This makes spring a perfect time to try new vegetables that you may not be accustomed to eating to help add variety to your diet.
Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables is a key component of the American Institute for Cancer Research's diet and health guidelines for cancer prevention, and promotes better overall health.
For starters, give artichokes a try. Look for firm, compact globes that have an even green color. Trim all the inedible parts, then serve in a salad with shiitake mushrooms and julienne strips of prosciutto. Dress this spring salad with a mixture of lemon juice, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and freshly ground pepper. Top it off with shaved Parmesan cheese and fresh chives.
Be sure not to pass up the spring asparagus. Choose spears with tight, compact tips and medium green color with purple highlights. Pick spears of similar diameter so they all will cook in the same amount of time. Try them simply marinated in olive oil, fresh rosemary and ground black pepper, then drained and roasted in a 500-degree oven for about 10 minutes.
The height of radish season is right about now as well, so look for red globes sold in batches with their greens still attached. Fresh looking greens are a good sign of quality, and they're edible as well!
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Fix a radish and broccoli slaw by grating broccoli stems, radishes and carrots. Marinate the grated vegetables in a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, de-fatted chicken stock, rice wine vinegar, grated ginger root, a smashed garlic clove and toasted sesame seeds. Remove the garlic before serving.
Rhubarb is best in spring, and choice rhubarb is firm and has good color. Be sure to remove the leaves before cooking, as they are quite toxic. This vegetable is sensational paired with spring strawberries in a sweet/tart crisp.
Good spring spinach is the greenest of the green, fresh and crisp with no signs of wilting or yellowing.