Veggie of the Week: Pumpkin!

Description: The pumpkin dates back 9,000 years to its native regions of South and Central America.
Nutrition: It provides the most vitamin A of all common produce. Also high in iron, potassium, and phosphorus.
Available: In autumn, and it can be stored for the winter.
Varieties: The two most common types are the sweeter pie pumpkin and the larger jack-o-lantern variety. Japanese pumpkins are also becoming popular in the U.S.
Storage: Keep in a cool dry place. They will last for several weeks at room temperature, and several months at 40 to 50 degrees F. Cooked and pureed pumpkin can also be frozen.
Prep: Wash the outside and remove the seeds (which can also be roasted and eaten).
Cooking ideas: The recipe below will teach you how to roast and puree a pumpkin. Once you have the puree, you can add it to any baked goods (breads, muffins, pancakes, pies, bars, cookies, etc), use it as a base for soup, or turn it into a pasta sauce. It tastes great in smoothies or parfaits. Pumpkin can also be steamed, boiled, or sliced and sauteed. A cleaned out pumpkin can be steamed whole and then used as an edible bowl for soups or other foods.

Recipe: Roasted Pumpkin Puree
Step 1: Wash a pie pumpkin and break off the stem. Use a large knife to cut the pumpkin in half. Scoop out the seeds (which can be saved for roasting).
Step 2: Brush the inside flesh of the pumpkin with a little bit of oil to lock in moisture and carmelize the edges. Sprinkle with a little salt and place the flesh side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Pierce the skin a few times with a fork.
Step 3: Bake it at 350 degrees F for about 45 minutes or more (depending on the size). If the skin is tender when pierced with a fork, it's done.
Step 4: When pumpkin is cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh from the skin and add it to a blender or food processor. Blend until creamy and smooth, only adding small amounts of water if needed. A blender is more likely to need water than a food processor. Once the puree is done, use it right away, or store in a container in the fridge for up to a week.

Veggie of the Week: Broccoli!

Description: A cruciferous vegetable in the cabbage family.
Nutrition: High in vitamins C, A, K, B9, calcium, potassium, iron, antioxidants, fiber, and cancer-fighting bioactive compounds.
Available: From early summer until late fall.
Varieties: Calabrese or sprouting broccoli.
Storage: Best used within a few days. Store in a plastic bag in the fridge's hydrator drawer.
Prep: Soak head upside down in cold, salted water to remove hidden pests. Remove lowest part of the stem if it's tough.
Cooking ideas: Eat raw in salads or with a dip like hummus. Steam florets for 5 to 7 minutes and add your favorite toppings. Put florets in stir-frys, casseroles, quiches, pastas, etc. Roast broccoli on a baking sheet in the oven. Chopped stems hold up well in soups.

Recipe: Broccoli & Mushroom Bowls
Step 1: Prepare the sauce by whisking together the following:
2 TBSP of soy sauce or tamari, 1 TBSP of rice wine vinegar, 1 TBSP of honey or syrup, 0.5 TBSP of sesame oil, 2 TBSP water, 1 clove of minced garlic, 2 tsp minced ginger, 2 tsp red pepper flakes (omit this if you don't like spicy food).
Step 2: Prepare quinoa, rice, or noodles.
Step 3: In a large skillet, heat 1 TBSP of sesame oil. Saute 1 cup of chopped scallions (or onions) for about 5 minutes. Then add 1 lb of chopped mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring often. Add 1 lb of chopped broccoli florets and cook until they are bright green and tender.
Step 4: Scoop veggies and grains into a bowl and drizzle with sauce. Top with fresh cilantro, if you have it!

Veggie of the Week: Butternut Squash!

