March is a transitional month—the warmth of spring isn’t quite here but winter’s bitter cold is starting to defrost. This “in between” time makes deciding what to make for dinner a bit of a challenge. When we’re stuck coming up with meal inspiration, we like to look to what’s in season for the freshest and most flavorful ingredients. Plus, because there’s more supply, seasonal produce is generally less expensive and eating what’s produced in your area is better for the environment.
So, what produce is in season now and how should you cook with it? Here are our favorites for March:
We’re not talking about mushy, frozen peas. Fresh peas, sometimes called English peas, are bright and flavorful. Peas are a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, folate and fiber. Chose firm, medium-sized green pods with no decay or wilting when shopping. You can eat them raw (they add great crunch to salads) or cooked. Their full-bodied taste also compliments cream sauces nicely.
Try This: One Skillet Creamery Tuna Pasta
Broccoli gets a bad rap, likely from the days when our mothers insisted we eat it. While you might think broccoli is bland, in the right dish this hearty veggie comes to life. When buying broccoli, avoid woody stalks or yellow flourets—the stalk, leaves, and florets should be firm and brightly colored, with tightly closed buds. Broccoli is high in vitamin C, folate, potassium and fiber. Steaming broccoli is considered the best way to preserve its color, flavor, and nutrients.
Try this: Stir Fried Ginger Scallion Tuna
Don’t love broccoli? Sub in cauliflower, broccoli’s cousin (they both come from the Cruciferae family). While white cauliflower is the most well known, cauliflower comes in orange, green, and purple varieties, opening up plenty of opportunities to brighten up your meals. Cauliflower can be boiled, pickled, roasted or eaten raw but our favorite way to use it lately is as cauliflower “rice”. Simply grate in a food processor until fine and lightly sauté for a few minutes with oil and seasoning. It’s a great substitute for traditional rice if you’re looking for fewer carbs and more vitamins.
Try this: Tuna Curry Bowl with Cauliflower Rice
No doubt you’ve seen the trees in your neighborhood overflowing with citrus fruit right now. Oranges, lemons, and grapefruit are best in winter to early spring and provide a welcome punch of vitamin C during cold and flu season. We love using citrus to add tang to dressings and sauces or sliced thinly in salads. Seafood and acidic lemon notoriously pair well but we invite you to experiment with all types of seafood and citrus together.
Did you know there are over 14,000 species of edible mushrooms? It’s true. While most of us stick to white buttons or cremini, a trip to your local farmer’s market can expose you to more eclectic varieties (think morel, shitake, and oyster). Mushrooms are low in calories and fat and contain over a dozen minerals and vitamins, including copper, potassium, magnesium, zinc. Mushrooms are also high in antioxidants like selenium and glutathione, believed to lower inflammation. Wipe mushrooms gently with a wet cloth and store in a paper bag in the refrigerator for up to three days. We love using mushrooms to add richness to hearty dishes on cold nights.
Try this: Tuna Hash
There’s nothing quite like the crunch and peppery kick of a fresh radish. Radish comes from the Latin word “radix” meaning root and are in the same family as broccoli and cauliflower. Radishes are high in vitamin C, fiber, and isothiocyanates, compounds shown to help fight certain cancers. Red radishes are the most easily found but there are also purple, white, and black types that come in many different shapes and sizes. While the root of the radish is the most popular for cooking, don’t toss those greens! They can be prepared just like other leafy greens. We sauté them with a little butter, lemon juice and pepper for an amazing side dish.
Try this: Thai Tuna Sandwich