Spring vegetables like leeks, asparagus, and onions are some of the gut-friendliest veggies around. They're among the high-fiber foods (a.k.a., the prebiotics) that your gut microbes crave and key components of Microbiome Diet.
Keeping your friendly gut bacteria well-fed helps them help you. And they've got a lot on their plate. They manufacture serotonin and vitamins B12 and K, fight pathogens, prep and protect the immune system, maintain gut health, and regulate metabolism, to name just a few responsibilities. To really thrill your beneficial microbes, consider cooking your fresh veggies with a lighter touch. Soft, overcooked veggies are broken down and digested before the good bacteria can get at 'em. So leave a little crunch. Also, eat further down the stalks -- for example, not just the soft tips of the asparagus but the more fibrous stems, too.
OK, let's get to the recipes. Here are 5 gut-friendly spring veggies and some top-rated recipes that feature them:
Mild-tasting leeks are members of the onion family and are typically used just like onions as a flavor base for soups, stews, and other long-cooking dishes.
- Salmon with Caramelized Leeks
- Chef John's Pasta Primavera
- Pancetta-Wrapped Leek Gratin
- Sauteed Carrots and Leeks
- Chef John's White Gazpacho
- Mediterranean Style Leeks with Lemon
- More Leek Recipes
Spring is for asparagus. Leave a little extra stem for your microbes to enjoy. Cook it gently -- or not at all!
- Grilled Asparagus
- Shrimp and Asparagus
- Asparagus and Tomato Panzanella
- Lemon Asparagus Risotto
- Asparagus Parmesan
- Pickled Asparagus
- Chef John's Asparagus Tart
- More Asparagus Recipes
Fennel features a celery-like stem and flavor that's reminiscent of licorice. Eat it raw in salads or baked, roasted, and braised.
- Roasted Carrot and Fennel Pork
- Baked Fennel with Parmesan
- Fresh Green Beans, Fennel, and Feta Cheese
- Arugula, Fennel, and Orange Salad
- Fennel Risotto
- Jennifer's Fennel and Grapefruit Summer Salad
- More Fennel Recipes
Artichokes are part of the thistle family. The edible leaves are actually the flower buds of the artichoke plant. Find out how to prep and prepare fresh artichokes.
- Zucchini Artichoke Summer Salad
- Chicken Piccata with Artichoke Hearts
- Salad with Artichokes
- Grilled Garlic Artichokes
- Chicken with Artichokes and Sundried Tomatoes
- More Artichoke Recipes
5. Green Garlic/ Garlic Scapes
Ready in spring and early summer, garlic scapes are actually the stalks that grow out of the garlic bulbs. They're milder in flavor than garlic from the bulb and tasty in soups, pastas, and with eggs.
Green Garlic Recipes:
- Cream of Green Garlic and Potato Soup
- Chard Stalks and Garlic Scape Pasta
- Green Garlic and Ham Scrambled Eggs with Cheese
- Chicken with Quinoa and Veggies
- Roast Chicken with Thyme and Onions
- Garlic Scape Pesto