Spring is the time to start celebrating longer days and warmer weather! And I have put together a special brunch to serve, whether its for Easter, Mother’s Day or graduation, ect. There is always a reason to get together and enjoy healthy food together and this little menu highlight’s the seasonal produce available this time of year!

Asparagus from the Farmers' Market

Fruits and vegetables that you will find this time of year at the farmers’ markets include asparagus, strawberries, rhubarb, snow peas, mushrooms, greens, carrots and radishes and this brunch menu uses several of these. For this meal, I used asparagus, strawberries and rhubarb but you can plan the rest of your week’s menu using the other jewels of spring also! The rhubarb that I used to make the Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp is from my garden. I also have a few strawberries coming up but I don’t know what happened to my asparagus bed. I either did not water it or it is in too shady of an area or a vole ate the roots but it appears to be absent this year.

Strawberries and Rhubarb

Festive Spring Brunch Menu
Asparagus Benedict
Tempeh Pecan Sausage
Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
Lavender Blueberry Lemonade

Asparagus Eggs Benedict

Asparagus Benedict

Makes 4 servings.

My original original recipe includes some local smoked trout but since I made some tempeh pecan sausage with this menu, I left it out to highlight the asparagus. Feel free to add back the trout or even include some sauteed spring mushrooms to the lemon cream sauce! (the picture below in the link is for the other recipe on that blog post)

2 Tasty Ways to Eat Fish for Breakfast

Tempeh Pecan Sausage

Tempeh Pecan Sausage

You will not miss the meat with this handmade vegetarian sausage made with high protein ingredients that was inspired by the veggie sausage at West End Bakery. I had to learn how to make one similar because sometimes I want to stay down the hill to eat in my garden!

Makes 12 patties.

8 ounce package tempeh

1 1/2 cup raw pecans chopped fine

(beaten egg if needed or 1 tablespoon ground flax dissolved in 1 tablespoon water if you want an egg substitute to keep it vegan, I did not use either mine was moist enough but it can vary)

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon thyme

1/2 teaspoon sage

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

For a smoky flavor

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon peanut or canola oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a skillet, crumble tempeh and add to the skillet, add 1/2 cup water. Add soy sauce and hickory seasoning. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, until most of the liquid has absorbed in the tempeh. In a food processor, add pecans, cayenne, thyme, garlic powder and sage then process until the pecans become a coarse meal. In a large bowl, add pecan meal, tempeh, allow to cool to touch. On a cookie sheet lined with parchment, begin making veggie sausage patties. Add them to the cookie sheet (if veggie mixture is too crumble and needs a little liquid, add a little water and ground flax mixture or egg. Bake 15-20 minutes. Turning once at the halfway point. If you want them a little browner and crispier, brush with a little oil.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

With strawberries and rhubarb coming fresh from the garden and farmers’ markets, what better dessert to make than with one using all of these!

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

I absolutely love fresh strawberries and they are one of my all time favorite foods. As a child, my favorite pie was rhubarb. So this crisp marries these two all time favorites in a simple delicious, dessert!

Makes 6-8 servings

4 cups strawberries, stemmed and sliced in pieces

1 cup rhubarb, chopped (sometimes it needs to be peeled a little bit)

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoon flour

Topping Recipe:

1 cup flour

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup soften Earth Balance tub margarine

1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Chop and peel rhubarb and stem and slice strawberries and put in a 8 inch square pan or a 9 inch pyrex pan ( I used an old vintage baking pan to make mine). Toss with 2 tablespoons flour and 1/2 cup brown sugar. In a bowl for the topping, add flour, brown sugar, salt, vanilla and Earth Balance tub margarine and finely mix and crumble all the ingredients together. Add topping over the fruit and bake 30 minutes until the filling bubbles.






Lavender Blueberry Lemonade

Lavender Blueberry Lemonade

Move over mimosa, there is a new brunch beverage to try! And it is great with or without the champagne! Spring time is lavender time and I am starting to have some begin to bloom in my garden!

1 ½ cups  lavender infused simple syrup

1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 cup fresh or frozen wild blueberries, save a few to garnish if desired.

Champagne if desired.

Sqeeze lemons to make 1 cup of juice. Make light simple syrup using a 1:1 ratio of water to sugar. Use Cooking Light’s simple syup recipe and while the syrup is still hot, add 1/4 cup dry or 1/2 cup fresh lavender flowers. Allow to steep for 30 minutes and strain lavender flowers out of the syrup with a sieve. Add blueberries to a food processor and puree until smooth. Pour blended blueberries into a large pitcher,. Add lemon juice, simple syrup and an additional 3 ½ cups chilled water to it. Stir.  Add a few ice cubes or frozen blueberries to glasses and fill 3/4 full with Lavender Blueberry Lemonade. Top with champagne if desired. Garnish with additional blueberries and fresh lavender sprigs.

I hope that you love this spring collection of recipes and it becomes one of your favorites. As an Asheville, NC registered dietitian nutritionist, I love helping my readers and clients find new, healthy recipe and menu ideas that fit their busy lifestyles. If you are new to my food blog, welcome and please come back to see what I am making next! If you have come back, thank you and please share with a friend! I always have new fun things going on here on the blog and other places on Vine Ripe Nutrition! Check out the class that I will be giving at Franny’s Farm!


Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Strawberry and rhubarb are meant to be eaten together in the spring!

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