These recipes will keep even the pickiest of eaters happy, and use up all those beautiful veggies you grew this year!
The school year is barely underway, and packing healthy lunches that the kids actually want to eat every day already feels daunting! But, lucky for us vegetable gardeners, it’s also harvest time! So if you’ve been staring down all those zucchini and tomatoes lately and asking yourself the question ‘what can I make from my garden?’—we’ve got some answers for you! There are plenty of fun, easy recipes that can turn into some pretty unique lunches for the kiddos.
When It Comes To School Lunches, What Can I Make From My Garden?
From something as simple as sliced cucumbers drizzled with a sugar and vinegar mix for a quick, sweet snack to yummy salsa, soups, sauces, and baked goods—the options are endless when it comes to putting your garden vegetable harvest to good use. Here are a few of our favorite recipes that both you and the kids will be happy to see on the lunch table time and time again!
Garden Vegetable Muffins
Veggie muffins are much-loved by even the pickiest of eaters, making them a great way to sneak vegetables into your kids’ lunches (or even breakfast! Shhhh they’ll never know it has veggies in it). They are easy to make and pack a big punch when it comes to garden vegetable consumption, all the while masquerading as a seriously tasty snack.
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 cup milk
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup grated carrot
- ½ cup finely chopped broccoli (florets only)
- 1 cup shredded zucchini
- 1 tbsp flax seeds
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Grease muffin tin with non-stick spray
- Combine & whisk all ingredients in a medium bowl
- Fill each muffin tin cup approximately ¾ full
- Bake for approximately 18- 20 minutes (edges should be golden brown; cake tester should come out clean when inserted into the middle of muffin!)
- Remove from oven
- Let cool in pan before removing
- Eat warm (with butter or cream cheese for an extra kick!) or batch bake and store
Garden Vegetable Cream Cheese
If you or your kids are tired of just plain old cream cheese, you have got to try this recipe! Rather than buying one of the pre-fab flavored cream cheese containers from the store, you can make your own using vegetables from your garden! It can be spread on bagels, crackers, or even used as a dip with veggies. Make a chunky version by simply chopping the vegetables, or if you prefer a smoother texture, simply run it all through a food processor. You can also swap out the veggies as you please, add some heat with red pepper flakes or jalapenos—personalize it any way you like!
- 8-ounce package of plain cream cheese (softened)
- 1 tbsp carrots, minced
- 1 tbsp chopped scallions
- 1 tbsp red or green bell pepper, diced
- 1 tbsp radish, minced
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- ½ tbsp dill (fresh or dried)
- ½ tbsp parsley (fresh or dried)
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl
- Run through food processor for desired consistency (optional)
- Store in refrigerator
Low-Calorie Garden Vegetable Soup
Vegetable soup is one of our favorite recipes to use up our garden harvest for a multitude of reasons. It’s bright, colorful, delicious, healthy, and can be customized in any way you like. Pack it in a lunch thermos and your kids will happily gobble it up (it’s so good, they may even refuse to swap for those chips with a friend). It’s also super easy to whip up in a slow cooker or on the stove, and can be frozen and stored for a cool winter’s day! Here’s a foolproof recipe for delicious, low-calorie garden vegetable soup.
- 3 cups cabbage
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 2 bell peppers, diced
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 2 spears of celery, chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 8 cups broth (beef or vegetable)
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp basil
- 1 tsp thyme
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 bay leaves
- Prep and wash your vegetables
- Sort veggies by cook time (ie carrots, potatoes if you use them will take longer to cook)
- Saute onion and garlic with olive oil
- Add broth & spices
- Bring broth to a simmer
- Add veggies
- Cook until tender
If you opt to make this recipe in your slow cooker, simply saute your onions & garlic and then add all ingredients into your slow cooker. Stir occasionally, cooking for approx. 8 hours on low or until veggies are tender.
And there you have it—the answer to that burning question—‘what can I make from my garden?’. These simple, easy recipes made from vegetables straight out of the garden can all be tweaked and customized to meet your family’s needs and tastes. Stop by Wallace’s Garden Center for more garden harvest recipe ideas to try here in Bettendorf.