Category Archives: main dishes

Meatless Monday: Basil Pesto Pasta w/ Zucchini & Mint

One of our favorite dinners to start off the week is pasta, because it often yields leftovers to take for lunch the rest of the week. Using fresh pesto for the sauce makes it deliciously simple too! Pine nuts can be expensive, so you can try substituting toasted walnuts or almonds and it will still be tasty.

This recipe from Real Simple can be prepared and on the table in under 30 minutes, plus we can utilize the hearty local summer squash from the Local Box. Enjoy and let us know what you think if you try it!

Basil Pesto Pasta w/ Zucchini & Mint


Serves 4

Basil Pesto Pasta With Zucchini and Mint



  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, place the garlic, pine nuts, basil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. While the machine is running, drizzle in 2/3 cup of the oil through the feed tube, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the Parmesan.
  3. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the zucchini, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the mint.
  4. Divide the pasta among bowls and spoon the pesto and zucchini over the top.

By Sara Quessenberry,  May 2007


Meatless Monday: Mixed Vegetable Curry

This simple veggie curry from Martha Stewart only requires 20 minutes prep time and is easy to double for leftovers for the week. The classic combo of okra and tomatoes gives it a great seasonal flavor. We’re going to try adding summer squash to make it even more hearty, and probably a veggie bouillon cube or 2 to enrich the flavor.


Mixed Vegetable Curry
Serves 4

Martha says:
The vibrant spices in this vegetarian dish give it a great depth of flavor. If you like, serve the curry with a dollop of plain yogurt.


  • 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 2 large tomatoes (1 1/2 pounds total), roughly chopped
  • 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1/2 pound okra, stemmed and halved lengthwise
  • 3 cups cooked white rice, for serving


  1. In a food processor, puree ginger and garlic with 1/4 cup water until mostly smooth.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high. Add mustard seed and cumin seed and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add ginger-garlic paste; reduce heat to medium-low and cook, scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon, until most of the liquid has evaporated, 5 to 7 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook until beginning to break down, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add potatoes and 3 1/2 cups water; season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Increase heat to high and boil until potatoes are tender, about 12 minutes. Fold in cauliflower and okra, partially cover, and cook until tender, 9 to 10 minutes. Serve curry with rice.

Cook’s Note

To build the curry’s flavor, start by cooking the spices in oil to release their aroma. Then add the ginger-garlic paste and cook until dry and thickened.

Meatless Monday: Zucchini Pancakes


Fight the end-of-long weekend blues with a fun last meal- breakfast for dinner! These pancakes are a great way to use some of the beautiful summer squash we still have emerging from Texas fields, and are sure to be a crowd-pleaser too. Whole Foods suggests you top these with a maple syrup drizzle, warmed apple sauce or a bit of yogurt.

Serves 4


1 1/4 cups 365 Everyday Value® Organic Buttermilk Pancake & Waffle Mix
3/4 cup 1% lowfat milk or unsweetened non-dairy beverage
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
3/4 cup grated zucchini
1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest


In a large bowl, whisk together pancake mix, milk, applesauce, wheat germ and 1 tablespoon oil and whisk until combined. Stir in zucchini and walnuts until well combined. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Brush lightly with some of the remaining oil. Working in batches, form each pancake by dropping 1/4 cup batter onto the skillet. Cook until it begins to bubble, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook 2 to 3 minutes longer. Repeat with remaining batter and oil to make 8 or 9 pancakes total.

Meatless Monday: Curried Sprouted Lentils w/ Ginger & Garlic Cilantro Sauce


Makes 4-6 servings

If you’re getting a Local Box this week, you’ve already got Sprouted Lentils coming your way! If not, you can add them to your basket individually too– they are nutrient packed and local from Groovy Greens in Blanco, TX.

Make the flavorful raw cilantro sauce while the lentils are cooking. Since it’s Hatch season, try throwing a Hatch Chile in place of the Anaheim for some extra heat.


Curried Sprouted Lentils with a Ginger and Garlic Cilantro Sauce

About 3 cups of sprouted lentils and 3 cups of sprouted wheat, or another 3 cups of sprouted lentils (this is measured loosely, i.e. I didn’t press the sprouts down at all)
2 tablespoons of coconut oil or olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups of water

In a large saucepan with a lid, heat oil over medium high heat until hot, but not smoking. Add onions and cook while stirring for about 4 minutes, until the onion is starting to soften. Then add the garlic, curry powder and cloves and cook for about 30 seconds longer and add the water.

Then add the lentils (and optional wheat, if using). Bring to a simmer with the lid on, then lower heat. Steam for 15-20 minutes until soft. If just using lentils, you can steam for even a little less.

Meanwhile, make your cilantro sauce.
1 bunch of cilantro, stemmed and washed
Either half of a large Aneheim pepper or one small one, seeded and cut into chunks
A heaping teaspoon of grated fresh ginger
3 small garlic cloves, peeled and cut into small chunks
1 lemon juiced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Place all ingredients in food processor and pulse until everything is well combined and it’s at the consistency you want.

Serve the curried with lentils with a big spoonful of your cilantro sauce on top and enjoy.

