Seasonal eating in Spring
Spring is a joyful time. Everything is coming alive. Nature is waking up from its winter slumber.
The same thing is happening within you. We naturally mirror what's going on outside in nature. Your spirit is coming alive with hopeful, excited energy.
You might have noticed a shift in energy, a spring in your step, a lightness, an urge to throw open the windows and doors, a pull to spring clean, spend time outside, to eat differently.
That’s Spring’s energy being mirrored in you.
Spring is a great time to eat seasonally. There's an abundance of food and flavours available.
I like to use Spring as a reset. Thinking about my habits and goals, rather than at the traditional turn of the year when I still want to rest and find comfort. It feels more natural to me this way.
I eat different foods when Spring comes round, swapping root veg for greens and eating more fish and lighter meats.
I've become interested in gut health in recent years, and this Spring I'm aiming to give my gut health a boost by adding more probiotics and fermented foods into my diet.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Spring is associated with the liver, kidneys and blood so it's a good time to think about detoxing your system after winter. When I say detox I don't mean going on a crazy diet. I mean eating foods that naturally give your system a flush out and a boost.
Green leafy foods are so good for the liver and cleanse your system. These foods are at their most nutrient rich in Spring. Nature is so clever it gives you what your body needs when it needs it!
Part of Seasonal Living and increasing your connection to nature involves eating what's in season in the country you live. Things are at their best in terms of nutrients and flavour. There’s a reason it’s in season! Eating in this way also reduces your carbon footprint as your less likely to be buying food from abroad, and it means you have more variety through the year.
The recipes I'm sharing in this blog include:
the best of seasonal ingredients, including lots of greens, fresh herbs and lemony flavours
easy ways you can add some gut health boosting ingredients if you want to
recipes you can add wild garlic to if you'd like to have a go at foraging
Before I get into the recipes, I want to remind you that drinking lots of water will help flush out and support your system – keeping well hydrated is good for the whole of your system; your skin, every single organ including your brain, every single cell in body and it helps promote focus, memory and sleep.
Ok, now for the recipes!
Click the links below to skip to each recipe:
Spring breakfast ideas
Lemon and poppy seed granola
(Makes a big batch that you can store in an air tight container)
I made little pots of these on my recent Spring Day Retreat and everyone loved it! Take a look at my events page if you're interested in seasonal, nature based workshops and retreats.
This granola works well as a breakfast or eaten on its own as a snack. I like to eat it with live yogurt (good for a gut health boost) or coconut yogurt, topped with fresh fruit like berries, banana or mango. You can use dried fruit too. You can make up a big batch and store it in an air tight container. It’s full of flavour, really healthy and nutritious and the lemon and poppy seeds give it a spring update.
3 big tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp lemon juice
3 cups rolled oats (gluten free if needed)
2-3 cups mixed nuts, chopped (I buy them in bags and bash them with the rolling pin before I open the bag. You can use hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, almonds, slivered almonds)
1 cup mixed seeds (you can buy bags of mixed seeds or add sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, linseed, pumpkin seeds)
1/4 cup poppy seeds
1/8 tsp ground ginger
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees
Melt the coconut oil (I put it in a big bowl and pop it in the microwave for 60 seconds)
Add the maple syrup & lemon juice and mix
Add the rest of the ingredients and give it a really good stir so everything is really well coated
Spread it onto a baking tray that’s lined with baking paper (you may need 2-3 baking trays depending on the size)
Bake for 30-40 mins (stiring half way through) until golden
Allow to cool and store in an air tight container for a few weeks (if it lasts that long!)
*tip – if you want your granola to be in clusters, make sure you pile it together and that it’s all touching before you bake. If you want it lose like cereal, make sure you spread it thinly.
*You can also make this without oats and add more nuts and seeds to the mix.
Mango & greens smoothie bowl
This is really tasty and packed with nutrients. Adding mango gives you a hit of sunshine on dreary spring days. Add kefir yogurt for a gut health boost.
2 handfuls fresh or frozen mango chunks (if using frozen you can get them out the night before and defrost them in the fridge, or I usually give it a quick blast in the microwave)
1 big handful of greens (you could use peas, spinach, kale or a mix – fresh or frozen are fine)
Big glug of coconut milk (or your preferred milk of choice)
*optional 1 scoop of life drink from terranova
*optional splash of kefir
*optional a handful of oats to make it more filling
Toppings like berries, dessicated coconut, chia seeds, mixed seeds,
Blitz everything together with a stick blender or food processor.
