Spring into Summer


Recipes and photography by Susan Spungen

After the winter season, it’s refreshing to have a wider variety of produce to choose from when shopping and planning menus. I have always loved vegetables, but my diet leans more and more towards being plant based all the time. We have a completely vegetarian meal at least once a week, and sometimes more, but vegetables are always on the menu. One of our go-to’s has been a grain bowl of some variety about once a week. It’s a great way to use up bits of vegetables that you may have in your fridge that are not quite enough for anything else. I created two new recipes in partnership with Village Farms to celebrate this season of plenty. Both recipes pack lots of fresh produce into one delicious bowl. Each is flexible enough that you can make swaps to incorporate something special you might find in your farmer’s market or supermarket.

Maverick Mix Grain Bowl

The first recipe is for Maverick Mix Grain Bowls with Grilled Tofu. I usually try to pack at least five different vegetables into my grain bowls and go for a mix of cooked and raw for the most flavor and nutrition. Choose a variety of colors not just for looks, but for the health benefits. By choosing different colors, you can be sure you are getting a wide variety of vitamins and nutrients. Instead of roasting the vegetables like I do in the winter, I grill some asparagus while I’m grilling the tofu. I also char some Village Farms Maverick Mix® tomatoes alongside the asparagus to make a tasty dressing for the bowls. Fresh Village Farms Maverick Mix tomatoes add freshness to the bowl as well as an antioxidant punch. Tomatoes two ways! Don’t feel hemmed in by the vegetables in the recipe- feel free to switch them up according to what you find or what you have. Go for the freshest and most seasonal items and you can’t go wrong!

You can use the protein of your choice in place of the grilled tofu. Try leftover grilled or roasted chicken, cooked or canned beans, or shrimp. When you light the grill to cook the tofu, you’ll be cooking the asparagus and charring the tomatoes at the same time, so make sure you have all those elements ready at once. A grill platter, which is a perforated metal sheet, comes in very handy here to cook the asparagus and the tomatoes for the dressing, which would otherwise fall through the grates.

Sweet Bell Pepper Slaw with Mango

The second recipe is for Sweet Bells® Pepper Slaw, which also has shredded Savoy cabbage (that’s the crinkly looking one you’ll find in your supermarket) but you can use regular cabbage (red or green) or even a couple bags of pre-shredded slaw mix instead. Mango adds sweetness, and the slaw is simply dressed with lime juice, rice wine vinegar, and oil. Nothing could be easier than a slaw, just toss everything together and you’re done! Serve as a side dish with grilled fish or chicken, or as a filling for fish tacos. Since serranos and jalapenos can vary so much in size, use less at first and add more as needed. Slicing them thinly will lessen their hot punch and allow them to integrate into the slaw better. Village Farms Sweet Bell Peppers not only add color (use two out of the three colors) but a healthy dose of vitamins A & C.

Recipes and blog were created exclusively for Village Farms by  Susan Spungen