Hopping Pig

Summer Peas and Pork Belly

This recipe is a re-creation of a dish I had recently in San Diego. The original used white beans instead of fresh summer peas, but I think the change makes the dish a little brighter and more suited to our hot temperatures. If using white beans, the dish transitions well into fall, as we start to get more of the cold-weather greens in.

I was lucky enough to have some smoked pork belly confit on hand from Kocurek Family Charcuterie, but if you don’t have pork belly or would prefer not to use it, I recommend using a smoked kielbasa. You could just as easily use grilled chicken or perhaps even tofu, but you’ll miss out on that deep flavor.

Hopping Pig

Serves 2

1 cup summer peas
2 shallots, diced finely
2/3 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup white wine
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 cups spinach, kale, or chard, torn into pieces
1 tablespoon butter
4 slices thick-cut pork belly

In a small saucepan, gently boil the peas for about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a large, flat saucepan over medium. Add oil and heat through, then add shallots and cook until aromatic.
Drain peas and add to shallots. Stir in broth, wine, and lemon juice, reduce heat to medium-low, and cover. Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occassionally and making sure the liquid has not completely evaporated. (If it has, add more broth.) Salt and pepper to taste. Add spinach and re-cover pan.
In the meantime, heat a frying pan to medium and add pork belly. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side, until fat starts to firm up and get a crisp edge. Remove from heat.
Once spinach has wilted and the liquid is mostly gone, stir in butter until melted.

To serve, pour peas into two bowls and lay two slices of pork belly on each.

Meatless Monday: Butternut Squash & Sage Risotto

Butternut Squash & Sage Risotto

From BBC Good Food

Serves 4

Hard squash has started making an appearance in the Local Box lately- try this creamy, satisfying veggie recipe where butternut squash is the star.

Butternut squash & sage risotto


2 lbs butternut squash , peeled and cut into bite-size chunks
3 tbsp olive oil
bunch sage , leaves picked, half roughly chopped, half left whole
6 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1/4 cup butter
1 onion , finely chopped
1.5 cups risotto rice (we used arborio)
1 small glass white wine
1/2 cup parmesan , finely grated


Before you make the risotto, heat oven to 400F. Toss the squash in 1 tbsp oil together with the chopped sage. Scatter into a shallow roasting tin and roast for 30 mins until it is brown and soft.
While the squash is roasting, prepare the risotto. Bring the stock to the boil and keep on a low simmer. In a separate pan, melt half the butter over a medium heat. Stir in the onions and sweat gently for 8-10 mins until soft but not coloured, stirring occasionally. Stir the rice into the onions until completely coated in the butter, then stir continuously until the rice is shiny and the edges of the grain start to look transparent.

Pour in the wine and simmer until totally evaporated. Add the stock, a ladleful at a time and stirring the rice over a low heat for 25-30 mins, until the rice is cooked al dente (with a slightly firm, starchy bite in the middle). The risotto should be creamy and slightly soupy. When you draw a wooden spoon through it, there should be a wake that holds for a few moments but not longer.

At the same time, gently fry the whole sage leaves in a little olive oil until crisp, then set aside on kitchen paper. When the squash is cooked, mash half of it to a rough purée and leave half whole. When the risotto is just done, stir though the purée, then add the cheese and butter and leave to rest for a few mins. Serve the risotto scattered with the whole chunks of squash and the crisp sage leaves.

Slow Cooker Field Pea Stew


Slow Cooker Field Pea Stew



The crazy part of August has officially begun. You know, when you fit a year’s worth of doctor’s appointments, a couple hundred bucks of back-to-school shopping, and a full weekend of summer fun into the last 120 hours before school starts. If you’ve somehow managed to miss the hectic rush into autumn, please tell me how you do it. Otherwise, I’m happy to commiserate with you over a comforting bowl of this ham and field pea stew.

This recipe is one of my go-to dishes during busy times since the slow cooker does all the hard work. Field peas, potatoes, onions and garlic simmer all day in a broth flavored with ham hocks. The result is a mild stew with tender hunks of meat, creamy peas and buttery potatoes in a smokey pot likker. Besides tasting great, the recipe is also inexpensive (more money for back to school shopping!) and I can prepare the raw ingredients up to four days before I stick them in the Crock-pot (just cut everything up and stick it in a resealable plastic bag until you’re ready to go.)

I love the way ham hocks taste after all day in the slow cooker. They impart a smokey sweet flavor into all the other ingredients, and there’s no need to season the finished stew. If you don’t have ham hocks on hand, or if your family doesn’t eat pork, substitute 3 vegan bullion cubes, 2 ribs of chopped celery, 1 tablespoon brown sugar and 1 teaspoon liquid smoke for the ham hocks and go ahead with the recipe as written. Taste the stew before serving and add extra salt, pepper or liquid smoke as needed.

Slow Cooker Field Pea Stew (serves 4)

1 lb. smoked ham hocks (2-3 total pieces)
4 red potatoes, chopped
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 cups field peas
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Ingredients may be prepared up to four days ahead of time and stored together in an airtight container or gallon-sized resealable bag. When ready to cook stew, combine all ingredients with three cups of water in a three quart slow cooker. Allow stew to cook for 6-8 hours on low, undisturbed. Remove the ham bones before serving. I like to serve this dish with corn muffins.