Sugar snap peas
How to choose: Called mange-tout in French (“eat all”), these crisp delights—a cross between flat snow peas andEnglish garden peas—should be plump and bright green. Buy the freshest possible pods; when harvested, peas’ natural sugars start converting to starch. Refrigerate in plastic to keep them from drying out.

Preparation tips: Zip off the string along each pod’s seam; add whole or chopped to salads, slaws, and cold soups. When cooking, blanch first to set color; stir-fry with ginger, garlic, green onions, cashews, and soy sauce. Sauté with fresh tomatoes, garlic, basil, lemon juice, and white wine; toss with linguine and Parmesan cheese.

Health benefits: A sweet source of vitamins A and C, plus niacin and iron.

—Elisa Bosley

Soba Noodles with Tempeh and Snap Peas
(Serves 4)

2-3 tablespoons low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons chili paste with garlic
8 ounces tempeh
1/2 pound sugar snap peas
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
8 ounces soba noodles

1. Bring 3 quarts water to a boil. In a large, wide bowl, combine tamari or soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, brown sugar, and chili paste with garlic. Cut tempeh into 1/2- to 1-inch cubes. Place in tamari mixture and toss gently to coat all sides.

2. Remove tempeh from mixing bowl with a slotted spoon. In a medium nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, cook tempeh, turning until cubes are browned, 5–8 minutes.

3. While tempeh cooks, wash peas and chop cilantro and green onions. When tempeh cubes have browned, return tempeh to mixing bowl.

4. Stir noodles into the boiling water and cook, uncovered, until nearly done, about 4 minutes. Add snap peas to water and cook 1 minute more. Drain well. Transfer hot noodles and peas to tempeh-sauce mixture. Add cilantro and green onions; toss. Serve warm.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:
Calories: 408 calories
% fat calories: 24
Fat: 11g
Saturated Fat: 2g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Protein: 20g
Carbohydrate: 56g
Fiber: 6g
Sodium: 858mg

Recipe provided by James Rouse, ND, the creator of Optimum Wellness and The Fit Kitchen, seen weekly on NBC’s KUSA television news.