A well-planned garden will provide a succession of different types of vegetables from before the last spring frost until well after the first fall frost. Seasonal eating can help you to reconnect with natural rhythms as well as enjoying the freshest possible food. Here are ten of our favorite recipes to enjoy across the growing season.
Lemon Asparagus Pasta
Asparagus is the first thing Northern growers can harvest from their gardens. You can can or freeze it, but its flavor and texture are much better when it’s fresh. While the asparagus season lasts you might as well eat it every day.
This quick and easy recipe requires only pasta, lemon, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, herbs–and, of course, asparagus. Preparation and cooking take 30 minutes.
French Style Peas
Peas and lettuce become plentifully available later in the spring. Petits pois a la Francaise is a simple but elegant recipe that combines these ingredients with pearl onions (you can substitute overwintering scallions, likely to be ready at the same time), butter, vegetable stock, mint and crème fraiche (which can be made by combining whipping cream with buttermilk). Preparation and cooking take only 20 minutes. Use small and tender peas.
Summer Squash Recipe
Summer Squash Frittata
Summer squash–crooknecks, patty-pans and zucchini–start to ripen in early summer and tend to produce abundantly. This simple and hearty frittata combines squash with eggs, butter, sour cream, basil and spices.
Green Bean Recipe
Japanese Style Green Beans
Green beans are ready to harvest at about the same time as summer squash. This quick and easy stir-fry recipe combines green beans with sesame seeds, soy sauce and oil to make a crunchy and flavorful side dish.
Tomato, Eggplant and Pepper Recipes
Late summer presents gardeners with an embarrassment of riches as tomatoes, eggplant and peppers begin to ripen while the squash keeps on coming in. This easy ratatouille recipe uses all these vegetables and can be prepared quickly on the stovetop so you don’t have to spend much time in a hot kitchen. Other ingredients in this recipe are onions, olive oil, herbs and spices. In my opinion you don’t need to seed the tomatoes (unless you have diverticulitis). Just peel them and chop them into the pot.
Garden Tomato Sauce
Spaghetti sauce is another easy and delicious use for fresh tomatoes. You may already have a favorite family spaghetti sauce recipe. If not, you might start with this very basic tomato-sauce recipe that calls only for tomatoes, onions, garlic, herbs and spices. You can add mushrooms, peppers, celery or whatever else strikes your fancy.
Potato Leek Soup
Leeks mature in late summer or early fall, after the first new potatoes are ready to harvest. This hearty potato-leek soup (which also requires chicken or vegetable broth, heavy cream, butter, garlic, thyme, bay leaves and salt) brings out the flavors of both vegetables.
Around the time of the first fall frost potatoes are dug and stored. That frost sweetens the leaves of kale, bringing it to peak flavor. ‘Pavich vegetables’ are a simple one-pot recipe combining kale and potatoes with garlic, red pepper and olive oil. Preparation and cooking take 20-30 minutes.
Kale can also be made into healthy and crunchy chips. A wide variety of recipes is available online. Here’s one quick and easy one to get you started: all you need (besides kale) is olive oil and salt.
Carrot and Parsnip Recipe
Carrot Parsnip Stir Fry
Carrots and parsnips are sweetest after hard frosts have converted some of their starches into sugars. This simple carrot-parsnip stir-fry makes a sweet late-season treat. The only additional ingredients you need are butter and onions. You can add a little apple cider to the mix to intensify the sweetness of the vegetables.
Want to learn more about seasonal cooking from the garden harvest?
Here are a few great cookbooks for more garden recipes, including a children’s cookbook. The children’s cookbook is an excellent way to involve kids with nutrition and gardening.
Simply in Season by Cathleen Hockman-Wert
More with Less Cookbook- World Community Cookbook by Doris Longacre
Simply in Season Children’s Cookbook (World Community Cookbook) by Kauffman/Beach
Grow Cook Eat: A Food Lover’s Guide to Vegetable Gardening, Including 50 Recipes, Plus Harvesting and Storage Tips by Willi Galloway
Please note that links to Amazon from Gardening Channel are affiliate links.