Green Goodness: Asparagus

One of the first foods that signals the start of spring is the appearance fresh greens! A gem in particular that I love is asparagus at my local farmers’ markets and grocery stores. Just as spring is a time of new beginnings, asparagus is one of those veggies that I love to experiment with during this time of year. Below is one experiment example, asparagus vichyssoise – but before we go there, I want you to know WHY asparagus is so awesome.

Check this out: 7 powerful health benefits of asparagus you probably didn’t know (from WebMD):

1. Asparagus is a good source of fiber and protein, both essential for good digestion and immunity.

2. It contains a number of anti-inflammatory compounds that protect you from type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

3. It has antioxidants, including one called glutathione, which is known to protect the skin from sun damage, pollution and the effects of aging.

4. The Vitamin K in asparagus is excellent for healthy blood clotting and strengthening bones.

5. Asparagus contains a unique carb called inulin, which remains undigested until it reaches the large intestine, where it helps to absorb nutrients better, and cut the risk of colon cancer.

6.Good news for those struggling to manage their blood sugar: asparagus is a rich source of B vitamins, which are known to regulate blood sugar levels.

7. Green asparagus contains vitamin A for better vision, potassium for smooth kidney functioning, and trace minerals that help boost immunity.

Now as promised, here’s my asparagus vichyssoise … Drumroll please……

Recipe: Asparagus Vichyssoise

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons butter or extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 leeks, trimmed, well-washed and chopped and 1 yellow onion
  • 1 pound thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
  •  Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 5 cups vegetablestock
  • 1 cup white wine or half-and-half, optional
  • *(Optional – top with chives & sugar free whipped cream)
  • PREPARATION

    1. Put butter or oil in a large, deep saucepan and turn heat to medium. When butter melts or oil is hot, add vegetables. If you like, set aside 12 or 16 of the nicest pieces of asparagus; parboil in salted water for about 2 minutes and use as a garnish for the soup. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes.
    2. Add stock and wine (if using) cook until vegetables are very tender, about 15 minutes. 
    3. Purée soup in batches until very smooth. Chill. (Though vichyssoise is served cool, this soup could also be served warm.) Top with whipped cream, if using, taste and adjust seasoning, garnish if you like, and serve.

    4. In health,
    5. Johanna

 

Reasons to tango with your mango 

The tango is the dance of love. So, here’s why you should tango with your mango: mangoes have been named the most widely consumed fruit in the world. Some of the possible health benefits of consuming mango include a decreased risk of macular degeneration, a decreased risk of colon cancer, improvement in digestion and bone health and even benefits for the skin and hair.

Love your mango and it will love you back! Consuming fruits and vegetables of all kinds has long been associated with a reduced risk of many lifestyle-related health conditions. Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like mangoes decreases the risk of obesity and overall mortality, diabetesheart disease and promotes a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy, overall lower weight.

Yes, fruits are great, but today I’m talking about mangoes, so here’s how to incorporate more mangoes into your diet:

Do not judge the ripeness of a mango by its’ color. Look for fresh mangoes that yield slightly to pressure when ripe. Avoid fruits with many black freckles on the skin. Mangoes will continue to ripen at room temperature. When at the desired ripeness, store them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Mangoes taste best when slightly chilled.

  • One of the best ways to enjoy a mango is diced fresh, just by itself. Take the mystery of out how to cut a mango by watching this helpful video.
  • Make a tropical fruit salad with fresh papaya, pineapple and mango.
  • Muddle mango into your glass of lemonade, iced tea or water for a burst of fresh fruity flavor.
  • Make a fresh salsa with papaya, mango, jalapeno, red peppers and chipotle pepper and use as a topper for your favorite fish tacos, baked salmon, tofu or chicken.
  • Add a few slices of fresh or frozen mango to your smoothies. Combine with pineapple,  strawberries and coconut almond milk for a sweet tropical treat.
  • Try tossing mango into your next salad! It will look beautiful up against all those greens and give an added twist for flavor. Drizzle with lime juice for a citrus kick.

To get you started with your mango tango, dance in your kitchen with this new mango salsa recipe — spice things up in your kitchen! 

Mango Salsa

Ingredients:

2 cups chopped pitted peeled mango

1 cup chopped red bell pepper

2/3 cup chopped green onion

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 limes – squeeze for fresh lime juice

1 finely chopped jalapeño pepper (optional, but highly recommended)



Instructions:

Combine the mango,red pepper,  jalapeño, green onion, lime juice and cilantro leaves and mix well. Refrigerate for one hour to allow flavor story blend.

Serve with tortilla chips, spread on a taco, top a burger, or bake with fish or chicken— however you decide to use your mango, this salsa is sure to add some spice to your life.



Let life be flavorful.

Enjoy,

Johanna