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Lunchbreak: Healthy recipes from Purple Asparagus

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For more information about Purple Asparagus:

www.purpleasparagus.com

Beet Hummus
Serves 6

Ingredients:
1 medium red beet cooked until tender and peeled
1/4 cup tahini
3 small garlic cloves
2 teaspoons lemon juice
kosher salt to taste
water to thin

Directions:
Puree the beet, tahini, garlic, and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor until smooth. Salt to taste. Add water to thin, if needed, to the consistency of a spread or hummus. Spread with cut up vegetables, crackers or toast.

Carrot Tacos
Serves 4

Ingredients:
3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pinch dried oregano, preferably Mexican
3 cups tightly packed grated carrots
1/4 cup raisins
8 leaves of red or green leaf lettuce, rinsed and dried

Directions:
Whisk together the first six ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix in the carrots, stirring to combine thoroughly. Stir in raisins. Lay 2 lettuce leaves on each plate and scoop the carrots on top. Fold the lettuce like a taco shell. Enjoy.

Minty Sugar Syrup
Makes 2 cups

Ingredients:
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 cup mint stems and leaves

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat over high heat until the sugar is dissolved. Turn the heat off and let steep. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. Strain and pour into a jar. The syrup will last a few weeks in the refrigerator.

Fizzy Minty Lemonade
Makes 1 small tasting portion

Ingredients:
2 1/2 ounces soda water
1 teaspoon minty sugar syrup
1 small lemon wedge

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a small cup. You can also make this recipe with limes.

Tips:
Add whole grains into your traditional recipes. Making pasta salad? Use whole wheat pasta. Burgers? Try oat buns. Even potato salad? Try mixing the dressing with cooked farro instead.

Bring the farm to your picnic table. Serve lots of fresh vegetables alongside your mains. Instead of chips, slice up some carrots or radishes. Right now, the market is full of asparagus, baby turnips and spring onions - all are delicious when roasted or grilled. Not only is this a healthier option, it cuts down on the bill from the butcher.

Serve mini desserts. Instead of a big pie, make personal pies in mini-muffin tins. Three layer cakes are a show stopper, but your guests will be just as happy and less stuffed if you make tiny cupcakes.

Skip the soda.

Involve the whole family - and even party guests - in making favorite recipes, like dips or pizzas. It's a great hands-on activity that gets kids excited about trying new foods. And it saves you time and money on preparation.