Stepping into Spring with Seasonal Salads and Light Pasta Dishes

Good Morning!

The Spring Equinox is next week on Wednesday, March 20th, and thankfully the spring weather is finally making its debut!

With the air warming, it’s time to pull out of the winter slumber and start to become more active. During the spring, our diets and cooking techniques change just as the season changes. We naturally eat less to cleanse the body of the fats and heavy foods of winter. We incorporate more salads and raw veggies into our diets and use quick cooking techniques like steaming, stir-frying, sautéing, and broiling. Fruits and veggies that are seasonal to spring tend to be sweet, pungent and even detoxifying.

Seasonal Salads

As the spring weather rolls in, my family starts to eat more and more salads for dinner. Whether that is a traditional salad with leafy greens or a salad without lettuce like zucchini noodles, riced cauliflower, or pasta salad.

We love adding seasonal produce to our salads and right now we have a few spring veggies making their way in the store with plenty more to come! Leafy greens like baby spinach, arugula and spring mix make a great start to any salad! And, asparagus, beets, and snap peas are excellent add-ins or can shine on their own.

To aid in convenience, we have several salad kits from Josie’s Organics and Earthbound Farm. Both are certified organic and contain their own salad dressings. Just rip open, pour in the dressing, and serve! They are perfect for your lunch at work!

Cindy’s Kitchen

Since it’s salad season, we thought it would be a perfect time to add Cindy’s Kitchen to our growing line of New to BEAN items.

Cindy’s Kitchen specializes in creating salad dressings and marinades that use simple, clean ingredients.

We’ve added five of their products and I have used them as dressings, marinades and dipping sauces! We absolutely love them, and we think you will too!

Here are a couple non-traditional salads I made with Cindy’s Kitchen Dressings. Enjoy!

Avocado Vinaigrette + Zucchini Noodles + Cilantro + Pistachios: Toss everything together except the pistachios and let it marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. When ready to serve, toss in some pistachios!

Asiago and Cracked Peppercorn + Broccoli Slaw + Pumpkin Seeds + Dried Cranberries: I blanched the broccoli slaw for 30 seconds, plunged it into ice cold water to cool, then let it drain. You can avoid this step and leave it raw if you prefer. Then mix in the dressing and toss in some pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries. I like to let the flavors meld together by setting it in the fridge for 30 minutes prior to serving.

RP’s Taste Republic Gluten Free Pasta

Taste Republic is RP’s Pasta Company’s gluten free line of pastas. RP’s Pasta Company’s products are made with the finest all-natural ingredients, an appreciation for Old World culinary traditions, and a love for food. Taste Republic was started because the co-founder and Chief Formulator, Peter Robertson, wanted to create a gluten free pasta for a friend who was diagnosed with celiac. Taste Republic believes everyone deserves good food, regardless of allergies or lifestyle!

Their gluten free pasta is the best I’ve had! It’s light, springy, and delicate! Because it’s fresh pasta, it cooks quickly, likes to be lightly sauced, and pairs beautifully with lightly cooked veggies which makes it perfect for springtime cooking!

Check out two of my recipes using Taste Republic’s gluten free pasta and a couple of classic spring veggies! Enjoy!

Fusilli Pasta with Summer Sausage, Asparagus and Red Bell Pepper

This is one of my favorite pasta dishes! It’s incredibly quick to throw together and tastes even better the next day after it has had time to marinate in the dressing. I usually make a big batch and we eat it for dinner and then for lunches the next day or two. It also makes a great dish to bring to a potluck.

The veggies are raw and blanched giving the pasta salad a light, crisp texture. The summer sausage and cheese provide bold flavors and the balsamic vinaigrette is tangy and delicious! I used whole summer sausage and sliced it because I like a thicker slice, but you can save time by using Organic Valley’s pre-sliced summer sausage. The cheese can be switched up to your liking! I used Ludwig Farmstead Creamery’s raw milk Gouda, but it also tastes great with Kenny’s Farmhouse White Cheddar, Organic Valley’s raw milk Monterey Jack, or Traders Point Creamery’s raw milk Mozzarella.

View the Recipe

Pasta with Peas, Tomatoes, and Italian Sausage

Here is another great, week-night dinner that is light, yet filling and showcases one of my favorite spring veggies—peas!

I cut the lasagna sheets into squares then each square into four triangles, but you can cut it up anyway you like. This is a fun activity for kids! But, try to keep the size uniform so they all cook evenly—easier said than done when kids are helping. 😊

Ingredients:

• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• ½ onion finely chopped
• 2 large garlic cloves minced
• 1/8 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
• 1 pound Seven Sons bulk Italian sausage
• ½ cup dry white wine or broth
• 1-14.5-ounce can of Muir Glen Organic diced tomatoes
• 1 cup shelled English peas or frozen peas (I used Omena Organics’ frozen peas)
• 1-12-ounce package of RP’s Taste Republic lasagna sheets, cut as desired
• 2 tablespoons finely grated Asiago from Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese plus additional for passing

Directions:

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and red pepper flakes. Sauté until onion is translucent, about 6 minutes. Add sausage and brown using a fork to break up the meat, 3 minutes. Add wine and simmer for 1 minute, scraping up browned bits. Add tomatoes and sauté until tomatoes soften, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, 2 to 3 minutes. Reserve ½ cup of pasta cooking liquid then drain the pasta and return to same pot.

Add the sauce to the pasta. Toss over medium heat until sauce coats pasta, adding reserved cooking liquid as needed if dry, about 2 minutes. Mix in the peas and 2 tablespoons of cheese. Transfer pasta to a bowl. Serve with additional cheese.

Serves 4-6