Many of us on the Cool Mom Eats team have made the leap to CSA memberships this year, since COVID-19 has limited our access to farmer’s markets in town. And sometimes ,we get some ingredients that we aren’t used to cooking with — which can be fun! But also, a little work. So, I wanted to share some delicious recipes to make with the veggies in your July CSA box that might not be in your ordinary weekly grocery haul.
Of course, each CSA is a little different, depending on the region and the farm, but typically you’ll see veggies in July like beets, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, eggplant, and summer squashs. Lucky you if you also get produce like garlic ramps, rhubarb, or bok choy!
To start, you can always make a big bowl of baba ganoush to set out with chips or raw veggies for a healthy snack, a light lunch with a salad, or a fun side dish. They’re also great just simply roasted with other veggies, or as.a side on their own.
If you’re thinking dinner, I’d bookmark this recipe for Greek Chicken Souvlaki with marinated veggies (ie, marinated eggplant) from Halfbaked Harvest. It’s completely delicious and so kid-friendly that I can’t wait to try it. When it comes to my picky eaters, I’ll serve them the ingredients separately on the plate with NOTHING TOUCHING OMG. But for me, this bowl looks like perfection.
My favorite easy dinner consists of roasting up some Brussels sprout with kielbasa, red and yellow peppers, and any other favorite veggies (sweet potatoes, eggplant) on a sheet pan.
Of course, you can also sauté Brussels sprouts with plenty of bacon or pancetta and onions, and if you’d like, add in some pecans or raisins for a delicious side dish. Liz likes hers roasted simply with oil and balsamic vinegar to the point of caramelization.
But let’s also talk about these parmesan crusted Brussels sprouts at Damn Delicious. Chungah swears they are the only way to eat Brussels sprouts, and who am I to argue with this deliciousness?
Forget heavy stews, it’s summer! One of my favorite ways to use up red cabbage is to slice it really thin, toss it in some lime juice and garlic, then use it to top fish tacos or taco bowls in the summer. So perfect. Or, you can try your hand at this from-scratch red cabbage slaw at What’s Gaby Cooking? to top your BBQ sandwiches all summer long. Or, just add some raw, sliced cabbage to a big bowl of Asian pasta salad. The crunch perfectly compliments Thai, Japanese, Korean flavors…you name it.
I’m a huge beet fan, so I’m happy to just drizzle some roasted beets with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and serve with pistachios and goat cheese as a side dish. You can also add some roasted beets to any green salad. But if you’re looking or something a little different, then try a batch of these rosemary beet chips at Minimalist Baker — they might be a snack your kids are willing to try, even if beets aren’t normally their thing. Also impressive for a socially distant backyard barbecue, or whenever entertaining is okay again (sniff).
Summer squash & Zucchini
Of course, there’s zucchini bread, a favorite in our home. In the South, we have a soft spot for a good squash casserole too, and this healthy take at Little Pine is a good option to have. But if you’re looking for a main dish for dinner that can use up your squash or zucchini, then try this Baked Veggie Rigatoni at Butter Be Ready or a creamy lemon butter cheesy zucchini orzo at Halfbaked Harvest. It’s so good! But then, everything on her site is.
Garlic ramps are related to leeks and shallots, but have a more garlicky flavor to them. Add them to your pesto — this lemony ramp pesto from Vanilla Bean Cuisine is terrific. Or try a batch of ramp and leek fritters with the recipe from White Plate Blank Slate; I think they’d be delicious with a bowl of soup or a salad. You can even make your own homemade garlic pasta, following the tutorial at Chews Local.
One of the easiest ways to use any bok choy you get in your July CSA box is to roast it as a side dish. Slice it in half lengthwise, then drizzle it with olive oil and some garlic — maybe some soy sauce if you’re going with Asian flavors — then roast it on a sheet pan.
It’s also delicious if you add it into a bowl of ramen (homemade or amping up the packets for the kids), or serve in a brown rice bowl with spring veggies. You can honestly serve bok choy with anything from salmon to short ribs, it’s just so versatile, so have fun with it.
We all know about rhubarb pie, even if we haven’t all attempted to bake one just yet. But there are so many other ways to use your rhubarb too, if it comes in your July CSA box. If you’re still thinking dessert, you can make this vegan strawberry and rhubarb ice cream recipe from Green Eggs and Yams. This cinnamon and sugar rhubarb bread at That Skinny Chick Can Bake is a fantastic breakfast option, and Italian Kitchen Confessions has a super rhubarb jam recipe that would be great on toast, in yogurt, or with plain oatmeal.
And of course, don’t forget cocktails: this summery Berry Rhubarb Gin Fizz at Pinch Purrfect is calling my name right about now.