Grow your own meals in your garden

Hopefully your garden is underway and full of a variety of healthy, yummy, fresh fruits, veggies and legumes. Have you ever made an entire meal from foods you’ve grown? I don’t just mean a salad, folks—although there should be one at every meal! Check out some hyperlocal ideas for the perfect yard-to-table meal. With the exception of oil, salt and a few other minor ingredients, you can make these meals entirely from your garden bounty.

What to Grow

You don’t need much room to grow a variety of healthy foods. Try adding some of these important and often forgotten garden greats.

Corn: Most of the non-organic corn grown in the U.S. is genetically modified. Corn can also be subject to mold and fungus. Growing your own is easy and tasty, and will make a lovely addition to any meal.

Herbs: Dill, parsley, cilantro, shallots, chives, garlic and basil all have many uses in enhancing your garden meals.

Legumes: When planting a garden full of those delectable spring veggies and fruits, you might also want to plant legumes, which grow rather well in most climates. The easiest may be green peas or fava/broad beans. They’re an excellent addition to a vegetarian’s garden as they’re tasty high protein foods.

Ultimate Garden Meal Ideas

Snacking on fruits, carrots and homegrown cherry tomatoes is great. A hardy lunch salad is yummy too. But, here are some ideas for main dishes directly from the garden.

  • Stuff peppers, eggplants, tomatoes or zucchini with a mix of garden peas, corn, parsley, garlic and basil. If you’re really ambitious, pair them with a homemade sauce made from your fresh heirloom tomatoes, or a spicy version made with yard fresh jalapeno or poblano peppers. Serve up with a side salad and a roasted or grilled piece of corn or artichoke.
  • Fava beans cooked and served cold with lots of fresh dill and olive oil. Serve with a side of stewed tomatoes, grilled zucchini or asparagus and a radish and bibb lettuce salad.
  • Can’t decide which veggies to eat? Make a hearty veggie stew with them all: Peas, carrots, corn, potatoes, turnips, broccoli in a broth from your herb sprigs and veggies. Spice it up with hot garden peppers, shallots and garlic. Serve with a warm beet and basil salad atop fresh leaf lettuce.
  • Once your potatoes appear, make spicy potato-pea-spinach pancakes. Serve with a side of tomato, cucumber and corn salad. Yumm.

Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

Photo: daryl_mitchell