Add to a bowl and top with your favourite toppings
Spring lunch ideas
This is a brilliant recipe for using up leftover veg, great for reducing food waste. This recipe uses broccoli but anything goes! Always aim for some green as it’s often green veg that most of us could do with more of, and green veg is the star of the show in spring. Greens supply vitamin C, folate, calcium, iron, and other nutrients. The eggs are a good source of vitamin D. You can cook veg for the frittata, or if you have leftover veg you’ve already cooked you can keep it in the fridge and skip to step 2 to save time. You can also make this recipe in a 12 hole muffin tray and bake at 170 degrees for 10-15 mins so you have a grab and go breakfast or snack.
1 head broccoli – florets and stems finely chopped
1 onion finely chopped
2 garlic cloves
2 tsb butter or oil
2 handfuls grated cheese (cheddar, feta or goats cheese are nice, you can use cream cheese too if it’s all you have in, or omit the cheese completely)
Sea salt and black pepper
A big handful of chopped fresh herbs like basil, parsley, coriander, mint, chives
*optional chilli flakes
*optional add 2 handfuls of chopped wild garlic that you’ve foraged ;)
Steam or boil the broccoli for 3 minutes until almost tender. Drain and set aside.
In a frying pan gently heat the butter, onions and garlic for a few minutes.
Whilst that's cooking whisk the eggs together in a bowl, add salt, pepper and the cheese, plus any of the herbs, chilli flakes or wild garlic, if using.
Preheat the grill to high. Add the broccoli back to the pan to coat in the garlic butter, then pour in the egg mix, stirring so that the broccoli and onions are distributed evenly. Let the bottom and sides cook and start to set over a medium heat for about 5 minutes.
Pop the frittata under the grill for a further 5 minutes until golden on top and just cooked through (give the pan a wobble to check), then slide it onto a chopping board or plate. Cool for 10 minutes and slice up to serve.
*this recipe was inspired by Melissa Hemsley.
Super Green Soup
(serves 6, can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days)
This soup is really creamy and tasty. It's rich in vitamin C, fibre, folate and calcium. The added yogurt gives it a gut health boost. You can jazz it up with some foraged wild garlic. You can add a heel of parmesan cheese (the bit you usually throw away after grating, pop it in the freezer to add to soups)
2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 leeks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 broccoli – florets and stalks
1 large potato cut into small cubes
1 litre vegetable stock
150g pot natural yogurt
20g pine nuts, toasted
*Optional – foraged wild garlic, chopped
*Optional - any other green veg you want to add
*Optional - the heel of parmesan
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over a low-medium heat.
Add the onion and leeks and a pinch of salt, then cook slowly, stirring occasionally for 10 mins until softened but not coloured.
Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
Add the potato and broccoli followed by the veg stock. Add the parmesan heel if using. Simmer for 10-12 mins until the potato is soft. Add the wild garlic if using. Blitz the soup in a blender until it’s completely smooth.
Serve with a dollop of yogurt and some more chopped wild garlic.
Spring dinner ideas
Roasted squash, halloumi & pomegranate salad
The flavours in this dish are a match made in heaven. There are quite a few ingredients but it doesn’t take a lot of effort to make. You can add in shredded sprouts which get nicely charred in the oven and taste delicious. This dish packs in loads of fruit, veg and herbs, is full of colour (bonus of eating the rainbow which I mention the benefits of below) and gives you a lot of plant points in one go. The tahini dressing is a little powerhouse in itself. Tahini contains more protein than milk and most nuts. It's a rich source of B vitamins that boost energy and brain function, vitamin E, which is protective against heart disease and stroke, and important minerals, such as magnesium, iron and calcium.
1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
Large handful of mint, chopped
Large handful coriander, chopped
100g Pine Nuts
1 Garlic Clove
3 Tbsp Tahini
1 Pomegranate - seeded (or a ready prepared pack)
1 pack Halloumi
Salt & Pepper
*Optional – shredded sprouts, add them to the butternut squash for roasting
*Optional - add rice to make this a more filling dish - brown or wild rice is better you
*Optional - chopped wild garlic, add at the end
Preheat oven to 180°C/356°F
Add the chopped butternut squash to a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until caramelised and soft. Whilst the squash is cooking, make your dressing. Add the tahini, half a clove of grated garlic, the juice of a lemon, salt, pepper and a tbsp of olive oil. Mix everything together. Add warm water until you have a thick, creamy consistency and set aside. Steam or boil the kale until cooked through (8 minutes) and set aside. Cut the halloumi into thick slices and fry for 3 mins on each side.