Description: Butternut is an orange-fleshed winter squash with a sweet, nutty flavor. It shines in both sweet and savory dishes.
Nutrition: High in vitamins A, E, C, and B vitamins. Also high in fiber, potassium, magnesium, and manganese.
Available: From late summer to winter storage.
Varieties: Several varieties are available, but all are fairly similar in taste.
Storage: Room temperature is fine for short-term storage. For long-term storage, keep in a dark room around 50 F.
Prep: Wash the outside. You can then peel and cube the squash, or cut it down the middle vertically to roast the two halves. Either way, remove the seeds before baking (seeds can be roasted like pumpkin seeds).
Cooking ideas: Roast halves or cubes (with a bit of oil, salt, and pepper), or cut into wedges for homemade fries. Add cubes to salads, pastas, or stews. Mash squash with cinnamon and milk for a creamy side dish. Use in quiches, curries, or pies. Add pureed squash to baked goods. Pureed squash can also be turned into a pasta sauce or soup (see recipe).

Recipe: Roasted Butternut Soup
Step 1: Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (or a glass casserole dish will suffice).
Step 2: Wash a large butternut squash (about 3 lbs). Cut in half vertically and remove the seeds. Drizzle each half with a tiny bit of oil and lightly coat the inside of the squash. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.Turn the squash face down and roast in oven for 45 minutes, or until thoroughly tender.
Step 3: While the squash is cooling, warm 1 TBSP of oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup of chopped onions (or leeks or shallots) and 1 tsp of salt. Stir often for about 4 minutes, or until edges are golden. Add 4 cloves of minced garlic and cook for another minute. Transfer contents to a blender.
Step 4: Use a large spoon to scoop the butternut flesh into the blender (discard skin). Add 1 tsp of honey or maple syrup and 1/8 tsp of nutmeg. Pour in 3 cups of vegetable broth (or water will suffice, but you might need more salt and spices).
Step 5: Fasten lid and blend on high, being careful to release steam. Soup should be creamy, but you can add more broth if you want to thin out the soup. Taste and adjust seasonings. If soup has cooled off, you can warm it back up in the pot. Pour into bowls and top with herbs or spices.

Veggie of the Week: Delicata!

Description: Also known as the sweet potato squash, Delicata squash is favored for its delicate, edible skin. It carmelizes in the oven for a sweet, velvety finish.
Nutrition: High in vitamins A and C, plus carotenoids, folates, potassium, and fiber.
Available: Late summer and into fall.
Varieties: The standard variety is vinous, but bush varieties are also available.
Storage: Delicatas have a shorter shelf life than other winter squash. But if you have a cool dry room (around 55 F), they should last 2 to 3 months if they aren't bruised.
Prep: Scrub clean (because the skin is edible), and use a large knife to either cut in half vertically or in rings horizontally (see recipe). Either way, you'll want to remove seeds before baking.
Cooking ideas: Baking or roasting squash is the most common way to prepare it, but once you have it cooked, there are many ways to eat it! You can scoop out the flesh and blend it into a soup or a sauce for pasta. You can cook it in halves and stuff it with other ingredients. Cut it into rings or cubes to add to salads or other dishes. Use pureed squash in baked goods for moisture and sweetness.

Recipe: Honey Delicata Rings
Step 1: Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and oil lightly with cooking spray.
Step 2: Clean two Delicata squash and break off stems, but do not peel. Using a cutting board and large sharp knife, cut the squash into half-inch rings. Use a spoon to remove any seeds.
Step 3: In a bowl, toss the squash rings with 2 TBSP of oil or melted butter, plus 2 TBSP of honey or maple syrup.
Step 4: Arrange squash in a single layer on the foil-lined pan. Sprinkle with a little bit of salt and cinnamon.
Step 5: Bake for 15 minutes, then flip rings over using a fork or spatula. Bake for another 10 or 15 minutes, or until all squash is tender and carmelized. Enjoy as an appetizer, or add to other dishes (salads, pastas, quinoa, rice, etc).

Veggie of the Week: Kohlrabi!

Description: "Kohl" means cabbage and "rabi" means turnip, and botanists believe kohlrabi is a hybridization of these two vegetables. The kohlrabi is not a root vegetable, but rather a modified swollen stem.
Nutrition: Generous amounts of vitamins A & C, plus potassium and calcium. High in fiber.
Available: Late spring until frost.
Varieties: Green or purple.
Storage: Store greens separately and use as soon as possible. The globe will last for one month refrigerated in a plastic bag.
Prep: After washing, trim off any woody or tough portions of skin. Most people peel off all the skin, but the skin is soft and edible after cooking.
Cooking ideas: Grate raw into salads or coleslaws. Marinate in the fridge for a summer salad. Slice and eat with dip. Kohlrabi can be steamed, stir-fried, or added to soups. Or slice it into wedges, season, and bake in the oven like fries. Large kohlrabi can be stuffed and baked.

