By Mary Saucier Choate M.S., R.D., L.D.
Co-op Food and Nutrition Educator
Is your summer vegetable garden overflowing yet? Peas, beans, cukes, tomatoes, broccoli, squash, corn—what to do with this overload of summer’s bounty?
Here are four great websites with recipes that will help you turn that summer produce into great summer meals in a snap.
Fruits and Veggies More Matters (“fruitsandveggies morematters.org”
:http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org) is an easy source of delicious and healthful recipe ideas.
You can search over 1,000 recipes using your particularly abundant vegetable, look for quick recipes done in 30 minutes or less, and find tips on summer entertaining with fruits and veggies. Searching a particular vegetable or fruit will also bring harvesting and storage tips and detailed nutrition information.
I tested it with a search for broccoli. It returned recipes ranging from Broccoli Mandarin Orange Salad to the kid-friendly Crazy Curly Broccoli Bake. Only recipes that meet strict nutrition guidelines include nutrition information, but all provide a healthy dose of fruits or vegetables.
Vegetarian Times (vegetariantimes.com/recipes) web recipe search gives you access to “the world’s largest collection of vegetarian recipes.”
You can search by dietary needs such as dairy- or gluten-free; by cuisines including Asian, Cajun, Caribbean, and lots more; or by course, season, holiday, or event. You can even search by the appliance you’ll be using such as pressure cooker, food processor, or microwave. All recipes include nutrition information per serving.
A search for pattypan squash brought me six recipes from Penne with Summer Squash to Summer Cymlings—simply prepared by a quick blanching, then sautéing with onion and herbs. I also learned that cymling is the colonial American name for pattypan squash!
Cooking Light (cookinglight.com/food/recipe-finder) will provide a slightly more gourmet menu.
This site provided fewer, but more upscale, recipes. When I searched for sugar snap peas, I received Risotto with Sugar Snap Peas and Spring Leeks, Ham Risotto with Sugar Snap Peas, and Asian Snap Pea Salad with Sesame-Orange Dressing. This site includes nutrition information and a printable shopping list for the recipe ingredients.
Eating Well Magazine (eatingwell.com/search/advanced_recipe_search) provides a mixture of homey comfort foods and gourmet recipes.
Searching on summer squash returned 87 recipes ranging from Creamy Gorgonzola Polenta with Summer Squash Sauté to a crowd-pleasing Tex-Mex Summer Squash Casserole. This site includes nutrition information and diabetic exchanges.
Just about everything in the garden does well with this treatment: wash, trim and cut into chucks or slices, then either steam or boil until it reaches the tenderness you prefer. Drain, toss with olive oil, lemon juice or balsamic vinegar, sesame seeds, freshly ground pepper, and a very light pinch or two of sea salt.
You might also try roasting your vegetables. Toss the washed and chopped vegetables with olive oil and salt and pepper. Then spread the vegetable chunks out on a pan with edges, such as a jelly roll pan. Roast at 400 degrees Fahrenheit 30-45 minutes, depending on the vegetable. Test with a fork at 30 minutes.
For tomatoes, cut and toss with olive oil and herbs. Serve on toasted slices of Italian bread, or toss with hot pasta. Enjoy!
August is a great time for sowing winter radishes! They provide a bit of potassium, folate, and fiber, and are a good source of vitamin C. Radishes are classified as “spring,” “summer,” or “winter” based on the number of daylight hours required to produce a bulbous root. Winter radish varieties take longer to mature than radishes planted in the spring, so planting in mid-August is recommended. Winter varieties include Daikon, Beauty Heart, & Black Spanish. For best results, compost! Radishes just love to grow in rich, organic soil. (See more about Compost here)