CSA Sample Meal Plan (Early Summer)

Buying a share of a CSA, or community-shared agriculture, is one way people may choose to boost their local economy and eat more seasonal and local fruits and vegetables. A CSA provides a package of locally grown produce once a week or every other week during the growing season. The produce is fresh and nourishing, but can also be unfamiliar. I encourage you to see the new vegetables as a fun challenge rather than a daunting prospect, but I also understand that having examples of how to use new vegetables may be beneficial. I will explain to you how I used everything that came in my most recent CSA share, to hopefully inspire some ideas of how to use produce you may find in a CSA box in the early summer.

This week my CSA share included: several fresh onions with tops attached, 1 large bag of basil leaves, 1 large zucchini, 1 bunch collard greens, 1 green cabbage, 1 bag of apricots, 1 bag of sweet cherries, 1 bag fresh fava beans, 1/2 pound of various mushrooms, several ripe tomatoes, and some purple potatoes. Do you know how you would use all of this produce? Well, this is how I decided to use it.

Photo by Paula: https://www.pexels.com/photo/mushroom-on-brown-wooden-plate-129465/

I started with the onion tops and basil. I knew the basil would go bad quickly, so I wanted to make sure to process it within 3 days. I also knew that onion tops were edible, but had never cooked with them before. I found this onion top pesto recipe, and decided to make a double batch including my basil alongside the onion tops. The pesto turned out well, and my kids actually said they liked it better than regular basil pesto. I kept 1 cup of pesto in the fridge for the week, and froze three 1 cup jars of pesto for future use.

I then made a tortellini soup with store-bought tortellini. I used this recipe, but instead of buying fennel to use in the soup I opted to dice up some celery and the stems of the CSA collard greens. I also used the leaves of the collard greens rather than the kale it called for. I used half of my CSA onion bulbs in the soup, sprinkled in dried herbs since I didn’t have fresh, and topped the soup with the onion top pesto I made earlier in the week. Yum!

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/agriculture-blur-close-up-focus-533342/

I sliced the tomatoes and put them on toast with some of the onion top pesto and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Double yum!

The fava beans were pretty new for me, so I researched fava bean recipes and decided to make this recipe with the whole fava beans, some fresh dill I had in the fridge, and the rest of the CSA onions.

The apricots and cherries were easy. We just ate them fresh for snacks throughout the week.

That took care of the apricots, cherries, onions, onion tops, collard greens and their stems, basil, and fava beans. I still needed to figure out what to do with the green cabbage, giant zucchini, mushrooms, and purple potatoes. Truth be told, green cabbage and zucchini are some of my least favorite vegetables. But I’m open to trying new foods, and I knew that the food would be used even if it had to be made into sauerkraut and zucchini bread.

Photo by freestocks.org: https://www.pexels.com/photo/green-cabbage-134877/

I decided to use the purple potatoes and green cabbage in a sheet pan dinner. Since I would have to turn on the oven, I waited for a day that we would have thunderstorms so the house wouldn’t get unbearably hot. The oven was already warmed up, so I baked a loaf of sourdough bread to pair with the meal I had planned for the following day. Lastly, I decided to make a mushroom and zucchini pasta and paired it with the homemade bread.

Ultimately, when planning meals using seasonal vegetables you need to center the meals around what you have available. This is in direct contrast to typical meal planning which focuses on meal preference rather than seasonality. I hope this walk through meal planning with seasonal vegetables was helpful for you. Enjoy those veggies!

2 thoughts on “CSA Sample Meal Plan (Early Summer)”

  1. Did you have any food waste at all? From the description it sounds like you ate everything!

    1. Nobody’s perfect, but we did a particularly good job of using up our food this week 🙂

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