Hello! Ada here with your bi-weekly Recipe Roundup. We recently got a request to share more recipes that featured all (or most) of our current vegetables. This is a great request! By nature, recipes that are studded with a lot of vegetables lend themselves well to batch cooking. It’s feel-good food worthy of multiple meals. Because the goal is to use most of your VRDNT veggies, you’re also just chopping up a lot of volume - meaning enough servings for lunch the next day, and then some. If you’ve been with VRDNT since the very beginning, you may remember the cooking class Becky and I used to teach, called Club Home Made. The recipe ideas below were taken straight from our class roster. The entire mission of Club Home Made was to try and help people eat seasonal vegetables easily, with adaptable non-recipe recipes that were flexible and filling. The recipes below can be thought of as suggestions for assembly. Think of cooking these recipes like trying to rebuild the leggo set for the second time. Instructions, be dammed… go a little rogue and add an additional tower.
[Sidenote: These meal-prep gatherings seem like a lifetime ago. Since we started Club Home Made, Becky is several years into running a successful farm in Bastrop, and I moved west of Fredericksburg where I still work in agriculture and marketing. Door to door, Becky and I are about three hours apart. But the ethos of effortless, seasonal cooking and the joy of fresh,local vegetables has bonded us for life! Ha!]
Our first ever Club Home Made class in April or May of 2019 (!?)
As we preached in our classes, use these recipes as mere guides and adapt them to whatever needs using in your fridge. Loosen up, and substitute when needed. Can dense potatoes be swapped with dense daikon radishes instead? Can an eggplant-centric stir fry recipe be just as delicious if made with zucchini instead? Out of radishes, but rich in carrots? Substitute grated carrots for grated radishes on top of your grain bowl or stir fry.
To me, the best part of being a member of a CSA is experimenting in the kitchen. Because your vegetables are supremely fresh (and grown with care), they’re going to taste good. You’ve done the hard work of getting super high-quality produce into your kitchen. Don’t over-complicate the eating part! Anything goes! Chances are, you’ll make something edible!
I’m using lasagna here as a loose term. What I really mean is layered bits of vegetables, maybe meat, and cheese. Perhaps you use actual lasagna noodles, or maybe you use ribbons of zucchini and eggplant instead. Are you allergic to gluten? Why not use slices of potatoes in place of noodles. Used canned tomatoes (a must-have pantry staple) and add whatever vegetables need using to the sauce - grated carrots, squash, herbs, onions, and peppers. Do you have a haul of green chilis? Steer this “lasagna” in a southwestern direction, and perhaps don’t make a lasagna at all and instead make an enchilada casserole, instead. Reading this in the winter? Here’s where you add huge handfuls of chopped greens. If simmered long enough, virtually any vegetable can melt into a rich tomato sauce adding complexity and nutrition, alike. Making a meaty tomato sauce of some sort? Adding diced eggplant will stretch the sauce, adding a silky, meat-like texture. Cheesy Potato Lasagna Cheesy Eggplant and Mushroom Lasagna (Vegetarian) Zucchini Lasagna (Not Watery) Easy Zucchini Lasagna
Veg-Heavy Shepards Pie Pastelón (Puerto Rican Lasagna) *I am throwing these last few in here as a reminder that you can layer pretty much anything vegetable with a bit of cheese, bake it, and it will be delicious.
Pasta Salad, All Week
Last June I was making copious amounts of pasta salad, and the pattern has recently resurfaced. Last June I was on a soba kick, but this summer it’s all about the tricolored, spiralized rotini. I’m always box of pasta, block of feta, and can of sliced olives to my grocery list just so that I’m prepared if the pasta-salad urge hits. Stocking up on green onions when not in season at VRDNT is well worth the 33 cents, and will wake up any otherwise average pasta salad and the crunchy pizazz will make you feel like a true meal-prepper. Here is a link to all the pasta salad recipes you should need to get you started.
If you have tortillas and VRDNT veggies, you have a meal. Last night, we roasted some broccoli in a really hot oven with a bit of sumac and salt, and served it on a tortilla with a 5-minute yogurt + avocado crema and fresh pico. Best meal of the week! Leftover roasted veggies make excellent tacos. Bonus points if you have a perfectly ripe avocado on hand. 5 Minute Avocado and Cilantro Dressing
There’s a reason canned coconut milk is always in my pantry. Thai food is loved by so many, and for good reason. Thai cuisine is renowned for its harmonious blend of sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami flavors. The balance of these tastes in a single dish creates a complex and satisfying experience for the palate.Do yourself a favor, and start making big batches of curry with your VRDNT veggies. Good for summer and winter shares, alike. For more on my favorite curry pastes, read here.
Soup/Stews/Veggies Suspended in Broth
In college, my roommate Cassie once threw a Stone Soup party. If you’re unfamiliar with the story, Stone Soup is a European folk tale in which hungry strangers convince the people of a town to each share a small amount of their food in order to make a meal that everyone enjoys. The story is a reminder of the value of sharing, and also a testament to the fact that basically anything can be thrown in a soup pot. The story also reminds me of the Cajun Mardi Gras (Courir de Mardi Gras) tradition of going house to house and begging for ingredients to make a gumbo, except the latter involves jesters, costumes, and usually a lot of alcohol. But I digress.
Either way, soup is the absolute ultimate one-pot dish that will happily absorb any and every vegetable. Perhaps it's blasphemous, but it doesn’t have to be cold outside to enjoy the nourishing and easy qualities of a bowl of soup, and beginning around this time of year, a soup of sorts is on the menu at my house at least every other week. Minestrone Soup
Ribolata Instapot Vegetable Soup Carrot Ginger Soup Okra Soup with Spinach Veg-Heavy Chicken Noodle Soup Hearty Vegetable Stew Lebanese Chickpea Stew Ultimate Hearty Vegetable Stew Vegan Hot and Sour Soup with Tofu Restorative Ginger and Turmeric Noodle Soup Mapo Tofu- and "Wok-Style"-Inspired Ramen Vegetarian Miso Ramen
A broad term, to be sure, but cooking some type of stir fry - either with rice or noodles - is an excellent way to use any and every vegetable. Often, I make white rice one night with vegetables on top, and then use the leftover rice the following night for a “stir fry”. Stocking up on the right condiments will help you have interesting **
Grain bowls are basically just like a pasta salad, except sub the pasta with…well…a grain. Quinoa, farro, bulger, cous cous, farina, freekeh, rice and even lentils are great options. No grain in sight? A can of white beans or chickpeas also serves as a wonderful base for a bowl of vegetables. My favorite bowls contain something creamy (either in the form of a dressing or a cheese like feta), something crunchy (nuts, seeds, fried onions, crackers), and something “meaty” (roasted carrots, cubed sweet potato or squash, olives, canned fish, or leftover chicken). Oh, and lots and lots of fresh herbs.