Asparagus is a spring time delicacy from the lily family. The flowerless and leafless stalks are sweet and crisp when young, but bitter and sinewy the older it gets. Don’t let the spear size trick you about “how old” it is; the thicker stalks are typically more tender to eat.
To prepare asparagus, find the natural break point of the stalk by holding both the cut end of the stalk and the center, and gently bend. This break point divides the fresh stalk from the old (be sure to discard the end or use it in your compost). To save time after you have found the fresh end of one asparagus spear, line up the tip ends on a cutting board and use the fresh asparagus as your guide to cut off the ends of the others.
Per ½ cup (approx. 6 spears) asparagus provides: 20 calories, 2 grams fibre and is a rich source of folic acid and antioxidants.
While zucchini is technically a summer squash, it can make an appearance on the shelves as early as May. Unlike a winter squash, you can eat the skin of zucchini which is where most of its fibre and nutrients comes from. Zucchini is mostly water and is best eaten slightly cooked or even raw!
This versatile vegetable has little to no flavour which makes it a great substitute for added fats in baked recipes such as muffins. Be sure to shred it first and squeeze out any excess water. If you are having a difficult time getting your children to eat their vegetables, this is an easy way to boost their nutrition. You can replace half the amount of added fat with an equal amount of shredded squash.
Per ½ cup zucchini provides 14 calories, 1g fibre and is a good source of potassium.
We used both of these delicious veggies in our Mamma Mia Frittata:
(makes 4 servings)
12 pan-fried asparagus spears
500g egg whites (1 large carton)
1 tsp dried basil, pepper, chopped garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil
¾ cup zucchini, chopped
½ cup mushrooms sliced
½ cup oil packed sundried tomato, drained and chopped
½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
½ cup part –skim ricotta cheese
- Preheat oven 425
- In a non-stick skillet, pan-fry the asparagus spears until bright green and slightly golden approximately 5-8 minutes.
- In an oven proof skillet, heat oil on medium heat. Add zucchini, mushrooms and sauté until lightly browned; add spices and sundried tomatoes. In a separate bowl mix together the cheeses and eggs. Pour the egg mixture over the sautéed vegetables. Once the mixture starts to bubble, remove the skillet from the heat and place the asparagus on top in a decorative manner. Place the skillet in your preheated oven and cook until centre sets, approximately 15-20 minutes.
Serve with whole wheat pancakes or toast and a side of fruit salad topped with vanilla yogurt for a great Mother’s Day brunch!