Category Archives: side dishes and salads

Customer Recipe: Anna’s Wild Rice Salad

Every once in awhile, we get an email from a customer excited to share a recipe they found or created using Local Box ingredients. We wish this would happen more often! We love reading and sharing the awesome things you guys create with the local goodness we bring you.

If you ever feel inspired to share, please don’t hesitate to shoot an email to marketing AT . We love to hear from you!

Here’s what Anna had to say about her Wild Rice Salad recipe:

I just wanted to share the idea since it isn’t getting cooler any time soon. In these hot summer days who wants to hang around a hot kitchen? Not me. I used a cool morning to cook up a batch of rice and then made this, using herbs and fresh peas from my local box.

This was made as a side dish, but can easily be a main dish for a vegetarian. Amounts can vary based upon how many you need to feed and if you want leftovers. I didn’t measure much of anything exactly, but with many years of cooking experience I call myself a “dump cook” anyway – I dump in whatever looks good and is on hand.

Wild Rice Salad


Wild Rice – cooked until tender, then cooled (I cook with chicken stock)
Brown Rice – cooked until tender, then cooled (I cook with chicken stock)
Creamer peas – cooked until tender, then cooled
Scallions, chopped – both white and green parts
Fresh herbs of your choosing (mint and cilantro worked for me)
Dried fruit – chopped if large like apricots, whole if raisins for dried cranberries
Chopped nuts, toasted or untoasted – I used toasted, sliced almonds

A light vinaigrette dressing with your choice of acid and oil – I used olive oil with lemon and orange juice for the acids.


All the ingredients were mixed together, then dressed and allowed to sit and marinate together for a while before serving. Salt and pepper can be added to taste, just as you can vary the add-ins to what you like and what you have handy. I think of this as a formula rather than a recipe.

Thanks Anna!


Fun School Lunch: Pizza Bento Box

From lots more fun Bento Box ideas here

Pizza Bento Box


Here’s how to make an easy pizza bento box using sandwich bread, cheese and veggie shapes!

Make the pizza’s crust by cutting a piece of bread into a circle using a biscuit cutter or drinking glass rim. You can also use an English muffin.

Tuck in green string beans (or any green veggie your kid likes) and colorful mixed berries for an added color boost and healthy snack.

Top the pizza crust with any tomato sauce you have on hand, cheese and your kid’s favorite toppings. Here, ham is cut into small circles for pepperoni.

Toast the pizza, cut into slices and serve. For a fun veggie side, use small cookie cutters on carrot and cucumber slices. Have older kids help you cut them using their favorite shapes.

Meatless Monday: Chickpea “Crabcakes”

Chickpea crabcakes

From USA Today

This recipe comes highly recommended from a good friend we met at an Engine 2 Diet potluck. Down South we typically refer to chickpeas as garbanzo beans, and in this recipe they provide the “meaty,” filling texture you expect from crabcakes.

You can use canned garbanzos to skip the process of soaking dried beans for 8 hours and start cooking immediately!


  • 1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked for about 8 hours and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups yellow onion, roughly chopped (not quite 1 large onion)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro and/or parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsps. Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 8 soft hamburger buns or English muffins


In a food processor, pulverize the soaked and drained chickpeas using the “pulse” function until beans form a paste that sticks together when you squeeze it in your hand. Be careful not to overprocess; too smooth, the batter will fall apart when cooking.

Add the rest of the ingredients (except the oil) and combine using the “pulse” function approximately 12 times; batter will be somewhat grainy and speckled with herbs. Shape into patties using a scant 1/2 cup measure (for large) or 1/4 cup measure (for sliders) and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a shallow 12-inch skillet, heat 1/4 cup of the oil over medium-high heat. Gently place the patties into the hot oil in small batches and fry the first side until golden brown, about 3 minutes.

Gently turn onto the second side and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Transfer patties to a baking tray to finish cooking in the oven for 8 minutes.

(Before frying the next batch, heat remaining oil.)

Serve on a bun with cocktail sauce or your favorite condiment.

Servings: Makes 8 entree-size patties or 12 mini-sliders.

Have some fun with Back to School

Here are some fun recipes the kiddos can help you with for their lunches!

