Spring Greens

This green menu is perfect for Earth Day … or any day

Spring Greens

Taking place every April, Earth Day aims to inspire awareness of, and appreciation for, the natural world around us. To celebrate, people often plant trees, take part in an environmental fair or collect garbage from beaches and parks.

Another fun and tasty way to show you have Mother Nature in mind is by serving up green recipes. Dishes that rely on an array of verdant foods can make you feel a little closer to nature—and also help spring clean your diet.

From spinach to asparagus, green-hued foods are easy on the taste buds and nutritional heavy hitters. For instance, edamame (bright-tasting immature green soybeans) are powerful bundles of protein, dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals. That’s just one of the powerful green foods you’ll use—and love—in these recipes.

Green Velvet Pancakes


It’s always a good idea to slip leafy greens into any meal for a nutritious boost. And you’ll be amazed by how much spring spinach can be snuck into these Instagram-ready pancakes without making them taste like a salad. Banana offsets the earthy notes of spinach with natural sweetness, lemon zest infuses the flapjacks with citrusy zing and almond flour provides nutty tasting notes. Top with berries and a drizzle of maple syrup. The batter can be prepared the night before and may also be used in a waffle iron.

1 cup (250 mL) oat flour

1/2 cup (125 mL) almond flour

1/2 tsp (2 mL) cinnamon

1 tsp (5 mL) baking powder

1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking soda

Salt, to taste

3/4 cup (180 mL) milk or buttermilk

1/2 cup (125 mL) plain Greek yogurt

1 large egg

1 medium ripe banana, peeled

2 cups (500 mL) spinach

Zest of 1 lemon

1/4 cup (60 mL) chopped walnuts (optional)


In large bowl, stir together flours, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and a couple pinches of salt. Place milk or buttermilk, yogurt, egg, banana, spinach and lemon zest in blender and blend until smooth. Add spinach mixture to flour mixture and mix together. Fold in walnuts, if using. Let batter rest for 15 minutes to allow flour to soak up some of the liquid.

Heat greased skillet over medium heat. Pour 1/4 cup (60 mL) batter for each pancake into pan and cook for 2 minutes, or until pancakes darken around the edges and bubbles form on their surfaces. Flip and cook for 2 minutes more. Place prepared pancakes on metal rack and keep warm in 200 F (100 C) oven while you prepare remaining batter.

Each serving contains: 323 calories; 20 g protein; 13 g total fat (2 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 36 g total carbohydrates (10 g sugars, 6 g fiber); 50 mg sodium

Chicken Millet Bowls with Green Goddess Sauce


This marriage of nutritional superstars is sure to bowl you over with fresh flavors, great textural contrasts and visual appeal. Not just for the birds, millet has a great corn-like flavor, and cooking it in cilantro water is a way to make it even better with extra herby taste. To make each bowl shine even brighter green, you can swap out black beans for edamame or lima beans. It can also become vegetarian by swapping out chicken for cubes of smoked tofu.

1 cup (250 mL) packed cilantro

Salt, to taste

1 cup (250 mL) millet

2 Tbsp (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil

Juice of 1 lime

1 small avocado, peeled and pitted

1/2 cup (125 mL) packed basil

1/2 cup (125 mL) packed parsley

2 green onions, green parts only

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt

1/4 tsp (1 mL) cayenne

2 cups (500 mL) spring greens

2 cups (500 mL) chopped cooked chicken

1 1/2 cups (350 mL) cooked or canned black beans (drained and rinsed if canned)

4 Tbsp (60 mL) unsalted pumpkin seeds


Blend together cilantro, 2 cups (500 mL) water and a couple pinches of salt in blender. Bring cilantro water to a boil in medium saucepan and then stir in millet. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until liquid is absorbed and millet is tender. Set pan aside for 5 minutes and then fluff millet with fork.

Place oil, lime juice, 3 Tbsp (45 mL) water, avocado, basil, parsley, green onion, garlic and salt in blender container and blend until nearly smooth. Add water, 1 Tbsp (15 mL) at a time, to help with blending and to reach desired smooth consistency.

To serve, divide millet among 4 serving bowls and top with greens, chicken, beans and avocado sauce. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp (15 mL) pumpkin seeds over each bowl.

Each serving contains: 592 calories; 37 g protein; 24 g total fat (4 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 59 g total carbohydrates (1 g sugars, 14 g fiber); 245 mg sodium

Asparagus, Edamame and Pea Salad


So lush in health-hiking nutrients and fresh flavors, this vividly green dish is perfect for moving away from heavier winter fare into lighter dishes that are a harbinger of warmer, greener days ahead. Left to darken in a frying pan, shallots transform from pungent to deliciously sweet, making them an inspired salad topping.

2 Tbsp + 2 tsp (40 mL) sunflower oil

1/2 cup (125 mL) thinly sliced shallots

1 bunch asparagus, woody ends removed

Salt, to taste

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup (250 mL) frozen shelled edamame

1 cup (250 mL) fresh shelled peas or frozen peas, thawed

2 Tbsp (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice

1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt

1/4 tsp (1 mL) black pepper

1/3 cup (80 mL) chopped parsley

1/4 cup (60 mL) crumbled feta cheese (optional)

2 Tbsp (30 mL) unsalted pistachios


Heat 2 Tbsp (30 mL) sunflower oil in skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring often, until darkened, about 15 minutes. Remove shallots from pan and place on paper towel-lined plate or cutting board to cool.

Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C) and line baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss asparagus with 2 tsp (10 mL) sunflower oil and a couple pinches of salt. Place on baking sheet and sprinkle on garlic. Roast for 10 minutes—more or less, depending on how thick spears are—until asparagus are lightly browned and tender.

Cook edamame in medium saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, about 4 minutes. Remove using slotted spoon and set aside. Return water in saucepan to a boil; add peas and cook until just tender, about 3 minutes (do not cook fresh peas). Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, salt and black pepper.

To serve, place asparagus, edamame, peas and parsley on serving platter. Drizzle on dressing and then top with feta (if using), pistachios and shallots.

Each serving contains: 317 calories; 14 g protein; 22 g total fat (3 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 20 g total carbohydrates (5 g sugars, 7 g fiber); 189 mg sodium