Colorful Recipes to Ring in Spring
May 2021 Issue
By Chef Lynn Michelle—The East Coast Chef
Photography by Lindsay Gifford
In May, not only is spring in the air, with its bounty of colorful, seasonal ready-to-pick produce and fresh ingredients, it can also be on your plate. It’s the perfect time to pack the nutrient-rich, bright colors of the season into your spring cooking with menu ideas that are as pretty to look at as they are healthy to eat and enjoy.
There’s probably no better, or simpler, way to enjoy the healthy flavors of spring than in a delicious spring salad—made even healthier (and more colorful) with the addition of fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables. But eating healthy in May doesn’t have to just focus on the bright, delicious tastes of your favorite spring salad, you’ll find color and a whole lot of health benefits in other spring-focused menu items that are equally easy to make and just as good for you.
As always, with a few adjustments and substitutions when it comes to ingredients, you can make many of your favorite spring dishes into healthier versions that can help you feel your best and ready to “spring into action” and enjoy all the activities the warmer months ahead have to offer. For example, a simple dip made with fresh roasted red peppers and chick peas can bring you the amazing health benefits of both the red pepper, a great source of many vitamins, minerals and antioxidant compounds, and chick peas, which are packed with nutrients and naturally high in protein. This delicious dip can double for meat in vegetarian and vegan diets.
Take in the awe-inspiring sights and sounds of the season, and enjoy the fresh smells and bright colors that abound this time of year. It’s time to sample and savor the distinctive tastes of spring! LET’S EAT!
Roasted Red Pepper and Chick Pea Dip
Gluten-free | Sugar-free | Vegetarian | Vegan | Keto
Large jar Roasted Red Pepper, chopped and save juice
Large can, Chick Peas (Garbanzo Beans), drain and rinse
1 cup Mayonnaise, or Vegannaise
1 cup Parmesan Cheese or Vegan Cheese
½ cup Red Onion, chopped
1 cup Sweet Onion, chopped
1 tsp Salt
1 ½ tsps Pepper
1 Tbsp Fresh Garlic, minced
Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter or spray an oven safe baking dish to both bake and serve this hot dip in. In a large bowl, carefully mix all ingredients together. Place mixture into prepared baking dish. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until top is golden brown and bubbling. Serve hot with your favorite chips, crackers and veggies.
Sautéed Tofu or Chicken with Honey & Ginger Miso Glaze
Gluten-free | Sugar-free | Vegetarian | Vegan
¼ cup, Ginger, grated 1 clove Garlic, minced
½ cup Coconut aminos Dash Salt
1 tsp Pepper Curry, to taste
1 tsp Garlic powder Olive Oil
½ cup Sesame seeds, toasted (optional)
1 pkg firm Tofu or 3 Chicken breast,
split in 2 longways pieces
1 Tbsp Miso paste and ½ cup of water, mix together
¼ cup Honey or sugar-free sweetener
Season chicken or tofu with salt, pepper, garlic powder, curry and olive oil. Set aside. In a medium sauce pan on low heat, place 1 teaspoon olive oil, ginger and fresh garlic into the pan. Slowly add honey (or sugar alternative), coconut aminos and pepper to season. Stir and let heat for 5 minutes. Add miso/water mixture. Stir and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to reduce the sauce. Set aside. Sauté chicken or tofu in a sauté pan. Place into a greased baking pan and pour sauce over it. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until chicken is done. Top with toasted sesame seeds for added flavor (optional). Tofu won’t take this long. Serve with grilled vegetables or Chef Lynn Michelle’s PowerFood Salad.
Chef Lynn Michelle’s PowerFood Salad
Gluten-free | Sugar-free | Vegetarian | Vegan | Keto [pictured above]
1 lb. Kale, chopped 1 cup Sunflower seeds
¼ cup Red onion, sliced thin 1 cup Cashews, coarsely chopped
1 cup Carrots, shredded 2 cups Red cabbage, sliced thin
1 cup Edamame, thawed 1 cup Blueberries
15 Cherry tomatoes ½ cup dried Cherries or Cranberries
1 large can Chick Peas (Garbanzo Beans), drained, rinsed and skins removed
Store bought Raspberry Vinaigrette or your favorite dressing (not intended for sugar-free, gluten-free, or KETO)
In a large bowl, wash and mix all the above ingredients together, except dressing. Set aside. Add dressing about 2 hours before eating.
Key Lime Cake
Gluten-free | Sugar-free | Vegetarian
2 tsps Baking powder
1½ sticks Butter or shortening, softened
½ tsp Salt
1½ cups Sugar, or sugar alternative
¾ cup Egg Whites (about 6)
2 cups Gluten-free All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp Vanilla extract
¾ cup + 2 tsps Unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp fresh Key Lime zest
¼ cup fresh Key Lime juice (add once cake is baked)
Note: This cake bakes best in the center of the oven. Rearrange your oven racks as need for this to happen.
Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease two 9-inch pans (layer cake) or one 9-x13-inch pan (sheet cake). (Using buttered parchment paper is one option for prepping your cake pans.) Using a stand mixer, cream together butter (or shortening) and sugar/sugar alternative until fluffy. In another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. In a third mixing bowl, combine egg whites, unsweetened almond milk and vanilla extract. Add half of flour mixture and half of egg white mixture to butter and sugar. Mix gently, and then add the remaining ingredients and the lime zest. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. When the batter is blended, transfer it to pans. Be sure to evenly disperse the batter throughout the pans. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool. Sprinkle cake(s) with fresh lime juice; Do not add lime juice to the cake batter before baking.
Key Lime Frosting
Gluten-free | Vegetarian | Vegan
1 lb Confectioners sugar
1 tsp Vanilla extract
¼ cup Almond milk
2 sticks Butter, softened, or Vegan Butter
¼ cup fresh Key Lime zest
Mix all ingredients together and blend until fluffy. Ice cakes and serve.
Chef Lynn Michelle is a personal chef located on Hilton Head Island serving the entire Lowcountry. Whether it’s preparing healthy, gourmet, family-style meals, or expertly creating elaborate dinner parties, Chef Lynn and her team do it all—planning, shopping, cooking and clean up. www.cheflynnmichelle.com (843) 422-5280