Recipe: Kohlrabi Soup
Step 1: Heat 2 TBSP of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add your choice of herbs and spices, plus 1 cup of chopped onion or leek. Cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes.
Step 2: Add 4 cups of vegetable broth, 1 tsp of salt, 1 cup of chopped potato, and 2.5 cups of chopped kohlrabi (stems and woody pieces removed). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes.
Step 3: When all veggies are tender, carefully transfer everything to a blender (you may need to do this in batches). Puree until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Step 4: Keep on low heat until ready to serve. Top bowls with minced parsley and serve with crusty bread.

Veggie of the Week: Eggplant!

Description: Eggplant is from the same family as peppers, tomatoes, and potatoes (Nightshades/Solanaceae).
Nutrition: Low in calories but high in fiber. It has Vitamins A & C. Also high in polyphenols, which may help your cells better process sugar if you have diabetes.
Available: From mid-summer to frost.
Varieties: Many different varieties & shapes, like the purple oblong variety or the green Asian variety. All similar in taste.
Storage: Best when fresh. Store at room temperature or in the fridge for up to one week.
Prep: Eggplant is typically peeled, though the peel is edible. Some eggplant can have a bitter flavor. You can remove this by lightly salting slices of eggplant and letting it sit in a strainer for 15 minutes. Then gently squeeze out the liquid. It will now soak up less oil and need less salt to prepare. Always cook eggplant; don't eat raw.
Cooking ideas: Slice, dip in batter, and fry in a skillet. Grill slices or cube for kabobs. Saute for stir-fries. Steam or bake whole (can also be stuffed). Serve cooked slices on sandwiches or for appetizers with cheese and crackers. Add cubes to soup. Roast and blend for dips or sauces (see recipe).

Recipe: Roasted Eggplant Spread
Step 1: Preheat oven to 400 F. Wash eggplant, peel, and cut into one-inch pieces.
Step 2: Do the same with other veggies: 1 onion, 1 tomato, 2 red or green peppers, 3 garlic cloves. This recipe is flexible, so you can substitute other veggies. Add extra tomatoes to get more of a thinner sauce than a creamy spread.
Step 3: Put all veggies into a large bowl and toss with 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, and 2 or 3 TBSP of olive oil.
Step 4: Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread out veggies evenly on the baking sheet. Roast in oven for 40 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking time.
Step 5: After veggies have cooled enough to handle, add them all to a food processor. Optional: add 1/2 cup of basil leaves. Blend until you get the consistency you want. Then use it as a dip, a spread for toast or crackers, or a sauce for pizza or pasta.

Veggie of the Week: Peppers!

Description: Capsaicin, the substance in hot peppers, is soluble in alcohol and milk but not water. This may explain why hot Indian dishes are often served with yogurt and beer.
Nutrition: High in vitamins A, E, and C, plus iron and potassium. Red bell peppers and hot chile peppers are extra high in vitamins A and C. Hot peppers can help clear nasal passages and lung congestion.
Available: From mid-summer until frost.
Varieties: There are several types of hot peppers and sweet peppers. Most red peppers are simply green peppers that are allowed to mature and ripen on the plant.
Storage: Refrigerate unwashed peppers in hydrator drawer for 1-2 weeks. Peppers can be dried or frozen (cut into bite-size pieces and place in an airtight container or plastic freezer bag).
Prep: Wash and cut out stem. For hot peppers, most of the heat resides in the seeds and inner ribs; remove these to reduce heat, but retain them in cooking for the full heat. Always take precautions when handling hot peppers (wear gloves and don't touch your face).
Cooking ideas: Slice and eat raw as a snack or for dipping. Chop and add to wraps or salads. Add to casseroles, stir-fries, soups, omelets, salsa, and more. Bake stuffed peppers in the oven. Roast peppers under broiler or over open flame.

