Tasty spring meals

Published On: March 30, 2018 07:53 AM NPT By: The Week Bureau

Spring brings with it longer days and pleasant weather with a good amount of sun. And what it also brings are fresh, delicious spring vegetables into our homes and kitchens. And although putting these vegetables into a single large bowl and devouring them as salads in various forms might sound like the easiest (and the laziest) thing to do, there are other – a bit more involved – ways in which you can ready a perfectly healthy spring meal in a matter of minutes. The Week is here to help you get started. 

Vegetable egg casserole (spring edition)
This is the only recipe in the list where you have to cook it in an oven. Egg casserole is a pretty simple recipe and one you can use anytime of the year, just this one is the spring rendition.

    A vegetable oil of your choice
    Diced onion
    Diced carrot
    Asparagus, cut diagonally into bite-sized pieces
    Chopped broccoli florets
    Minced garlic
    Chopped mushrooms
    Halved cherry tomatoes or any kind of sliced tomatoes
    Eggs whisked together
    Salt and pepper
    Crumbled cheese – feta preferably
    Milk – preferably, non-dairy

Pour oil in a pan over medium heat, add onions, and cook for about four minutes until they turn golden brown.
Add in carrot, asparagus, broccoli, mushrooms, tomatoes, salt, pepper and garlic, stir and cook for about 10-15 minutes.
While that is cooking, whisk together eggs and milk in a separate bowl and add in salt and pepper.
Put everything in a microwave safe utensil and bake for about 30-40 minutes. 
Serve hot.

Garlic roasted asparagus
This salty and savory dish is a great stand-alone meal but can also be served along with rice or roti. 

    Fresh asparagus
    Fresh ground black pepper & salt
    Minced garlic cloves
    Parmesan cheese
    Olive oil (or any vegetable oil of your preference)

Rinse the asparagus thoroughly, trim off any woody pieces and place it in a clean bowl
Add olive oil (or the oil of your choice), salt, pepper, minced garlic and parmesan cheese into the bowl and mix the asparagus with all of the condiments properly.
Place a pan on top of the stove and preheat it for about three minutes.
Add the asparagus (mixed with the aforementioned condiments) into the pan and cook it for at least about five minutes or to your liking and serve.
If you are cooking it in an oven then instead of adding the condiment mixed asparagus to the pan, add it to a microwave safe bowl and bake it for at least about four minutes or to your liking.

Minestrone soup (spring edition)
Minestrone soups can be made throughout the year incorporating vegetables available that season. Here is a spring edition consisting of a handful of spring vegetables.

    A vegetable oil of your preference
    Chopped carrots
    Thinly sliced leek
    Fresh thyme sprigs
    Diced zucchini
    Chopped potatoes
    Beans and peas (optional)
    Chopped radish
    Vegetable broth (highly recommended but optional)
    Minced garlic
    Diced tomatoes
    Salt and pepper
    Fresh lemon
    Uncooked pasta or rice

Place a large pot over the stove – on high heat – and add oil. When the oil is heated, add onions, garlic, and tomatoes and cook for about four minutes until fragrant.
Add in the potato, carrots, radish, zucchini, salt, pepper, and vegetable broth. If you do not have the broth then water can also be used. Cook for about 10 minutes with the lid of the pot closed.
Turn down the heat, add in leak, beans and peas, uncooked pasta or rice, put the lid back on and let it boil for another 10-15 minutes.
Turn off the heat, squeeze lemon on top and serve hot.

Cauliflower fritters
Albeit traditionally fritters are supposed to be greasy and crispy rather than healthy, this recipe is a comparatively healthier version but still is quite tasty. 

    Cauliflower heads cut into florets
    Whole wheat or all purpose flour
    Eggs – slightly beaten
    Minced garlic cloves
    Minced scallions    
    Salt and pepper
    Vegetable oil of your choice

Cook the cauliflower in a covered dish with a bit of water until the florets are soft.
Drain the water and mash the cauliflower florets.
Put the mashed cauliflower in a large bowl and add in whole wheat or all purpose flour, eggs, salt, pepper, garlic, scallions, and water and mix them properly until you get the desired consistency for your batter. Do not add too much water though. The batter should not be runny.
Place a pan over medium heat and add oil. Heat the oil for about two to three minutes.
Scoop two to three tablespoons of the batter, make them into flattened round shapes and place them in the oil. You can put three to four pieces at a time depending on the size of your pan.
Cook each side for about two minutes before flipping them over. The fritter should have a golden brown color when you take it out of the pan.

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