Who’s ever referred to summer as Mango season? I have. You just know that as the weather gets warmer that golden fruit is going to hit the markets and summer is officially here. Likewise, when mandarins come out in winter. There’s no doubt that our everyday menu changes with the seasons. Winter calls for warming soups, roasts and comfort food. In summer we crave lighter salads, fresh fruit and iced delights. As the phenomena of eating seasonally occurs around us – seasonal chef menus, farmers market specials, magazine recipes – I find myself exploring the added benefits of eating seasonally.
In season fresh fruit and veg:
- are more affordable
- are bigger and more ripe
- Taste better
- Have less transit time from farm to plate
- Have a higher bioavailability of nutrients for us to absorb!
Let’s be honest, who wants to eat a cherry in June that has travelled a bazillion kilometers and is the size of a pea? Chefs and nutritionists alike urge us to eat with the seasons and more than ever I give full merit to this recommendation. For a great tool to see what’s in season, check out the Sydney Markets site here.
While studying the in season list for November, I was so inspired that I decided to spend a weekend in the kitchen. Gettin’ all seasonal! I wanted to share how your day on a plate could look incorporating seasonal produce for this time of year. So here it goes!
How to eat seasonally this November? Easy!
1 cup baby spinach
1 cup lettuce, chopped
A few sprigs of fresh coriander
A few sprigs of fresh flat leaf parsley
½ cucumber, chopped
1 orange (Valencia), chopped
1 handful blueberries
1 cup coconut water
½ cup ice
Blend baby spinach, lettuce, coriander, parsley, coconut water and ice in a blender. Once combined add cucumber, orange and blueberries. Blend to desired consistency. Enjoy slowly and chew your liquids!
This green machine is packed full of vitamin c, antioxidants, beta carotene, potassium and magnesium to name a few. Spinach is known for its disease and cancer fighting properties with its ability to reduce cancer cell growth in stomach, skin and breast cancer and used in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. It is important to chew your cruciferous vegetables (think spinach, kale, broccoli and cauliflower) as their liver detoxifying enzymes are only activated when the veg is torn up, most effectively by your teeth.
½ cup paw paw, chopped
½ cup pineapple, chopped
½ cup mango, chopped
½ cup rock melon, chopped
2 tbs organic natural yogurt/coconut yogurt (dairy free)
Follow my homemade muesli recipe from my post new spaces here.
Chop up pawpaw, pineapple, mango and rock melon. Drizzle with passion fruit pulp and serve with your choice of yogurt.
This seasonal breakfast boasts a bowl of healthy fats from the coconut oil and the nuts, protein from the nuts and yogurt, low GI beta glucan from the oats and a good dose of vitamin C and carotenoids (the properties responsible for the orange colour) from the fruit. With probiotics from the fermented yogurt and fibre from the fruit, your digestive system will love you!
Guacamole salsa dip
1 avocado, deseeded
1 tomato, diced
1 sweet corn cob, boiled, remove kernels
½ red onion, diced
1 red chili, diced finely
1 pinch coriander
1 lime, juiced
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp black pepper
1 cucumber, cut into dippers
Mash avocado with a fork. Combine tomato, corn kernels, red onion, chili, coriander, lime, smoked paprika and black pepper and add to avocado. Stir to combine. Cut cucumber into long sticks for dipping. Serves 2.
Avocado is a monounsaturated fat powerhouse – closely linked to reducing adipose tissue and visceral fat (fat around the organs). Avo’s also supply us with vitamin E, B6 and fiber for glowing skin and regular tummies. With the added zest of chili, tomoto and fresh herbs this dip is a great way to keep you going until lunch. Swap the crackers with cucumber sticks for a grain free option.
Zucchini pasta with tomato lentil Bolognese
1 Zucchini, mandolined into ribbons
½ tsp olive oil
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 bottle Organic tomato passata/sauce
1 tomato, chopped
A few sprigs of flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
½ red onion, diced
1 can Italian lentils, drained, rinsed well
Slice zucchini’s into ribbons. Sautee zucchini in a pan on medium heat with olive oil and chili flakes. When soften, remove from heat and set aside.
Crush the garlic and chop tomato, flat leaf parsley and onion. Throw into a pot on medium heat until soften. Pour in tomato passata/sauce, turn down heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the lentils and simmer for a further 5 minutes.
Sever zucchini ribbons in a bowl and spoon on lentil Bolognese. Top with fresh basil leaves.
This is a grain free, low carb, veg protein take on the classic spaghetti Bolognese. Tomatoes are full of vitamin C, A and K and most famously known for containing cancer fighting lycopene. This carotenoid reduces inflammation and is used in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, prostate, colon and breast cancer. The lentils provide a source of fiber and repairing protein to keep you full throughout the afternoon.
Banana nut sandwiches
1 banana, chopped
1 tbs almond and chia butter (I use Melrose, check them out here.
Cut a peeled banana into slices and top with almond and chia butter to make little banana sandwiches.
The natural energy from the banana and protein, monounsaturated fats and omega 3 from the nut/seed butter make this an optimum pre-workout snack.
Baked turmeric salmon with greens
1 lemon, juiced
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs ground turmeric
1 pinch parsley, flat leaf and curly
1 bunch bok choy, steamed
1 handful green beans steamed
Place salmon fillet on a baking paper lined tray. Brush fillet with olive oil and season with a squeeze of fresh lemon, turmeric and parsley. Bake in a 180 degree oven for 25-30 minutes. Steam bok choy and beans in a steamer on the stove. Plate up with extra lemon and black pepper.
Tame that flame with the wonder that is turmeric. This anti-inflammatory spice also has anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties and is used to fight infections and a number of diseases. Bok Choy is a member of the brassica family (also a cruciferous veg – so chew!) and is rich in antioxidants, vitamin c, calcium and fiber. Team with healthy omega 3 fatty acids from the salmon and you’ve got yourself a detoxifying, clean and nourishing dinner.
Raw very berry cherry crumble (try saying that 5 times in a row!)
1 cup almonds
2 tbs chia seeds
2 tbs organic coconut flakes
1 cup walnuts
2 medjool dates
½ cup blueberries
½ cup blackberries
1 cup fresh cherries, pitted
Combine almonds, chia seeds, coconut flakes, walnuts and dates in the food processor. Process until a sandy crumble consistency is achieved.
Pulse berries in a blender, leaving fruit somewhat chunky. Pour fruit into ramekins/cups and top with raw crumble.
There’s no better way to enjoy some seasonal berries than with this no-bake crumble. This dessert is free from grains, gluten, dairy and refined sugar. These berries are loaded with powerful antioxidants and vitamin C, which are used in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, cancers and brain degradation. Bonus? Get an added omega 3, vitamin E and protein hit from the crumble topping.
*This dessert is adapted from Teresa Cutter’s Strawberry Crumble recipe. Check it out here.
Now, I urge you, go to the market and get creative with what’s in season. It’s fun, I promise. And the best part about experimentally with food…is eating it.