Recipe: Balsamic Roasted Peppers
Step 1: Heat oven to 450 F. Wash 1.5 lbs of peppers (about five medium peppers). Any color is fine (colored peppers will be sweeter). Mini peppers can be roasted whole. Larger peppers can be sliced.
Step 2: Place peppers in a 9" x 13" pan (sheet pans are not recommended). Season with 3 TBSP of balsamic vinegar, 3 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil, and 1 tsp of salt. Toss to coat all the peppers.
Step 3: Place pan in oven and cook for 15 to 25 minutes. Start checking after 15 minutes, and remove when they look blistered to your liking. They should have some dark spots and look wrinkly and slightly collapsed.
Step 4: Transfer peppers to plates or a platter. If you want, you can save the remaining juices in the pan to add to your food. These peppers taste great with rice or quinoa, beans, and other vegetables (tomatoes, onions, eggplant, etc). Taste and season with additional salt or spices.

Veggie of the Week: Tomatoes!

Description: The second-highest produced veggie in the U.S. (potatoes are #1).
Nutrition: Tomatoes are a good source of Vitamins A, C, E, and K, along with potassium, folate, and lycopene.
Available: From July until frost.
Varieties: Thousands of known varieties! Common types include cherry, roma (or paste), red slicers, and low-acid yellow or orange varieties.
Storage: Keep tomatoes on your table or counter for up to 1 week, or longer if still ripening. Do not refrigerate, because the cold can degrade their texture and dampen the flavor.
Prep: Wash and cut out the stem and white core, and cut out any black spots.
Cooking ideas: Tomatoes can be sauteed, roasted, broiled, grilled, or eaten raw! Add slices to sandwiches or wraps, or add chunks to your salads and pastas. Grill on shish kabobs. Serve as appetizers with basil and cheese. Cook and puree tomatoes for a soup or a sauce.

Recipe: Summer Salsa
Step 1: Gather your choice of ingredients. Options: 1 small onion, 1/2 green pepper, 3 garlic cloves, small bunch of cilantro, 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/4 tsp of pepper, 1 tsp of honey. Put all these ingredients into a food processor and blend. If you like spicy salsa, add a hot pepper, such as a jalapeno.
Step 2: Prep 3 medium to large tomatoes (about 1.75 lbs total). Cut into chunks, add to the processor, and blend just until you've reached the consistency you want (chunky or smooth). Note: If you want salsa that's less runny, remove the "guts" from the tomatoes (the seeds and juice) and only process the outer flesh. You could also add tomato paste to make it thicker.
Step 3: Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve right away, or refrigerate for up to a week. Get creative with your salsas, adding fruit, corn, beans, etc!

Veggie of the Week: Green Beans!

Description: Indigenous to Central America and parts of South America, green beans are now among the most widely used garden veggies in the United States.
Nutrition: High in vitamins A, B1, B2, postassium, and calcium.
Available: Midsummer to frost.
Varieties: Green, yellow wax, and deep purple, with several types of each.
Storage: Refrigerate in a plastic bag for up to a week. Beans can be frozen, canned, or pickled (dilly beans).
Prep: Wash well. Remove any strings or stems before cooking. Beans retain more nutrients when cooked uncut.
Cooking ideas: Steam or simmer beans in boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes (they should be tender but not mushy). Add beans to a crockpot roast or Instant Pot soup. Make a green bean casserole or pickle dilly beans.

Recipe: Herbed Green Beans with Tomatoes
Step 1: Wash 1 lb of green beans and remove stems. Chop a few cloves of garlic and 1/2 cup onions.
Step 2: In a 2-quart saucepan, pour 1/4 cup of water or broth and turn heat on to medium. Stir in minced garlic and a small amount of red pepper flakes until fragrant. Add onions and cook until translucent, 3-5 minutes.
Step 3: Add another 1/4 cup of water or broth, all the green beans, and your choice of herbs (oregano, thyme, etc). Stir, cover, and steam-cook until beans are tender, 10-15 minutes.
Step 4: Chop two medium tomatoes, and remove leaves from one sprig of rosemary. Add it all to the green beans, season with salt, stir, and serve.

Veggie of the Week: Cucumbers!

