March into spring with flavorful greens

March into spring with flavorful greens from Concord Farmers Market

March into spring with flavorful greens
Check out the Spring greens and veggies at Concord’s Farmers Market every Tuesday from 10 AM to 2 PM. (Pete Cruz photo)

CONCORD, CA (Mar. 19, 2024) — After a winter of dense stews and carb-heavy recipes, it’s time to lighten up your meals with fresh and delicious spring greens and baby vegetables.

You’ll find spring lettuce and baby spinach, fat spring leeks, fragrant spring garlic and green onions, big stalks of asparagus and the new crop of artichokes at the farmers market. Sweet green peas, flavorful fava beans and tasty spring herbs will arrive toward the end of the month and into April.

You’ll also discover delicious but unusual greens seldom seen anywhere else. Enjoy something different in your salads, soups, pastas, eggs and casseroles.

Spring greens

Amaranth leaves. Also called pigweed, the leaves are harvested in the summer months. We’re talking about the leaves, not the grain amaranth. The leaves taste a bit like spinach and are best simply sautéed – but also good in salads, soups and casseroles or with eggs.

With green garlic, you can eat the entire plant – from greens to bulb.

Green garlic. Found in early spring, it has a mild garlic flavor. This type of garlic does not produce the large bulbs of regular garlic. You can consume the entire plant, from greens to bulb. Use as you would any garlic with added greens.

Spring onions. Good throughout the spring months, they have a slightly stronger flavor than scallions. Compared to green onions, they have a small, round, white bulb at the base. Use for moderate onion flavor in any dish.

Yam (sweet potato) leaves. These are grown year-round, but good in spring. The brightly colored greens with heart shaped leaves taste similar to spinach and can be eaten raw or cooked. Try in soups, salads or sandwiches.

Pea greens or shoots. Available throughout the spring months, young pea vines, shoots and leaves are tender and mild with an herbal flavor. They typically come from snow or snap peas. Add raw pea greens to salads, sandwiches, bowls, pasta and soups for crunch and textural variety.

Ramps. Early spring is best for this species of wild onion, which has a flavor similar to garlic and onions. They look like scallions but have broad leaves and a purplish stem. Use in any recipe calling for onions or garlic. You can eat both the bulb and greens.

Mustard greens. This peppery and spicy green with ruffled small leaves grows year-round and can be used in a variety of ways, from salads to soups. They’re popular in traditional Southern dishes as well as Asian recipes.

Mâche. Also called Lamb’s Lettuce, mâche is good in late winter to early spring. This tender salad green grows in bunches and has small, delicate leaves. It has a nutty taste and can be eaten raw in salads or cooked, steamed or sautéed and served as a vegetable.

New tastes

Lighten up your meals this spring and add some exciting new tastes to your recipes. These farmers market finds are full of healthy nutrients, offer interesting textures and fill your plate with flavor.

The Concord Farmers Market is in Todos Santos Plaza Tuesdays & Thursdays.