Add everything to the bowl, pour over the tahini dressing and serve.
Vietnamese cauliflower noodles
This dish uses cauliflower which is still in season in Spring in the UK. This noodle salad gives it a lovely fresh flavour with the addition of green herbs and lime. Cauliflower is high in vitamins C and K, and is also a good source of folate, which supports cell growth.
160 g cauliflower cut into small florets
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1 tbsp tomato puree
Pinch chilli powder
2 tsp lime juiced
2 tsp brown sugar
1 garlic clove crushed
120 g rice noodles
160 g white cabbage finely shredded
160 g spring onion finely sliced
1 handful mint, chopped
1 hanfdul coriander, chopped
1 tbsp white sesame seeds
*Optional - chopped wild garlic
Preheat the oven to 220°C (200°C fan)
Put the cauliflower florets in a bowl and mix with sesame oil, tomato puree, 1 tbsp soy sauce and chilli powder. Mix well and add to a baking tray.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, tossing halfway through the cooking time, until crispy.
Whilst that’s roasting, make the dressing - combine 1 tbsp soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, garlic and a splash of water, and set aside.
Cook the rice noodles according to the packet instructions and add to a bowl.
Mix together the cabbage, spring onion, mint, coriander, sesame seeds and the crispy cauliflower. Stir to combine and add to the noodles, mixing well.
Divide between two bowls and serve with the dressing
*recipe by Dr Rupy, from The Dr's Kitchen
Spring dessert idea
Rhubarb & berry crumble
This dish makes the best of seasonal rhubarb and is so simple to make, and so satisfying to eat. Rhubarb is a great source of vitamin K1, which is important for blood and bone health, and is rich in antioxidants.
1kg rhubarb, cut into 2cm pieces
300g frozen berries, defrosted and drained
125g butter cut into small pieces
100g demerara sugar (or maple syrup or honey)
200g ground almonds
1tsp ground cinnamon
75g flaked almonds
50g pistachios, hazelnuts or almonds, roughly chopped
*to serve, custard, ice cream or cream
Heat the oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5.
Cook the rhubarb in a large, deep pan over a medium-low heat for about 15 mins until tender but still holding its shape, and all the liquid has evaporated. If it’s getting too soft, stop cooking.
Stir in the berries and put into a 2-litre shallow ovenproof dish.
Make the topping by blitzing the butter, sugar, ground almonds and cinnamon together in a food processor with a pinch of salt until it starts to clump together. Tip into a bowl and stir in the nuts.
Scatter the topping over the fruit.
Put the dish on a baking tray and bake for 45 mins until golden and crisp. Let stand for 10 mins before serving with cream, ice cream or custard.
Spring side dish ideas
I've added in a couple of Spring side dishes that you can add to any lunch or dinner for an extra boost of vitamins, minerals and fibre.
Leafy green vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet. They're packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber.
1 pack of Spring Greens or Kale
Juice of 1/4 lemon
Good olive oil
Steam or boil your greens for a few minutes until just soft (6-8 mins)
Drain and smother in lemon juice & oil - then serve
Crunchy rainbow salad with tahini dressing
Eating the rainbow is a good tip if you want to eat better. It’s easy to settle on a handful of fresh fruits and vegetables that you and your family enjoy, but diversity is just as important as quantity when it comes to vegetable intake, gut health, and overall wellness. By eating different colours you're including a range of antioxidant phytonutrients that are found in different colours of fruit & veg. Adding a sprinkle of seeds can provide you with both soluble and insoluble fibre and therefore improve your gut health and bowel movement as well as help lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels in the bodyThis salad goes nicely with salmon, broccoli and rice.
1/4 thinly shredded red cabbage
2 grated carrotts
6 radishes, thinly sliced
Handful of chopped mint and coriander
1 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp soy
1 tsp maple syrup or honey
Salt & pepper to taste
Mixed seeds (like flaxseed, linseed, sunflower seed and pumpkin seed)
Make your dressing by mixing tahini, soy, maple (or honey) and add water until it's the consistency you like.
Add your chopped veg to a bowl, sprinkle with the herbs, drizzle on the dressing and sprinkle with mixed seeds.
Hope you enjoy!! Let me know if you try any of these and what you think. I'd love to know.
You can write in the comments, email me at email@example.com or get me on socials.
Love Lisa xxx
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note - some pics used above are my own, some are from images on Canva or google.