3 years ago, I found myself on a ranch in Montana. The snow had just started to melt, the grass was barely peeking through, and the horses had just returned from wintering in the high country. As we saddled up for our trail ride, the wrangler warned me that my horse would want to graze during our trek.
He explained that the first grass of spring was very special to the horses. It tasted different, and it was so strongly preferred by the horses that they would take advantage of every opportunity to eat as much of it as they could.
I never forgot that trail ride and the attraction the horses had for that first grass of spring. A few years later, I learned that several traditions of the far east (including Ayurveda and the ancient Chinese tradition) actually ascribe medicinal and strong health benefits to the first fresh sprouts of spring.
This spring, I have made a concerted effort to increase my intake of microgreens and sprouts. I have always struggled to figure out how to integrate sprouts into my daily routine. Sometimes I forget about them, and other times, I just don’t know if they’ll be a good fit with a dish I've made. Here are 3 tips that have helped me:
I have found a great source at my local farmer’s market. Because I go there every week, it's easy to remember to purchase them. Going home with sprouts is the first step to making sure I can integrate them into my weekly spring menu!
Highly perishable foods like sprouts are often preserved with radiation to help the food last longer. I don’t know what that does to the micronutrient content, but I’m personally glad to know that my local source doesn’t use preservatives or radiation.
I know that the local microgreens are freshly harvested. I also love that I know the person who actually grew them :)
Sprouts really do taste very different, and I love the ability to choose a flavor that will complement my week’s menu. Some are spicy, some are mild and some are very unique.
Don’t be afraid to experiment – you can always take them off if you don’t like them. And if you find they go with your meal really well, add more microgreens after taking the photo!
I use sprouts where I would want to sprinkle an extra dash of fresh pepper. I love the extra crunch, and I prefer the spicy sprouts for the extra zing they add to my dishes.
Add them to eggs. I love scrambled farm-fresh eggs. They are fluffy, tender, and flavorful. As a springtime treat, I like to add a touch of feta and a sprinkle of microgreen sprouts.
Dress up hummus. I don’t mind hummus, but I find that it can get a little boring. I love the crunch and texture that sprouts bring to a healthy vegetarian/vegan dish!
Season your salad. A go-to dish of mine is a tuna salad, especially when I’m short on time. I enjoyed a fresh lettuce wrap with tuna salad garnished with spicy sprouts. It was perfection! They’re also great on a regular salad.
Lighten a heavy meal. For Easter, we enjoyed Mediterranean style lamb, and it was a heavy dish to be sure. I sprinkled on a helping of microgreens, and it was the perfect fresh touch. *I may have added a bunch more microgreens after taking this picture because they were that good!*
Microgreens and sprouts leave me with a refreshing, light feeling that I am truly enjoying. They are packed with wonderful nutrients, and they are easy to digest. I love that they're great with breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you’ve found a great way to enjoy sprouts, send me an e-mail. I’d love to hear your ideas!