Description: First cultivated in India more than 3000 years ago, cucumbers are now a popular global food.
Nutrition: Rich in Vitamin E and small amounts of other vitamins & minerals. Cukes are 95% water and very refreshing.
Available: From midsummer until fall.
Varieties: Slicing, pickling, and specialty cucumbers--with several cultivars of each type.
Storage: Store in the bottom drawer of the fridge for about a week. Once cut or peeled, they will deteriorate quickly.
Prep: Wash well and slice off ends. No need to peel unless it's waxed or not organic.
Cooking ideas: Dice into green salads or chilled pasta salads. Snack on slices, or add them to your sandwich or wrap for extra crunch. Mix with sliced tomatoes and a vinaigrette. Blend with yogurt, herbs, and spices for a chilled soup. Make different types of pickles (see recipe).

Recipe: Refrigerator Pickles
Step 1: Wash cucumbers and slice off ends. Pictures show 5 cucumbers (about 2 lbs), but recipe can be adjusted for any amount you have.
Step 2: Cut cucumbers into spears or slices.
Step 3: In a bowl, mix your brine. For 2 lbs of cukes, I made this brine: 4.5 cups of water, 4.5 TBSP of pickling salt or kosher salt, 1/2 cup white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Optional add-ins: dill, garlic cloves, sliced onions, peppercorns, bay leaves, mustard seeds, red pepper flakes, celery seed, turmeric, lemon juice, honey or sugar.
Step 4: Pack cucumbers into clean jars. Ladle brine into jars until all food is covered. Put lids on tightly.
Step 5: Refrigerate at least 24 hours before serving. They tend to be better after 48 hours. They should store for up to a month.

Veggie of the Week: Cabbage!

Description: Cabbage is likely the most globally cultivated of all the plants in the Brassica family and eaten around the world.
Nutrition: Contains vitamins A and C, plus potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Cabbage is 90% water, low in calories, and good for digestion.
Available: Early summer to late fall.
Varieties: Green, purple, and savoy.
Storage: Keep outer leaves on and refrigerate in hydrator drawer. It can last up to 2 months in the fridge.
Prep: Remove outer leaves and wash well. Cut the head into quarters, then diagonally across the wedge.
Cooking ideas: Cut into thin slices for eating raw in salads or slaws, or use thick slices for steaming or boiling. Don't overcook or it produces a strong odor and flavor. Steam or boil wedges for about 5 minutes. You can also stir-fry cabbage or ferment it (in kimchi or sauerkraut).

Recipe: Asian Summer Slaw
Step 1: You need one small cabbage (about 1.5 lbs). This could be green or purple cabbage, or a combo of both. Wash the cabbage and discard any leaves that look damaged.
Step 2: Shred the cabbage with a food processor or salad shooter. You could also use a grater, or simply chop with a knife.
Step 3: Chop into matchsticks other veggies of your choice (radishes, kohlrabi, zucchini, scallions, carrots, etc). Combine cabbage and all veggies in a large bowl.
Step 4: In the food processor, combine sauce ingredients: 1/2 cup peanut butter, 1/4 cup soy sauce/tamari/liquid aminos, 3 TBSP rice vinegar, 2 TBSP honey or maple syrup, 2 TBSP water.
Step 5: If serving right away, pour sauce over veggies and stir. Otherwise, keep sauce separate until serving. You could also add 1/2 cup of nuts, 1 TBSP sesame seeds, and 1 cup cilantro.

Veggie of the Week: Fennel!

Description: Fennel belongs to the Umbel family (so it's related to carrots, celery, parsley, dill, and anise). It's been used for centuries as food, medicine, herb, and insect repellent.
Nutrition: High in vitamin A, plus calcium, potassium, and iron. Fennel is sometimes used as a digestive aid, and fennel seed can be used as a breath freshener.
Available: Midsummer through early fall.
Varieties: Florence fennel (grown for its edible bulb) and common fennel (grown for its seed and leaves).
Storage: Keep in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Wrap leaves in a damp towel and refrigerate.
Prep: Wash fennel bulb and trim off any damaged areas or woody parts. Cut off leaves to use separately.
Cooking ideas: You can substitute fennel for celery in most recipes. It can be roasted, steamed, stir-fried, or added to soups. Cut raw fennel into slices and use for dipping, or add it to an antipasto platter. The leaves are a fresh herb that can be used as a substitute for dill, or added to pesto, and much more.

