Farmers Market Spring Hash
Note from Heather: Thanks to Emily, Oliver and Terry for this guest post! Emily, Oliver and Terry are three students who are currently studying to become dietitians at the University of British Columbia. They created and photographed this recipe inspired by a trip to one of our local farmer's markets earlier this spring. We're lucky in Vancouver to have many options for farmers markets - if you live in Van and haven't been to check them out, make sure to go! Keep reading for more information on eating local and farmers markets from these future dietitians.
Don't be scared off by the "Spring" in this recipe name! It's incredibly versatile and easily adapted using seasonal produce you'll find at your local market. Keep reading for easy swap ideas.
With the seasons changing it’s out with the old and in with the new! It’s time to use up those stored winter veggies and incorporate some locally grown fresh spring greens. What better way to harmonize all these colours, flavours and seasons than to make a hash? Quick, adaptable, and packed with nutrients, this simple recipe will leave you with a colourful dish perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
This recipe was inspired by the gorgeous fresh local produce that we discovered on our trip to the first Kitsilano farmers market of the year. Produce sold at this time of year (mid-may) includes a combination of early spring greens, greenhouse grown vegetables, and last year’s root vegetables.
About this spring hash:
A hash often begins with a base of potatoes and onions. We decided to incorporate deep red beets to provide a wonderful sweetness, to balance the smoky flavour from the paprika. We chose rainbow chard for it’s slightly earthy flavour and dark pink stems that compliment it’s green leaves. We turned our hash into a meal by adding 4 organic eggs over top.
Can’t get your hands on a particular ingredient from the recipe? Don’t fret - this hash is highly adaptable and we’ve provided you with some handy substitute ideas for you to customize your own hash. Try these substitutions:
- For the rainbow chard: spinach, kale (add it earlier - it takes longer to cook) or arugula.
- For the beets: carrots, turnips, parsnips or rutabaga (or just more potatoes)
- For the potatoes: sweet potato, new potatoes, yukon gold, baby red potatoes or fingerling potatoes
The possibilities are endless! Check out the recipe below to see how we put ours together.
1 medium waxy potato (fingerling or nugget), washed, cubed into 1 cm pieces
2 small beets, cubed into 1 cm pieces
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1.5 tsp paprika
1 tsp thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 large bunch of rainbow chard, stalks chopped and leaves torn into bite-sizes pieces
3 tbsp. crumbled feta cheese (optional, but recommended!)
Generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Hot sauce (optional)
- Place the potato and beets into a microwave safe dish. Cover with water, and cook in the microwave on high until a knife can easily slide through potato (~7-10 minutes - time will vary depending on your microwave). Drain the potato and beet mixture and set aside to cool.
- Preheat the oil in a medium sized skillet on medium heat.
- Once the oil is hot, add the chopped onions, potatoes and beets to the pan. Sauté for about 12 minutes, until the onions are translucent and the potatoes begin to brown slightly. Stir occasionally while sautéing.
- Add the garlic, chard stems and spices and continue cooking for another 3-4 minutes.
- Add in the rainbow chard leaves, and crack eggs over top of the chard. Turn heat to low, and place a cover over the pan. Cook for approximately 5 more minutes or until leaves are wilted and eggs whites are firm. Tip from Heather: If you have an oven-safe pan, I like to cover for 1-2 minutes to cook while I preheat the oven on broil, then pop the dish in to finish under the broiler.
- Remove from heat and squeeze fresh lemon juice over the top of the dish. Sprinkle a pinch of paprika and crumbled feta (if using) on top to finish it off.
Stay tuned for a follow-up post to come from Emily, Oliver, and Terry on choosing the right type of egg!
Local food, why bother?
There are so many reasons to eat more local food - go check out your local farmers market to see what's in season! Here are a few of many reasons to get local from Emily, Oliver and Terry:
Support local farmers and local economy.
Get more connected with your food and learn where it comes from
Save money by buying seasonal (seasonal produce is often the most affordable)
Local produce is often picked freshest, which tends to make it the most delicious and nutritious
Smaller local producers tend to grow more sustainably. They are more likely to rotate crops and are less likely to mass produce one crop. Mass production can lead to nutrient depletion of the soil which can lead to reliance on chemical fertilizers.
Want more information about getting local?
- Michael Pollan has a great website which provides articles surrounding many topics including information on sustainability of food production.
- Check out this book: The 100 Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating
Here are some great resources to scout out local produce in southwest BC:
Get Local! http://www.getlocalbc.org/
A list of in season produce - http://www.getlocalbc.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/MetroVan-Seasonal-Chart.pdf
Farmers Markets in BC:
The nutrition facts table is based on a hash made with 4 eggs, which comfortably serves 2. It also includes the optional feta cheese and 1/2 tsp of added salt, which is quite generous.
Note from Heather: You'll notice the sodium seems pretty high in this recipe! If you're really watching your salt, measure and only add 1/4 tsp of salt while cooking. Skipping the feta cheese will also save you a fair bit in this department - feta is salty!
When you're watching your salt go big on other flavours like lemon and hot sauce!
(from Emily, Oliver and Terry)
Benefits of beets?
High folate content: Folate can’t be stored in the body, so you need to consume foods rich in folate daily. Folate containing foods are cooked vegetables, whole grains, meat, soy products and beans.
Folate is needed to make red blood cells properly, which can help prevent anemia
Note from Heather: Beets are also high in nitrates, which are powerful vasodilators in the body and have been studied for their benefits on athletic performance, although you'd need to eat a LOT of beets to see any results!
What’s sweet about swiss chard or other leafy greens?
These are good sources of Vitamin E to help maintain a healthy immune system and help protect cells from oxidative damage.
Leafy greens contain Vitamin K which is important for blood clotting, and helps to maintain healthy bones.
B vitamins in leafy greens play an important role in breakdown fat and carbohydrates for energy. Leafy greens are a great source of folate, a B vitamin mentioned above.
Keeping the thin skin on these potatoes adds extra fibre.
They are a great source of potassium.
High in moisture and low in starch which means these will hold their shape when cooked, unlike Russet potatoes.
From Heather: Thanks again Emily, Oliver and Terry!