Box Blog: October Example
Updated: May 21
Many farmers open farm share reservations for the winter season this month. It's been a while since we first published our method for conquering a box of vegetables in a week, and given that we've learned a lot about making that week exciting, it seemed a good time to refresh our example. For those new to CSAs, the volume of greens you get in October may come as a surprise. For veterans, it is one of the many joys of farm sharing.
In this site's method for conquering a veggie box, the first step is to sort the vegetables according to the shelf life of the quality or when we plan to cook them. I immediately placed the parsley in the sooner category because it wilts so quickly, but the green mustard and eggplant also fell into this category. Both greens turn bitter the longer they sit, so cooking them sooner rather than later makes sense. I put the rest of the ingredients in the cook later category, except for the onions, which are long-term storage vegetables.
From there, I began meal planning, starting with the most vulnerable veggie: parsley. A hefty bunch of parsley can be hard to use, but some recipes that feature parsley make it easy. Our favorites are Quinoa Tabouleh and Chimichurri. Parsely conquered.
Next, I looked at the mustard and eggplant. Since the chimichurri has nearly the same ingredients as my go-to dressing for roasted savories such as eggplant and kabobs, I reached for my go-recipe for Roasted Eggplant and Tomato pasta (and also my steak, tomato, and onion skewers). I also jumped at the chance to add a little soul food to my week and reached for my standard Greens with Bacon recipe. With a hunk of cornbread, it is one of my favorite comfort-food lunches during a rough work-from-home day.
Finally, the remaining vegetables - arugula, squash, and radishes - were a perfect excuse to celebrate the fall season. I reached for a tried-and-true Squash Soup recipe, considered a breakfast toast, and decided to use my guest-favorite dressing - a Citrus Maple Mint Vinaigrette that graces our holiday table a little early this year. Why wait for Thanksgiving?
With my meals planned, I wrote out my ingredients list and shopped for what I didn't have on hand. My shopping list was relatively short, considering the variety of recipes in my plan. I've been doing this for a long time. I bought: fresh mint, oregano, and basil, mushrooms, leeks, tomatoes, oranges, and a good steak. The rest I already had in my pantry or fridge.
The next day, it was time to meal prep. I could make the chimichurri, quinoa, and greens with bacon to have over the next few days, and prep the salad dressing and roast the squash, mushrooms, and leeks for dishes I will put together in the week. I spent about three Saturday morning hours in the kitchen, and the rest of the meals took ten to thirty minutes to put together throughout the week.
And that was another box conquered—a satisfying, well-rounded, easy-to-make, and flavor-packed set of meals to enjoy throughout the week. I especially enjoyed slathering chimichurri on everything I could think of, as they do in Argentina. It's a new recipe for my kitchen, and I will reach for it whenever I am blessed with parsley in a veggie box. I was surprised at how well it paired with radishes and how similar it was to other bastes and marinades I have in my repertoire. Absolutely delicious.
And these are the little surprises I continue to enjoy every time I buy a veggie box. It's only a challenge if you don't approach it thoughtfully and embrace variety. And that's the spice of life, right?
Egg toast with Shaved Radishes and Chimichurri
Roasted Squash, Mushroom, and Leek Salad with Citrus Maple Mint Vinaigrette
Steak, Tomato, and Onion Skewers with Chimichurri
Sides and Condiments