Recipe: Roasted Fennel with Citrus Vinaigrette
Step 1: Preheat oven to 400 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Wash the fennel bulb, trim off woody parts, and cut the rest into 1-inch pieces. Save leaves for another use.
Step 2: Wash 2 beets and chop into 1-inch pieces. Save beet greens for Step 3. If you don't have beets, chop other veggies you have (carrots, cauliflower, etc). Toss fennel and other veggies into a bowl with 1 TBSP oil and a little salt and pepper. Then transfer to the lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, stir veggies, and bake for 10 minutes more (or until all veggies are fork-tender and slightly brown).
Step 3: While the veggies are in the oven, cook 1 cup of quinoa in a medium saucepan according to package directions. In the last two minutes of cook time, add the chopped up beet greens (or other greens you have) so they are steamed a bit.
Step 4: Make the citrus vinaigrette by whisking together 1/4 cup EV olive oil, 1 tsp dijon mustard, 2 TBSP lemon juice, 2 TBSP lime juice, 2 TBSP orange juice, and a little salt. Taste and adjust seasonings. Combine veggies with quinoa and greens, then drizzle the vinaigrette over it all. Can be eaten warm or chilled.

Veggie of the Week: Beets!

Description: This root veggie is versatile, colorful, and surprisingly sweet and tasty.
Nutrition: High in vitamins A and C, plus the carotenes. Beet greens also have calcium and iron.
Available: From June until first frost. Under optimum conditions, can be stored in the winter for three months or so.
Varieties: Red, pink, golden. All similar in taste.
Storage: Beet greens are best used fresh. To store beet roots, cut off stems about one inch above the root crown. Store in a plastic bag in the bottom drawer of the fridge.
Prep: If beets are fresh, no need to peel them. Just scrub clean.
Cooking ideas: Eat raw by grating beets into salads. Young beet greens can also be eaten raw in salads. Beet greens can be steamed or stir-fried. Beet roots can be chopped and added to soups. The roots can also be steamed, grilled, or baked in the oven. Pickled beets are a popular choice as well.

Recipe: Chilled Beet & Yogurt Soup
Step 1: Take one pound of beets, cut the stems off the roots, and scrub clean. Chop beets into 1/2 inch chunks. Also chop one small yellow onion.
Step 2: Heat 2 TBSP of olive oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add onion and beets and stir occasionally for 5 minutes.
Step 3: Add 2 1/2 cups of water to the skillet and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer until beets are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Once done, remove the skillet from heat and let cool for 10 minutes or so.
Step 4: Add the beet/onion/water mix into a high-speed blender, along with 1/4 cup chopped dill, 3 TBSP lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, and 1 cup of yogurt (plain, whole milk yogurt will taste best). Blend on high until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasonings. If too thick, add a little more water.
Step 5: Chill in the fridge for at least an hour. Serve with a
dollop of yogurt and dill garnish.

Veggie of the Week: Zucchini!

Description: From small zucchini to large, this summer squash is super versatile and can be used in many tasty ways!
Nutrition: High in vitamins A and C, plus potassium and calcium. Easily digested and nourishing. Since it's 94% water, it helps replace lost fluids on hot days.
Available: Summer.
Varieties: Zucchini, yellow squash, and patty pan are all types of summer squash that can be used interchangeably.
Storage: Keep in the bottom drawer of the fridge inside a bag. You can also freeze chopped, grated, or pureed zucchini.
Prep: Wash well and cut off the stem. No need to peel.
Cooking ideas: Zucchini can be eaten raw, broiled, steamed, fried, grilled, or stir-fried. Grate raw zucchini into a salad, or cut into sticks and serve with dip. Grated zucchini can also be used in baked goods. Grill zucchini in slices or as chunks on a shish kabob. Bake zucchini boats with pizza toppings in the oven. Add slices to soups at the end of cooking time so they retain texture. Add slices to stir-fries or tomato sauces. Or make zucchini noodles (see recipe).

