SPECTRUM HEALTH: Healthy Sides with Proteins Make Spring Sing

March 15, 2024 By Sam Marvin


As we approach spring, my head is filled with images of green veggies as I contemplate what will most perfectly complement the proteins on our plates.  I firmly believe in balancing proteins with vegetables for the most delicious and healthy results.

Meat is not your enemy if you eat it in moderation, (no more than 6 to 8 ounces, please!).  Proteins are made up of chemical building blocks called amino acids and are an important part of a healthy diet.  Your body uses amino acids to build and repair muscles and bones and to make hormones and enzymes.    The origin of the word “protein” comes from the Greek word “protos”, meaning “first”, which is why I always consider protein “first” as I create my menus.

Putting health first along with your protein, opt for grass-fed beef from Cape Grim in Tasmania, which holds some of the most stringent and sustainable food standards in the world!  We serve Cape Grim meat at Echo & Rig in Summerlin and Henderson, as well as at our attached butcher shops, along with other healthy and environmentally correct meats. Or, you can order our seasonal Spring 2024 Box from Passport Culinary (), a quarterly, subscription-based box filled with various cuts of beef (Dry Aged New York, Filet Mignon, Rib-Eye, and Tomahawk) delivered to your home kitchen complete with six of my fully tested recipes for seasonal spring sides.

Now that we know what beef is on our plate, let’s consider some healthy and delicious green sides to complete our meal.  Spring brings us gorgeous sugar snap peas, so tender and fresh that it’s a shame to cook them!  In my Sugar Snap Pea Salad, I prefer to thinly slice the fresh peas and eat them raw with a simple, tangy dressing made with buttermilk, plain Greek yogurt, fresh lemon juice, a touch of fresh, grated garlic and extra-virgin olive oil.  Light and tasty, it is the ideal accompaniment to a grilled Cape Grim New York steak.  See below for complete recipe.

Feel like a satisfying filet?  Try my Roasted Spring Asparagus with Lemon & Walnuts to balance the richness of an 8-oz. beef filet.  Easy as pie, just combine asparagus, thinly sliced shallots, crushed garlic cloves, and olive oil, in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.  Roast the asparagus in the oven, stir in grated lemon zest, top with toasted walnuts and serve!  See below for full recipe.

An easy, healthy and impressively delicious spring meal comes together just like that with a good, lean cut of healthy beef and a seasonal spring vegetable side.  Think fresh and green and you can’t go wrong!  If it tastes great raw, whip together a light dressing or just toss with good olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper and enjoy.  Sometimes keeping it simple makes for the most satisfying and complete meal.

Side Dish #1 – Sugar Snap Pea Salad

Come springtime, sugar snap peas are so tender and fresh that it’s almost a shame to cook them. I prefer slicing them thinly and eating them raw with a simple dressing, like this creamy, tangy buttermilk one.

  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 Tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely grated
  • Nice pinch of kosher salt
  • 8 oz. sugar snap peas, strings removed, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus more
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
  • Whisk buttermilk, yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, and a large pinch of salt in a medium bowl.
  • Toss sliced sugar snap peas, 2 Tbsp. oil, and 1 tsp. lemon zest in another medium bowl; season with salt and pepper.
  • Pour dressing into a shallow bowl and pile sugar snap peas in the center. Drizzle with more oil, season with more pepper, and top with more lemon zest

Side Dish #2 – Roasted Asparagus with Lemon & Walnuts

  • 2 pounds fresh asparagus, trimmed
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • Preheat oven to 425°. In a large bowl, combine asparagus, shallots, and garlic; drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Transfer to a baking pan coated with cooking spray.
  • Roast asparagus 15-20 minutes depending on size or until tender and lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven; stir in lemon zest. Sprinkle with walnuts and serve


Sam MarvinAbout Chef Sam Marvin

Fusing his classical French training with a bold and visionary approach, Chef Sam Marvin has reshaped the culinary landscapes of Southern California, the Bay Area, and Las Vegas for the past four decades. Beyond creating successful restaurant brands such as Bottega Louie, Modata, and Echo & Rig, Chef Sam has also been an active contributor to cultural events and organizations including Three Square Advisory Board, James Beard Foundation, Life Is Beautiful Culinary and more.