Jen Juneau
March 22, 2017 8:00 am
NBC

Spring is that wonderful time of the year when the snow starts to melt, and you can venture out of your house without layering 183 items of clothing to keep warm. It’s the season when farmer’s markets are flourishing again, and birds start singing like they do in Disney cartoons.

It’s also the time of year when a lot of produce that costs an arm and a leg over the winter starts dropping in price because it’s in season now, meaning lots of new recipes to tide you over until summer, when you can start shopping for things like watermelon and…well frankly, who cares as long as there’s watermelon?

Here are our top picks for in-season spring produce that will keep your wallet full while giving you lots of healthy options throughout the day.

Asparagus

If you’ve ever been to any restaurant ever, you know they upcharge you on asparagus because it counts as a “deluxe” side dish over other options like French fries or broccoli. So spring is definitely the time to get in on the asparagus. It’s great with breakfast/brunch, lunch, and dinner — just ask the folks who brought you these delicious-looking asparagus recipes.

Biggest Nutrients: Vitamin K, Folate, Vitamin B1

Pineapple

Pineapple doesn’t even need a reason to be eaten since it’s so perfectly sweet and tart on its own. But knock yourself out with piña coladas, if you must. Spring break is upon us anyway, which is the perfect excuse. And if you’re not a drinker, virgin tropical smoothies are also a delicious option. And grilled pineapple! You can’t go wrong with grilled pineapple.

Biggest Nutrient: Vitamin C

Mango

Aside from sharing its name with one of the most iconic SNL characters ever, the mango is amazing because it adds a dash of tropical feel any time, any place. And don’t be put off by having to peel it! There is a tried-and-true way to peel a mango that will have you never eating another fruit again.

Biggest Nutrients: Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Folate

Green Beans

Green beans aren’t the heartiest, most flavorful vegetable out there, but let’s be clear about one thing: It’s been like four months since Thanksgiving, and we’re about ready to have ourselves some green bean casserole again.

Biggest Nutrients: Vitamin K, Fiber, Vitamin C

Spinach

Spinach salads, spinach in your detox smoothies, sauteed spinach with garlic and olive oil…the possibilities are endless. Don’t let canned spinach be your deterrent from this wonderfully flexible veggie. Plus, the only person who eats that is Popeye, and while he is super strong, he is not real.

Biggest Nutrients: Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Folate, Iron

Strawberries

Unless you’re allergic or Tom Brady, you’ve probably eaten a strawberry in your life. Which means you know it’s pretty much the tastiest, most versatile fruit out there. The strawberries at my local supermarket were buy one, get one free recently, at $2 each — which maths out to $1 a pint! That is a steal. Try them frozen, or with a little balsamic vinegar, and thank us later.

Biggest Nutrients: Vitamin C, Manganese, Fiber

Chayote Squash

This is random, but in New Orleans, they call this the mirliton. And with the mirliton comes shrimp and mirliton casserole, and with shrimp and mirliton casserole comes a lifetime of happiness.

Biggest Nutrients: Folate, Vitamin C

Honeydew

Honeydew isn’t quite as delicious as watermelon, in our humble opinion, but it’s still pretty good now and then (and still better than cantaloupe, IMO). For starters, it’s super refreshing — great for when the mornings start to warm up and you need a little something sweet to get you going.

Biggest Nutrients: Vitamin C, Potassium

Peas

We know peas aren’t the most exciting veggie, but there are tons of things you can do with them. While the weather is still a liiittle nippy out, you can try your hand at a split pea soup — with BACON — recipe.

Bonus: Bags of frozen peas are really good for injuries.

Biggest Nutrients: Vitamin K, Vitamin B1, Fiber, Vitamin C

Broccoli

See above. Who can resist a broccoli-cheddar soup in a bread bowl? Grab your favorite recipe plus a loaf of sourdough of your own from your supermarket (or locally owned!) bakery, and save the Panera prices.

Biggest Nutrients: Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Chromium, Folate, Fiber, Vitamin B6

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