Seasonal spring produce grown close to home

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FOODWISE COLUMN BY ANNE MARIE ARMSTRONG

Crustless Asparagus Quiche

Even though the sunny days of summer are on everyone’s minds, don’t be too quick to wish away spring! Springtime in Nova Scotia can sometimes be a hit or miss in terms of the weather, but the local produce it provides is something to remember. Many of us may think the summer and fall months are the only times to take advantage of our great local produce. Such is not the case!

Asparagus, beet greens, fiddleheads, radish, rhubarb, and spinach can be spring crops in Nova Scotia. Of this list, my two favourites are asparagus and rhubarb. Asparagus is a vegetable I never ate as a child, but as an adult, I love it. Rhubarb reminds me of my childhood. I would eat it raw by dipping it in sugar, or would cook it on the stovetop, usually mixed with strawberries, and eat it on ice cream – no wonder I remember this!

Asparagus, like many vegetables, is low in calories and fat. The claim to fame of asparagus is its high folate and inulin content. Inulin can help promote the growth of good bacteria in the digestive tract, and folate is used to keep the DNA of our cells in good repair. Eaten raw or cooked this vegetable is very versatile. Try it as part of your next veggie tray, salad, soup, omelette, stir-fry or, my favourite way, roasted in the oven with a little olive oil and then tossed in balsamic vinegar with feta or parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. Yummy!

Rhubarb, as indicated above, is often used as part of a sweet treat. Although I still enjoy my rhubarb stewed with strawberries and over ice cream, I also like it stirred into plain Greek yogurt or chopped in a whole grain muffin. Rhubarb provides some vitamin C which can help keep your immune system strong, is a source of fibre and delivers a dose of antioxidants.

Buying local produce helps to support local farmers, helps the environment by reducing how much packaging and how far produce has to travel to get to our tables, and of course is great quality! Atlantic Superstore is proud to support local producers and to provide fresh local produce when available to our customers. 

Visit dietitian Terry Jordan at the New Glasgow Atlantic Superstore to learn more about how to prepare and incorporate spring produce specialties into your life. She would be happy to help!

Today’s recipe features asparagus. As you will read below, you can also use spinach. Both are nutrition superstars and a great addition to this recipe. I think this would be a great choice as a weekend breakfast or a quick weekday supper. Enjoy!

Crustless Asparagus Quiche Ingredients

1 tsp (5 mL)

PC Splendido Extra Virgin Olive Oil - Cold Pressed

6

PC Blue Menu Oméga-3 Eggs - Large

1 lb (500 g)

asparagus, trimmed and cut in 1/2-inch (1 cm) lengths

1

onion, chopped

1

sweet red pepper, thinly sliced

1/2 cup (125 mL)

no name 2% Evaporated Milk

1/4 tsp (1 mL)

each: salt & freshly ground black pepper

Instructions Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Spray 8-inch (2 L) square glass baking dish with PC Blue Menu Canola Oil Cooking Spray. In large pot of boiling salted water, cook asparagus until tender-crisp, about 1 minute. Drain. Plunge into cold water. Drain again. In nonstick frying pan, heat oil over medium heat; cook onions and red peppers until soft, about 10 minutes. Set aside. In bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Stir in asparagus and onion mixture. Pour into prepared baking dish. Bake in centre of oven until knife inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before cutting. Serve with tossed green salad and crusty whole wheat bread, if desired. Chef's Tips

Substitute 1 pkg (300 g) no name Frozen Chopped Spinach, drained and squeezed, for the asparagus:  3 out of 5

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Serves 4

Nutrition information per serving: 210 calories, fat 9 g, sodium 260 mg, carbohydrate 17 g, fibre 3 g, protein 15 g 

For more recipe ideas visit www.pc.ca

 

Anne Marie Armstrong, BscAHN, PDt is Senior Manager, Dietitian Program, Atlantic Superstore.

Have a nutrition question?  Contact me by calling 1-888-225-5295 ext. 632157 or through email at annemarie.armstrong@loblaw.ca

Organizations: Olive Oil

Geographic location: Nova Scotia

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