Happy Spring! This is a time when we transition from winter hibernation to summer growth. Because we are part of the earth and its cycles, it’s crucial to align with this seasonal change by strengthening digestion and immunity.

Certain foods and culinary herbs are specifically indicated for supporting this transition. They tend to be ones that promote digestive and eliminative function, or strengthen the immune and endocrine (hormonal) systems.

I was raised in the Mediterranean tradition, where we harvested dandelion greens each spring to make a bitter and delicious salad with olive oil, salt, vinegar, and grated carrots. I remember how much my grandmother loved vinegar. She dressed our salads generously with this sour liquid. Thank goodness for the carrots to temper the sour and bitter flavors for an overall harmonious effect.

Try to simplify your diet this spring. Your body will thank you as you support it in its gentle cleansing process. This dietary simplification may feel challenging at first. Start it over the weekend and buy all your ingredients before getting started. Try it for three days and see if you can continue for five-to-seven days.

SIMPLE MEAL FOR DIETARY SIMPLIFICATION

  1. Cook 2 cups quinoa.
  2. Chop and steam sweet potatoes, rutabaga and carrots.
  3. Chop purple cabbage and kale. Sauté for 10 minutes with olive oil, garlic, kelp, and salt.
  4. Take a 1/3 cup of each (grains, roots, greens) and add 1/3 cup cooked red or green lentils.
  5. Drizzle with flax/olive oil and lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  6. Garnish with half an avocado if you like.

Feel free to add one of the sauces listed below if you like. And remember, you can always add sauté broccoli, cauliflower, and collard greens — or whatever you like!

SAUCES AND SPREADS

Curried Carrot Spread

You will need:

  • 2 carrots, peeled, cut into ½-inch rounds
  • Olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup cashew yogurt

Instructions:

  1. In a small pot, boil carrots for approximately 12 to 15 minutes, or until tender. Once done, drain the carrots and set aside to cool.
  2. In a small sauté pan, over low-medium heat, sauté shallots in olive oil; after one minute, add curry and salt.
  3. Once shallots look caramelized, set aside.
  4. In a blender combine, carrots, shallots and yogurt. Blend until smooth.

Artichoke Spread

Instructions:

Open one glass jar artichoke hearts and drain water out. Place artichoke hearts in blender.

Add:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ Tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ Tablespoon dry thyme

Blend at highest speed for 2 minutes and enjoy!

Cashew Cream Sauce

In a blender, mix together:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup cashews (roasted, unsalted)
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • ½ Tablespoon lemon juice concentrate
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ cup water

Blend well and enjoy!

Writer Lisa Mase is a culinary medicine coach, food writer, translator, and folk herbalist living in Vermont. For articles and recipes, visit Lisa at www.harmonizedcookery.com.

For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, or to sell any product.