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Spring produce: how to add fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables to your diet

Spring is here! Adding seasonal fresh produce to your diet is one of the best ways to enjoy the season.

Finally, spring is here, and along with the change in seasons comes a new crop of fresh produce to enjoy. We’ll talk about the bounty of spring produce that’s available to us locally in Texas (and maybe near you!) and give you a few ideas of easy recipes that take advantage of spring veggies and fruits. 

What produce is in season in Texas in the spring? 

Here in Texas, we are lucky to have a variety of delicious and nutritious spring fruits and vegetables. Here’s a short list of some of the produce you can expect to see in the spring.

Citrus: Oranges, Grapefruits and more

Citrus fruits are technically a winter produce item, but the season doesn’t end until April. Citrus is great for amping up your vitamin C intake and adding sweet and sour brightness to sautéed vegetables, green soups, and seafood. 

If you’re new to Texas, ruby red grapefruit is a thing here in the winter and spring months, so take advantage. Of course, you’re also welcome to dig in with a spoon or peel and pop segments straight into your mouth. (And don’t forget about fresh juice.) 

Berries: Blueberries, Strawberries, Blackberries, etc.

Berry lovers rejoice! Berries come into season beginning in spring and last well through mid-summer. Berries are well known for packing a lot of nutrition into a tiny package, including vitamin C, antioxidants, and fiber. 

Toss them on your yogurt or cereal, bake them into pies and muffins for a treat, or eat them straight from the carton. (Well, wash them first, but then go to town!)

Spring veggies: Broccoli, Cauliflower, Onions, Spinach, Tomatoes, Squash, and More

Spring vegetables are bright, fresh and flavorful. Fire up a simple mixed veggie saute for an easy side dish or roast broccoli and cauliflower with olive oil and seasoning for a bit of crispiness. (These are also great in the air fryer, if you have one.)

Fresh tomatoes make an amazing homemade sauce when roasted with garlic and onion and blended up with a little vegetable broth and chopped herbs. Give it a try, it’s really that easy. Just add salt to taste and toss with pasta and a lean protein source for a healthy meal. 

For more specific information about what produce is in season in Texas, explore the Texas Department of Agriculture’s seasonality wheel.  

Where should I get seasonal produce? 

If you’re looking to support your local farmers and ranchers, farmer’s markets are the best place. Here in Austin, we have a number of markets to choose from: 

If you’re not in our area, you can check out localfarmmarkets.org to find a local farmers’ market and direct farm-to-consumer sellers near you. 

How to use seasonal produce in your meals

Once you have your produce, then you can figure out how to build delicious meals around it. Here are a few ideas.

Use citrus to flavor your roasted veggies and proteins 

Slice an orange, grapefruit, lemon or a combination of two or three and distribute over a pan of oiled and seasoned white fish filets and asparagus (salt and pepper is fine but mixed herbs are also delicious). Cook at 375°F until fish is firm and cooked through and asparagus is easily pierced with a fork and slightly browned, about 20-25 minutes. Make sure to toss the asparagus once or twice while cooking to prevent burning. 

Sautéed greens with olive oil and garlic

If you struggle to get members of your family to eat green vegetables, a little olive oil (or any cooking oil you like) and garlic never hurts. Wash and chop spinach and/or collard greens and pat dry as much as possible with paper towels or a clean tea towel. Mince 2-3 cloves of garlic. Put a large fry pan on medium heat and add a tablespoon or so of olive oil, spreading evenly around the pan. Add the garlic and fry for just a minute or so until fragrant. Add the greens and cook until desired doneness. Enjoy with any protein such as chicken, steak or legumes, along with rice or roasted potatoes. Easy and delicious! 

Spring veggie stir fry 

Bought too many delicious looking veggies at the farmers’ market and now you don’t know what to do with them all? A stir fry is a great way to use up all the vegetables you have left at the end of the week. Carrots, peppers, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, onion, and even tough greens like beet greens or bok choy are all great additions to a stir fry. 

Use kitchen scissors to cut protein of choice into small pieces: tofu, chicken, or shrimp are great options. Heat oil in a large fry pan or wok and cook protein first. Set aside and add a little more oil to the pan, add chopped veggies to the pan along with a dash of soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos and garlic. Sauté veggies until their color has brightened and they are softened but not overcooked. Add your protein to the vegetables and serve over rice. Garnish with chopped green onion, a sprinkle of sesame or sunflower seeds, and sriracha.

Enjoy seasonal produce this spring

Incorporating fresh spring produce provides a welcome change to our diets and makes eating healthy meals accessible and delicious.

What are your favorite dishes to make in the spring? Feel free to email us at hello@utnutritioninstitute.org to let us know.

Published on March 31, 2021 in What's Fresh