Eating local foods in the springtime, as with any season, depends not only on what can be grown in our local region but also on the weather and ingredients we have access to, whether they’re from a grocery store, farmer’s market, or our own personal greenhouse, hoop house, or walipini (underground greenhouse). For me, it also depends on cooking experience – almost everything I’m comfortable cooking is an unsustainable (waste-heavy, artificial ingredient-filled, non-local) dish. So I put together a few simple recipes for those who, like me, struggle with cooking and eating seasonal produce.
One of the nicest features of a salad is that they’re easy to modify according to many different sustainable diets. These recipes we use for lunches, dinners or a side dish should work for omnivores, vegetarians, vegans, and anyone following a gluten-free diet. If you want to add in meat or substitute for a base you prefer, feel free to experiment!
Spicy Broccoli Pasta Salad
• Broccoli (head)
• 5 Cloves garlic
• Olive Oil
• Crushed red pepper (pinch)
• Gluten-free pasta or favorite pasta
This dish works best with any kind of pasta (gluten-free or not) that can hold flavor, such as shells. Chop broccoli and garlic. Boil broccoli for five minutes, draining and saving the water in a medium cooking pot. Boil pasta in the saved water, adding more if necessary, according to package instructions. Meanwhile, coat the bottom of a skillet in olive oil and sauté garlic and crushed red pepper on medium-low heat for a minute, then add the broccoli, cooking for four minutes longer to infuse with flavor. Drain pasta and combine with broccoli. Serve hot or cold.
Spring Greens DIY Salad Wrap
• Mint, cilantro or favorite springtime herbs
• Arugula, spinach, lettuce, or favorite greens
• Sunflower seeds or spring chicken
• Carrots, beets, peas, or favorite in-season vegetables
• Bernice’s Hellacious Local Hummus or favorite dressing
Place chopped toppings in several small individual clear air-tight containers (for later storage). Spread hummus or dressing on a tortilla (small gluten-free tortillas work fine, too) and toss desired toppings in the middle, carefully rolling the sides of the tortilla together and securing with toothpick or reusable wrapper.
Carrots & Peas Pasta or Potato Salad
• Carrots, peas, and additions (hard-boiled eggs, etc)
• Elbow pasta or new spring potatoes
• Mayonnaise or Veganaise
• Mustard to taste
• Salt & pepper to taste
Chop desired amount of carrots and anything else you enjoy in your salads, such as hard boiled eggs. Prepare a base of either boiled spring potatoes or elbow pasta (gluten-free brown rice pasta works well, but eat it within an hour or two after making it for best texture). Drain potatoes or pasta, and add peas, carrots, and seasonings. Allow to cool in the refrigerator before serving.
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