of the wrapper that is closest to you.
- Lift the bottom of the wrapper and fold over the filling, flattening the wrapper around the filling so no air bubbles form. Tuck it back. Start folding the wrapper away from you. Fold in the sides to create an envelope-like shape. Keep cinching and folding. Brush the top inside corner lightly with the egg white. The spring roll should measure 1-by-3½ inches. Place the spring roll on a parchment-lined sheet tray; cover with a damp paper towel. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling.
- Fill a wok or a medium heavy-bottomed pot with 2 inches of oil and heat to 350 F. Working in batches of 4, fry the spring rolls, turning every so often, until golden brown and crisp, 1½ to 2 minutes. Remove using a slotted spoon and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Serve the spring rolls with the dipping sauce.