One of the best places to look for the first signs of spring is in the vegetable section of your supermarket. One of the first new vegetables you'll find is green onions tied in small bundles.
While scallions - also called spring onions or green onions - are available year round, they are at their peak in the spring and summer.
They have small white bulbs and long, green leaves, and both parts are edible. At this stage, the scallion's relationship to its cousin, the lily, is more obvious than when it is a mature onion.
Onions of all ages have been the subject of new research linking them to lower incidence of certain cancers. They also provide vitamins A and C, calcium and iron.
When choosing scallions, look for those with fresh, crisp-looking green tops and dark leaves. The necks should be white for two to three inches from the root and have a firm white base.
Wrap loosely in a plastic bag and store in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator for up to a week. They may get moldy if sealed too tightly.
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Green onions are typically eaten raw in salads or as toppings for other foods, but their flavor both brightens and mellows when cooked in many dishes. A soup of green onions and tomatoes is a winning combination, especially when flavored with the smoky richness of roasted sweet red peppers. Each bowl of this easy-to-make soup provides more than a day's worth of vitamins C and A, a good way to welcome the first day of spring.
Makes 4 servings.
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 3/4 cup scallions (green onions) chopped
- 3 tsp. minced garlic
- 3/4 cup pimento (roasted sweet red pepper), drained
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups non-fat, reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes in puree
- 1-1/2 tsp. dried basil
- 1-1/2 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
- 1 can (16 oz.) tomatoes (with no salt added)
- 1/3 cup skim milk
- Heat a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat for about 30 seconds. Reduce heat to medium-low, add oil and roll it around the pan to coat the bottom evenly. Add the chopped scallions and cook about 8 to 10 minutes, or until tender. Add the minced garlic and cook 1 minute.
- Meanwhile, puree the pimento with the water in a blender or food processor.
- When the scallions and garlic have cooked, add the pureed pimento mixture, 2 cups broth, crushed tomatoes, basil, thyme and parsley. Drain the juice from the canned tomatoes into the pan. Coarsely chop the tomatoes and add to the pan.
- Simmer 10 to 15 minutes. Add milk and cook a few minutes more to heat through. Do not allow to boil or the milk may curdle.
Nutritional Information Per Serving:
3 g. total fat (less than 1 g. saturated fat),
25 g. carbohydrate,
7 g. protein,
6 g. dietary fiber,
581 mg. sodium