tempting tamari

Delicate seasonings add zest to spring veggies.

Springtime is the season of new growth, hope and the promise of abundance. What better way to celebrate your pregnancy than to feast on the cornucopia of fresh produce available now. These colorful vegetables, tossed in a tangy blend of tamari and tomato, are brimming with more than 100 percent of your body’s daily requirements for beta carotene and vitamin C, both essential to Baby’s normal tissue growth.

Serve it alone or as a delicious accompaniment to grilled fish or fowl—and enjoy the taste of spring.

Fresh Steamed Vegetables with Tamari-Tomato Sauce

Serves 4

1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil 1/2 medium onion, chopped 1/2 tablespoon flour 3 tablespoons low-sodium tamari sauce 1/2 cup tomato juice 3 tablespoons water 2 celery stalks, cut into 1-inch slices 2 large carrots, cut into 3/4-inch diagonal slices 1/2 cup cauliflower florets 1 cup broccoli florets 1/2 cup yellow crookneck squash, cut into 3/4-inch slices 3/4 cup spinach leaves, washed 1 medium tomato, cut into wedges 2 tablespoons cheddar cheese, grated 1 cup steamed brown rice

Heat olive oil in nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until tender. Reduce heat and slowly add flour, stirring to coat onions. Drizzle in tamari, tomato juice and water. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.

Heat water in a large steamer. Steam celery and carrots for 5 minutes. Add cauliflower and broccoli; steam 5 minutes. Add squash; steam 5 minutes. Add spinach; steam 5 minutes. Finally, add tomatoes; steam 3 minutes. (Vegetables should still be crunchy; spinach and tomato should be just heated through.)

Remove from heat and transfer to warmed bowl. Drizzle sauce over vegetables and toss lightly. Sprinkle with cheese and serve over brown rice.

Nutritional information per serving (1/2 cup vegetables and 1/4 cup rice): 216 calories, 21 percent fat (5 grams), 63 percent carbohydrate, 16 percent protein, 9.7 micrograms vitamin A (as beta carotene), 82 milligrams vitamin C, 144 milligrams calcium, 2.6 milligrams iron, 127 micrograms folic acid.