Recipe: Stir-Fried Zoodles
Step 1: After washing a medium zucchini, use a spiralizer to make zucchini noodles. You can also cut them into thin strips with a knife, or use a vegetable peeler to slice thick ribbons.
Step 2: In a blender or processor, combine the following to make a sauce: 1 clove minced garlic, 1/4 cup almond or peanut butter, 2 TBSP lime juice, 2 TBSP of soy sauce or tamari, 1 TBSP maple syrup or honey, 1 TBSP rice wine vinegar, 3 TBSP water.
Step 3: Heat 1 or 2 TBSP of oil in a skillet over med-high heat. Add your choice of veggies, such as chopped carrots, onions, mushrooms, and broccoli. Stir-fry for about 10 minutes, or until everything is tender.
Step 4: Add the zucchini noodles and cook for a few more minutes, until they are soft. Pour sauce into the skillet and stir to coat the veggies. Serve right away with fresh cilantro on top. You could add meat, beans, or quinoa to the dish as well.

Veggie of the Week: Collard Greens!

Description: A member of the cabbage family, similar to kale. Collards are a staple side dish in Southern cooking.
Nutrition: Collard greens are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium, a rich source of vitamin K, and a good source of iron, vitamin B-6, fiber, and magnesium. They also contain thiamin, niacin, pantothenic acid, and choline.
Available: Early summer to early winter.
Storage: Wrap greens in a damp towel and keep in the bottom drawer of the fridge.
Prep: Wash leaves well. Cut or tear the leaf from the stem.
Cooking ideas: Use a large leaf as a wrap for fillings (see recipe). Chopped leaves can be steamed, sautéed, or stir-fried, then added to pasta, grains, soups, omelets, lasagna, etc.

Recipe: Collard Green Wraps
Step 1: Take two large collard green leaves and wash them.
Step 2: On a cutting board, use a paring knife to cut both sides of the leaf off the stem. Now you have four leaves to make four wraps.
Step 3: In a food processor or blender, blend together 1 cup of cooked (or from a can) garbanzo beans, 1/2 cup walnuts (or other nuts), and 1 TBSP of soy sauce (or tamari or liquid aminos).
Step 4: Assemble your toppings. Examples: carrots, green onions, cucumbers, avocado, tomatoes, pickles, lettuce, shredded cabbage, herbs, etc.
Step 5: Spread your choice of sauce onto each leaf. I stirred a little BBQ sauce into yogurt. Split the bean-nut mixture between the four wraps. Add the toppings, and then roll the leaf closed like a burrito. Makes a great lunch on the go!

Veggie of the Week: Kale!

Description: The oldest member of the cabbage family. Distinct flavor somewhat similar to broccoli.
Nutrition: Nutritionally superior to most vegetables. Very high in vitamins A, B6, C, K, and the minerals manganese, calcium, copper, and potassium. Kale has the highest protein content of all cultivated vegetables.
Available: From late spring and into winter.
Varieties: Red Russian, Curly Leaf, Lacinato, etc.
Storage: Wrap kale in a bag or damp towel and keep in the bottom drawer of the fridge. Try putting stems in water for longer storage in the fridge.
Prep: Wash well and tear leaves off the stems.
Cooking ideas: Add leaves to smoothies, soups, or stir-frys. Great in salads, especially if you massage the kale first (see recipe below). Make kale chips (with a little bit of oil and salt) in the oven or dehydrator. A kale sauce can be added to pasta. Stems can be cooked or added to soups or broths.

Recipe: Super Summer Kale Salad
Step 1: Grab your entire bundle of kale (usually 6 to 8 large stems) and tear the leaves off the stems. Wash it in a salad spinner or strainer and transfer to a large bowl.
Step 2: Make the dressing: 3 TBSP extra virgin olive oil, 2 TBSP vinegar, 1 TBSP lemon juice, 1 TBSP honey, 1/4 tsp of salt, 1/8 tsp of black pepper. Whisk together until blended.
Step 3: Pour the dressing over the kale and use your fingers to thoroughly massage the dressing into all the kale. This will enhance flavor and make the kale less tough.
Step 4: Portion the kale into serving bowls. Add whatever toppings you have: shredded carrots, chopped salad turnips, nuts, seeds, berries (fresh or dried), onions, etc. Drizzle any remaining dressing over the top of the salads. Serve right away or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Veggie of the Week: Swiss Chard!

