Favorite Recipes, part II: Garden Veggies

With garden season still in full swing, I thought this round of recipes should focus on dishes that use lots of yummy, fresh garden produce. Whether you grow your own or buy the veggies at the supermarket, you’ll love these tasty recipes:

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

This recipe features ripe tomatoes, crisp fresh green beans, and flavorful basil, all of which are easy to grow in your back yard. You could even throw in a chopped zucchini or yellow squash for variety.

  • 1 lb. Whole Wheat Pasta
  • 1 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 2 lbs. fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice
  • 2 cans tuna, drained and flaked
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to directions, rinse and chill. Cook green beans until crisp-tender. Drain and cool by rinsing under cold water. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve. (This makes a large batch, but the recipe is easy to halve)

Garden Veggie Fritatta

This recipe makes a delicious breakfast or lunch.

  • a cast-iron(oven proof) skillet full of veggies (onions, peppers, broccoli, yellow squash, green beans etc… any veggies that can be stir-fried will work)
  • spinach or other greens (swiss chard, kale, etc…)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese of your choice (I like cheddar)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • a little bit of milk (1/4 cup or so) or sour cream if you’re feeling naughty:-)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • seasonings to taste (I like chopped fresh basil or oregano from the garden- yum!)

Stir fry the veggies (except the spinach) until crisp-tender over medium heat in a little olive oil. Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs, cheeses, milk, salt and pepper and any seasonings you like. Towards the end of the cooking time for the veggies, toss in a couple handfuls of spinach and let it wilt. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet and stir to evenly distribute the veggies. Cook for a few minutes until the bottom of the eggs starts to set, stir gently, and then place in under the broiler in your oven for a couple more minutes, checking frequently, until the egg is cooked through and the top is golden brown. It cooks very quickly under the broiler- don’t let it burn! Cool for a few minutes before cutting so that it will hold together better.

Pico de Gallo

This is perfect when you have a bunch of ripe tomatoes to use up all at once- which happens frequently when you have a garden! It is great with tortilla chips for a snack, or with tacos, or on top of chicken or fish… use your imagination! Sorry I don’t really have any specific measurements- I usually just go by taste. You really can’t go wrong!

  • several ripe tomatoes (I think I used about 5-6 medium sized ones last time I made it), chopped
  • one onion, finely chopped
  • a couple cloves of garlic, chopped
  • juice of a lime or 1 Tbs bottled lime juice
  • a big handful of cilantro, chopped (leaves and stems)
  • 1-2 jalapenos (optional) chopped- watch out if you grow your own, they always seem to have a lot more fire than peppers you get at the store!
  • salt and pepper to taste

Stir everything together in a large bowl and refridgerate until ready to use. It gets better as it sits and all the flavors combine!

Easiest Dill Pickles Ever- no canning required!

These refrigerator pickles are easy enough for even a novice… and it’s easy to get the flavor just how you like. If you like your pickles really dilly, or garlicky, just add a little more to the mix!

  • enough cucumbers to pack 4 clean quart canning jars fairly tightly (either the whole small kirbys, or larger pickles cut up)
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 2 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried dill or a bunch of fresh dill for each jar 
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced (or more, if you like them really garlicky like me!)
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seed
  • 1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes

Evenly divide the spices and salt between the four jars. **note that the spice quantities are for the ENTIRE batch, NOT PER JAR- the first time I made these, I put 3 Tbs salt in each jar. YIKES!** Pack the jars fairly tightly with cucumber slices. Mix the vinegar and water together and pour over the cucumbers to fill the jars. Put the lids on the jars, give them a good shake, and store them in the fridge. It will take a few days for the pickles to soak up all the flavor, so just just give them another shake each day for a week or so until they are ready. Now how easy was that???

Homemade Baby Food

It is SOOOO easy to make your own baby food, and so healthy for baby to have nutritious, organic foods from your own garden or farmers market. Give it a try!

  • veggies of your choice (good candidates include: sweet potatoes, squash, green beans, peas, carrots, etc…- I’ve even tried a few fruits)
  • filtered water
  • ice cube trays
  • ziploc freezer bags
  • immersion blender

Steam the veggies until thoroughly cooked, reserving the cooking water. Use the immersion blender (or a regular blender) to blend the veggies until smooth, adding some of the cooking water if needed to adjust the consistency. If you don’t have an immersion blender, by the way, I HIGHLY suggest getting one if you have a baby around. You can get one for about $10 bucks, and it is so much easier to just blend up a little bit of whatever you’re having for supper for the baby rather than getting out a big, cumbersome blender with all the parts that have to be cleaned… sorry about my little commercial, but I seriously use mine just about every day:-) Now back to the baby food: Once you have the consistency just how you want it, spoon the pureed veggies into an ice cube tray. Freeze for several hours, pop out the cubes, put them in a labeled freezer bag and store in the freezer. When you are ready, just take out a couple of cubes (works great to mix and match flavors) and put them in a dish in the fridge the night before to thaw or microwave. Munchkin’s favorite combo? Sweet potatoes and mango (I didn’t cook the mango, btw, just pureed it). It’s actually REALLY good! I might have to try to come up with a more “grown up” way of combining the two…

Hope you enjoy my favorite garden veggie recipes! I would love to hear some of yours as well 🙂

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