The Paleo diet encourages eating whole, real foods and emphasizes eating what is available seasonally and locally. When you buy in-season fruits and vegetables, you can enjoy peak flavor and optimal nutrition. Seasonal, regional produce is often less expensive and more sustainable because it does not have as far to travel to reach your local store or farmer’s market.
When you ask a chef which season they look forward to the most, the majority of them will scream the word ‘spring’ with joy and excitement and Chef Pete is no exception. Coming from three months of root vegetables and hearty, slow-braised meats, springtime signals the return of bright and colorful fruits and vegetables.
With this in mind, Chef Pete and the team at Pete’s Real Food have created Spring Paleo Recipes highlighting the bounty of the season.
Our Paleo Spring menu features many of these delicious ingredients:
Carrots grow best in the cool temperatures of spring and fall. Spring carrots are especially sought-after for their sweetness. These crowd-pleasing root vegetables can be used in almost anything from dips to soups and salads, and are a favorite snack simply eaten alone. The greens can also be used to make pesto and sauces.
Look For: There should be no signs of wrinkling or molding. Check any greens attached. They should look perky. Limp, wilted greens have already started tapping the carrot for moisture.
Store: Remove tops or leaves, and store in the fridge crisper up to two weeks.
Kale, Collards, Mustard, And Turnip Greens
The cool temperatures of spring keep bitter greens tender and sweet. April, May, and June are also prime seasons for baby versions of these leafy greens.
Look For: leaves should be lush and full – avoid any that are wilted or yellowing. Test for tenderness by rubbing a leaf between your fingers; if it feels tough or fibrous, it probably will be, even after cooking. These greens are fairly interchangeable in recipes, so if the greens called for in a recipe don’t look great in the store, feel free to make a substitution.
Store: Stem, wash, and dry greens as you bring them home. Store them wrapped in dry paper towels or in a lidded container for three to five days. Wilted greens can be re-plumped with a 15-minute soak in a bowl of cold water.
In our Paleo Spring meals , these 2 vegetables are highlighted is dishes including: Carolina Pulled Pork with Roasted Carrots and Collard Greens.
Peas are a simple way to bring subtle sweetness to any dish. Snow peas and sugar snap peas can be eaten whole after removing the stems and the strings. Garden peas should be shelled and blanched in boiling water just until they turn bright green (1 to 2 minutes). young, tender pea shoots are a sweet springtime addition to salads and stir-fries
Look For: Ripe snow peas should be light green and almost translucent, with tiny seeds. The pods of garden peas should be glossy, crunchy, sweet, and full of medium-size peas. Sugar snaps should be bright green with plump pods.
Store: Keep all varieties unwashed and loosely wrapped in plastic in the vegetable drawer. Leave garden peas in their pods until you are ready to use them.
Peas are another highlight of our Paleo Spring meals in dishes like Roasted Garlic and Parsley Chicken Thighs with Leeks, Peas, and Mint
Spring onions, green onions and scallions are the same, pencil-thin vegetable. Spring onions have white or red bulbs that are wonderful roasted or grilled whole. Wash just before using and trim the roots.
Look For: Bright green tops and firm, white bases. A no-no: wet, wilted tops.
Store: Keep bunches unwashed and wrapped in a plastic bag in the vegetable drawer.
The tart, celery-like stalks of this vegetable often used for pies pair beautifully with apples, berries, and other sweet, juicy fruits. Velvety-soft cooked rhubarb is delicious and is a great, tart addition to savory dishes too
Look For: Pick small- to medium-size stalks that are reddish pink; larger stalks may be stringy.
Store: Remove and discard the leaves (which contain high amounts of oxalic acid and are poisonous), then store the stalks like celery in the crisper drawer. Freeze raw, chopped rhubarb for future use.
Our Paleo Spring meals feature both peas and rhubarb in our Grilled Steak with Roasted Broccoli and Spring Onion and Rhubarb Chutney
New potatoes are harvested in spring when their skin is paper thin and their flesh is firm and flavorful. Steam, pan or oven roast or boil, crush and then roast. Dress new potatoes as soon as they are cooked to help them absorb the flavours of the fats, acid and seasonings.
Look For: Choose any size, any color that's firm, bright, and unblemished with thin, almost translucent skin that's flaking in spots.
Store: Keep in a paper bag in a cool, dark place for up to several days.
Spring radishes aren’t just red; they come in a rainbow of varieties with names such as watermelon and purple plum. Trim the stems and the root ends and wash just before using. Enjoy raw or slice and place cut side down in a pan with some delicious fat and roast lightly.
Look For: No cracks, a firm texture, and crisp, bright leaves (if they are still attached).
Store: Remove the leaves. Refrigerate radishes in a loosely closed plastic bag.
Find this produce in our Paleo Spring meals like Braised Beef with Roasted Purple Potato Wedges and Watermelon Radish And Avocado Salad
Is there anything you can’t make with spinach? Spinach can be enjoyed in many preparations from salads to soups, stews and smoothies! Simply chop off the root ends and thick stems, then swish the leaves in a bowl of cold water to rinse and use as desired.
Look For: The crinkly leaves of savory spinach are more flavorful (though a bit tougher) than the flat-leaf variety. Whichever kind you choose, look for a deep, dark color and unbroken leaves with no signs of wilting or yellowing.
Store: Refrigerate spinach unwashed and loosely wrapped in a plastic bag.
Our Paleo Spring meals feature many options with spinach like our Chipotle Lime Carne Asada with Sautéed Spinach and Oven Roasted Tomatoes
These are just a few of Chef Pete’s delicious creations for our new Paleo Spring menu. Our Paleo Spring meals change weekly – order your selections from this week’s menus here >>>>>>
Eating seasonally will help to create more variety in the types of fruits and vegetables that you eat. It’s time to enjoy all of the wonderful spring produce and the many different ways that you can use these ingredients in your weekly meal selections too.
If you are wondering how to find out what other produce is available for Spring (or any season for that matter), visit your local farmers’ market or look at the Sustainable Table online guide.