Our favorite recipes for vegetables

Stir fry

Stir fry ©Janet AllenIngredients from our garden

John is the stir-fry cook in the house. His stir-fries are always different because the ingredients change, but they follow the same general template (and they are always delicious!)

Each cook will have to experiment to see which amounts of each ingredient suits their own taste. Experiment! Not every one of your first dishes will be ideal, but you'll soon learn which amounts of which works best, and then you'll have a custom-made delicious dish.

NOTE: It's best to cut up everything first before you get into the hustle and bustle of adding them to the pan.

  • Heat in a frying pan:
    • 3-4 Tbs. canola (or sesame) oil
  • Grate into the oil:
    • fresh ginger root (it's easier to grate if it's frozen)
Stir fry ©Janet AllenOne of our stir fries
  • Add to the browning ginger and stir:
    • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Then add and let soften (or ideally to carmelize—but that takes longer than we want):
    • 1 large onion, cut up
  • Add secondary vegetables, first adding those that take longer to cook:
    • a variety of other vegetable or vegetables such as sliced carrots (need 3-4 minutes extra cooking time), diced peppers, sliced green beans, diced tomatoes—whatever is available
  • IF USING summer squash:
    • 4-6 cups summer squash, sliced
Stir fry ©Janet AllenCollard stir fy
  • NOTE: If we're using squash, we add it sooner than if we're using greens, since the squash takes longer to cook.
  • Add the flavorings one at a time, stirring each one in before adding the next:
    • 1/2 tsp. sugar
    • 1/2 - 3/4 tsp. salt
    • hot pepper flakes to taste
    • 1/2 - 1 tsp. turmeric or to taste
  • IF USING greens, add:
    • 4-6 cups collards or kale, cut up
  • Turn the contents of the skillet over every minute or two. Although our large skillet is quite full to overflowing to begin with, it soon cooks down. It generally takes 10-12 minutes to cook.

Sweet potato salad

Sweet potato salad ©Janet Allen
Sweet potato salad

This is so much more delicious than regular potato salad!

The measurements used are only suggestions. With this type of recipe amounts of each ingredient can be adjusted to suit your taste (or the amount you have on hand).

  • Simmer until tender
    • About 3 pounds sweet potatoes
  • Remove skins and dice.
  • Combine with:
    • 1 small onion, minced
    • 1 rib celery, minced
    • 1/2 cup parsley, minced
  • To make the dressing, combine:
    • 3-4 Tbs. olive oil
    • 3-4 Tbs. lemon juice
    • 1 Tbs. tamari (soy sauce)
    • 1 tsp. majoram, crumbled
  • Mix the vegetables with the dressing.
  • Have available as a topping:
    • cashews, chopped
  • I also have extra tamari available to sprinkle on the salad.

Green tomato pickles

Green tomato pickles ©Janet Allen
Green tomato pickles (adapted from Victory Garden Cookbook)

We always have green tomatoes at the end of the season that don't get a chance to ripen. This is a delicious way to use them.

  • Put in glass container
    • 4 cups thinly sliced green tomatoes
    • 1-2 cloves garlic, sliced
    • 1 tsp. pickling spices (whole cloves, allspice, peppercorns, bay leaves)
  • Bring to boil
    • 1 quart water
    • 3 Tbs. kosher salt
    • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • Pour the liquid over the tomatoes and weigh down with some plates, for example, so tomatoes are under water
  • Leave at room temperature overnight.
  • If you like crisp tomatoes, you can eat some the next day, then leave the rest in the refrigerator.

Sweet potato fries

Sweet potato fries ©Janet Allen
Sweet potato fries

  • Preheat oven to 450°
  • Peel and cut into thin matchstick pieces:
    • 3-1/2 cups sweet potato
  • Coat sweet potatoes with:
    • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • Combine:
    • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
    • 1/8 tsp. chili powder
    • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
    • 1/4 tsp. paprika
    • coarse salt to taste
  • Sprinkle spices over sweet potatoes and toss to coat
  • Place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and bake at 450 for 12 - 15 minutes or until ends begin to crisp.

Sauteed vegetables

Our simple broccoli salad
Broccoli salad

This is what I think is the original version of this very simple, delicious salad, which I found on the Flax grower's website. Now we just thrown in the amounts of these ingredients according to our taste.

  • Wash and cut up broccoli into bite-sized pieces (including peeling and cutting up the stem, which I like just as much as the florets) - makes about 6 cups
  • Combine with:
    • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
    • 3/4 cup dried cranberries or raisins
    • 1/2 cup pumpkin (or sunflower) seeds
    • 2 Tbs flax seeds
  • Make this dressing
    • 1/3 cup mayo
    • 2 Tbs. raspberry or wine vinegar
    • 2 Tbs. sugar
  • Combine dressing with broccoli mix

Bulgur and green beans

Bulgur and beans ©Janet Allen
Bulgur and green beans

Here's my modification of a Mark Bittman recipe (from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian). I love his "template" way of cooking.

This is our favorite way to use our frozen green beans from our previous year's garden crop. Frozen string beans don't have much structure, so they don't seem to work as well in some recipes, but they're great in this one.

  • Saute
    • 3 Tbs. olive oil
    • 3 Tbs. sesame oil
    • 6 scallions, chopped (I substitute onions if I don't have scallions)
  • Add and stir until coated
    • 2 cups bulgur
  • Add
    • 2 cups stock, boiling (I just boil water and then add two bouillon cubes)
    • 1/3 cup soy sauce
    • 2 Tbs. garlic, minced
    • 2 Tbs. ginger, minced or grated
    • 4 cups green beans (We use frozen beans, thawed)
  • