Spring is in the air, and with it comes an abundance of fresh, locally-grown produce in Michigan. From vibrant herbs to crisp carrots, the health benefits of these seasonal offerings are numerous.
Herbs like chives, parsley, and basil are flavorful additions to any dish and offer a range of health benefits. Parsley is packed with vitamins C and K, while basil is a great source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Chives contain sulfur compounds that can help support healthy digestion.
Another spring crop to take advantage of is carrots. They are an excellent source of beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant that supports healthy vision and immune function. Carrots are also rich in fiber, which can help support healthy digestion and satiety.
Arugula, a peppery green, is a great source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as folate and calcium. It offers an impressive array of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds and makes for a great topper in savory and zesty dishes.
Enjoy the fresh flavors of the season with these three spring-inspired recipes:
Sizzling Garlic and Spring Herb Yogurt Dip – Serves 4
This sizzling garlic and spring herb yogurt dip is a great protein- and nutrient-packed snack or party appetizer. Delicious and easy to make, the dip comes together in less than 10 minutes and can be served with your favorite dippers like fresh-cut veggies, crackers, and toasted bread.
- 1.5 cups Greek yogurt, 2% milkfat
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ tsp. paprika
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 2 Tbsp. fresh parsley
- 2 Tbsp. fresh basil
- 1 lemon wedge
- In a bowl, mix Greek yogurt with honey, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat for about 2-3 minutes, until the oil is shimmering but not smoking.
- In a glass bowl, add spices and herbs, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour the hot oil over the spices and let infuse until the oil has cooled slightly, about 5-7 minutes.
- Spread yogurt in a serving dish and spoon over the oil mixture, making sure all spices are grabbed from the bottom. Sprinkle juice from the lemon wedge on top. Serve with your favorite dippers. Enjoy!
Roasted Miso Glazed Carrots and with Grilled Chicken – Serves 4
In this spring recipe, chicken and carrots are tossed in a sweet-and-savory miso glaze and roasted until tender and caramelized. Chopped green onions add freshness, flavor, and a pop of color to the dish.
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp. miso paste
- 3 Tbsp. honey or maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
- 3 Tbsp. avocado oil
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 tsp. sambal oelek or sriracha
- 1 tsp. grated ginger or ½ tsp. powdered ginger
- 1-pound carrots
- 1-pound chicken breasts or thighs
- 3 green onions, chopped
- 3 cups brown rice, cooked
- In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce miso paste, maple syrup or honey, rice vinegar, avocado oil, garlic, sambal oelek, and ginger. Set aside 3 tablespoons of the mixture.
- Using half of the mixture, marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes, but ideally 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. The chicken will take 10-15 minutes to grill, so start the carrots about 30 minutes before grilling the chicken.
- Toss the baby carrots in a large bowl with half of the miso glaze until well-coated.
- Spread the carrots on a lined baking sheet and roast them in the preheated oven. After 15 minutes, turn and add the additional glaze reserved from step 4.
- Preheat the grill and grill the chicken. Roast the chicken for about 10-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the breasts or thighs, flipping halfway through. Grill until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
- When the carrots and chicken are done roasting, brush with the reserved miso glaze.
- Serve the miso-glazed carrots and roasted miso-glazed chicken together on a plate. Top with green onions and serve with brown rice. Enjoy!
Spring Veggie Puff Pastry Tart – Serves 6-8
Welcome spring with this veggie puff pastry tart. This easy appetizer comes together by baking a puff pastry until crisp and topping it with creamy and zesty ricotta along with arugula and pomegranate seeds for a pop of sweetness.
- 2 puff pastry sheets
- 1 egg, whisked for egg wash
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta
- ½ lemon, wedged
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp. chopped chives
- ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
- Arugula, two handfuls
- 3 Tbsp. parmesan cheese, shaved
- 3 Tbsp. balsamic reduction
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Roll out the puff pastry sheets and press out any creases. Score a 1-inch border around the edges. Prick the pastry with a fork and brush the pastry with egg wash.
- Bake for 15 minutes and remove from oven. Fold over the scored edges of the puff pastry to create a ridge.
- While the puff pastry is baking, prepare the ricotta mixture. In a bowl, mix ricotta, juice from 1 lemon wedge, garlic, chives, salt, and pepper.
- Spread the mixture on the puff pastry and spread the ricotta mixture on top. Top with arugula, parmesan cheese, pomegranate seeds, juice from one lemon wedge, and a drizzle of balsamic reduction.
Shanthi Appelö is a registered dietitian and health and wellness spokesperson for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan based in Detroit. Passionate about the science of nutrition and behavior, Shanthi has experience working in clinical nutrition, public health and teaching in the university setting. In her free time, she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, exploring the outdoors, working on art and spending time with family. For more recipes and health information, visit ahealthiermichigan.org.
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