Enjoy All the Vivid Colors for a More Nutritious Plate
With the arrival of spring, supermarkets and farmer’s markets are overflowing with a bright array of vegetables. We’re taking a page from the guidelines often used to encourage children to eat more fruits and veggies – put a rainbow on your plate.
Seriously, we are challenging you to be daring this season and explore some new tastes, or at the very least, some new colors. Studies show that Americans simply aren’t eating enough fruits and vegetables, so we’re inviting you to celebrate the season with some simple, smart recipes that incorporate a rainbow of veggies.
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One way to incorporate an entire rainbow into one colorful and delicious meal is to make a Spring Vegetable Ragout. We love this recipe with fresh pasta:
Spring Vegetable Ragout with Pasta1
- 3/4 lb. fresh pasta (we like a wide noodle like fettuccine for this hearty meal)
- 3 cups of mixed spring vegetables, chopped into 1/2″ pieces – we chose a mix of peas, baby carrots, wax beans, asparagus and spring onions
- 1 small clove of garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup watercress sprigs
- 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh herbs, chopped (dill, basil and or cilantro are all good choices)
Dried herbs can substitute for fresh herbs, but since dried herbs are more concentrated, adjust the amounts accordingly
- 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese for garnish
- Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil (for the pasta).
- Put 2 1/2 cups of water into a large sauté pan along with the garlic, 1 tsp. of salt and a 1/4 tsp. pepper. Bring to a simmer. Add the vegetables and simmer until crisp-tender (about 3 minutes).
- Using a slotted spoon, remove vegetables and transfer to a dish. Turn the heat to high and boil the water until the liquid is reduced down to about 1 cup (about 4 minutes).
- Cook the pasta in the salted water in the big pot until just under al dente (should still be a bit firm). For fresh pasta, this should take about 3 to 4 minutes. Drain the pasta and add it to the simmering liquid in the sauté pan. Add back the vegetables, along with the fresh herbs, lemon zest and butter. Toss together in pan over medium-high heat until the butter is melted and incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve immediately and garnish with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and more chopped fresh herbs if desired.
Another simple and easy way to enjoy most spring vegetables – roasting.
Roasting brings out the deep flavors and adds nuttiness with caramelization. Roasting is a rather easy cooking method that requires little more than some oil or butter and some seasoning.
Roasted carrots are a fantastic spring treat. In fact, you can make a rainbow of roasted baby carrots. Carrots come in an array of colors including red, yellow, orange, purple and even white.
Roasted Rainbow Carrots
- 1 Tbsp. of olive oil (or try coconut oil for a tropical twist)
- 3 bunches of Rainbow Baby Carrots (stems cut off)
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt or coarse sea salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1/4 tsp. fresh herbs – chopped (we like parsley, chervil, chives or thyme)
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss carrots with olive (or coconut) oil in a bowl and then spread them out on a sheet pan so that they are not crowding each other.
- Bake for 10 minutes, turn them once and continue baking 5 to 10 more minutes until they begin to brown.
- Immediately sprinkle with salt and herbs and serve.
Did you know just one 1/2 cup serving of carrots delivers 190% of our daily recommended intake of vitamin A?2 Not a fan of carrots? Sweet Potatoes and Spinach are also good sources and spinach starts to come into season in early spring.3
We know there are still those of you out there who aren’t convinced that vegetables are good or that they can be satisfying. For those of you who still don’t eat enough veggies, you may want to consider supplements as part of your diet. Check out our full line of Vitamin A supplements.