Description: Mild but flavorful leafy green that is nutritious and versatile. Can be used in place of cooked spinach.
Nutrition: High in vitamins A, E, and C, plus iron and calcium. Minerals are more readily absorbed from chard than from spinach. Chard contains no oxalic acid, an element in spinach that tends to bind minerals and render them unavailable during digestion.
Available: From late spring until a heavy freeze.
Varieties: Red, white, or rainbow. All similar in taste.
Storage: Wrap chard in a damp towel and keep in the bottom drawer of the fridge.
Prep: Wash well and chop. Cook stems and leaves separately.
Cooking ideas: Young tender leaves can be eaten raw in salads. Larger leaves that have been steamed or blanched for 3 minutes will become flexible wraps or rolls that can be filled with grains, sauces, cheese, etc. Chopped leaves and stems can be sautéed or stir-fried (see recipe). Leaves could be added to omelets, lasagna, etc. Stems could be added to broth or soups.

Recipe: Swiss Chard Stir Fry
Step 1: Grab your entire bundle of Swiss chard and wash it in a salad spinner or strainer.
Step 2: Chop the stems first, keeping those separate. Then roll up the leaves and chop them into ribbons.
Step 3: Heat 1 or 2 TBSP of oil in a skillet over med-high heat. Add the stems, along with any other veggies or protein you want to add (picture shows green onions and frozen edamame). Some fresh or dried herbs (like the AcroAma Blends) would be good here too. Stir-fry for about 10 minutes, or until everything is cooked and tender.
Step 4: Add all the green ribbons you chopped earlier, along with 1 or 2 TBSP of soy sauce or liquid aminos. The greens will cook down fast, so keep stirring to evenly cook them all.
Step 5: Once the greens are done, serve the stir fry right away. You could add it to rice, grains, pasta, etc. It’s pictured here inside a pita with goat cheese and yogurt (hummus would also taste great!).

Veggie of the Week: Swiss Chard!

Description: Mild but flavorful leafy green that is nutritious and versatile. Can be used in place of cooked spinach.
Nutrition: High in vitamins A, E, and C, plus iron and calcium. Minerals are more readily absorbed from chard than from spinach. Chard contains no oxalic acid, an element in spinach that tends to bind minerals and render them unavailable during digestion.
Available: From late spring until a heavy freeze.
Varieties: Red, white, or rainbow. All similar in taste.
Storage: Wrap chard in a damp towel and keep in the bottom drawer of the fridge.
Prep: Wash well and chop. Cook stems and leaves separately.
Cooking ideas: Young tender leaves can be eaten raw in salads. Larger leaves that have been steamed or blanched for 3 minutes will become flexible wraps or rolls that can be filled with grains, sauces, cheese, etc. Chopped leaves and stems can be sautéed or stir-fried (see recipe). Leaves could be added to omelets, lasagna, etc. Stems could be added to broth or soups.

Recipe: Swiss Chard Stir Fry
Step 1: Grab your entire bundle of Swiss chard and wash it in a salad spinner or strainer.
Step 2: Chop the stems first, keeping those separate. Then roll up the leaves and chop them into ribbons.
Step 3: Heat 1 or 2 TBSP of oil in a skillet over med-high heat. Add the stems, along with any other veggies or protein you want to add (picture shows green onions and frozen edamame). Some fresh or dried herbs (like the AcroAma Blends) would be good here too. Stir-fry for about 10 minutes, or until everything is cooked and tender.
Step 4: Add all the green ribbons you chopped earlier, along with 1 or 2 TBSP of soy sauce or liquid aminos. The greens will cook down fast, so keep stirring to evenly cook them all.
Step 5: Once the greens are done, serve the stir fry right away. You could add it to rice, grains, pasta, etc. It’s pictured here inside a pita with goat cheese and yogurt (hummus would also taste great!).
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