Easy Cheese Crackers


Easy Cheese Crackers

  • 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened and cut into 4 pieces
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp course salt
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp milk


An easy recipe for homemade cheese crackers. Kids will love helping by making their own shapes!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a pastry cutter combine the cheese, butter, flour, salt and cayenne pepper until the mixture looks like pea-size crumbs. Add the milk and use your hands to form the dough into a ball. On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough about 1/8-inch thick. Use a pizza cutter or a sharp knife to cut the dough into your desired shapes or use some mini cookie cutters.

Gently transfer the crackers to an ungreased cookie sheet leaving 1/4-inch between them. Try to make the crackers roughly about the same size so everything will cook evenly. Bake the crackers on the middle rack for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges of the crackers are golden. Cool on baking sheet set on a wire rack. These taste great warm but are also very good at room temperature. Store in a sealed container for up to 5 days.

Carrots with Peanut Dipping Sauce


Carrots with Peanut Dipping Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • A splash of soy sauce
  • A few drops of sesame oil
  • Water to smooth
  • Carrot sticks


Trying to break the peanut butter and jelly habit in the under-12 set is no easy task, but this mellowed peanut-sesame dip just might do the trick. It’s equally good with carrots or tossed with cold noodles.

Mix everything but the carrot sticks together with a fork or whisk in a bowl. Add water as needed to thin mixture to a dipping consistency (all-natural peanut butter needs more; everyday brands need less).

Kids can help: Scrape carrots, stir ingredients

Extras: Torn up cilantro, basil, a squeeze of lime juice or sliced green onion tops. Try apple slices instead of carrots

Five Fruit Salsa


Five Fruit Salsa

  • 2 cups cantaloupe
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • 3 kiwifruit, peeled & finely chopped
  • 1 medium orange, peeled & finely chopped
  • 1 medium sweet yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded & chopped
  • 1 (8-oz) can unsweetened crushed pineapple, drained

Cinnamon Tortilla Chips

  • 10 (8-inch) flour tortillas
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup finely copped fresh strawberries


In a large bowl, combine the cantaloupe, onion, kiwi, orange, peppers and pineapple. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

For chips, brush tortillas with butter; cut into eight wedges. Combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over the tortillas. Place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-14 minutes or just until crisp.

Just before serving, drain salsa if desired. Stir in strawberries.

Serve fruit salsa with cinnamon chips.

Meatless Monday: Veggie Taco Salad

Try this speedy recipe for a flavorful main dish salad to start the week!

Recipe from VegKitchen blog

taco salad

Incorporating all the lively flavors of tacos, this tasty salad is quick and easy to prepare, and is a great choice when you’d like a hearty main-dish salad.

Serves: 4 to 6

  • 4 to 6 corn tortillas, allowing 1 per serving
    (or see Note for a shortcut)
  • 2 medium firm ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 1 large green bell or red bell pepper, cut into short strips1 small avocado, diced
  • 1/2 cup black olives, chopped
  • 1 cup grated vegan cheddar cheese (great with Daiya!)
  • 15- to 16-ounce can pinto or black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Mixed baby greens or dark green lettuce, torn, as needed


  • 1/3 cup tomato sauce or good-quality ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice, or more, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

Cut the tortillas into strips about 1/2  by 2 inches long. Heat a large skillet and toast the tortilla strips over medium heat, stirring frequently, until they are dry and crisp. Set aside to cool.

Combine the remaining salad ingredients in a serving bowl. Use greens or lettuce as needed, according to the number of servings needed.

Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and stir together until well blended. Pour over the salad, toss well, and distribute to individual serving bowls. Divide the tortilla strips among each serving, scattering them over the top of the salad as a garnish.

Note: For a shortcut, simply use good-quality stone-ground tortilla chips, crumbled, in place of the tortilla strips.

How to Cook Fresh Pinto Beans

From Simply Recipes


How To Cook Fresh Pinto Beans

  • 3 cups fresh shelled pinto beans
  • 4 to 6 whole garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons bacon drippings or cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • enough water to cover beans with 2 inches of water


in a large dutch oven or cooking pot, add all the ingredients and bring water to boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover with a lid. Simmer, stirring occasionally and checking water level, for 45 minutes to 1 hour. If the water becomes level with the top of the beans, add 1 to 1 1/2 cups more water; continue cooking until beans are tender to the bite.

Keeping the pinto beans mildly seasoned makes them versatile for other dishes. If you know that you’ll want them for Tex-Mex meals, than add 2 teaspoons chili powder and 1 teaspoon cumin with the other ingredients before cooking.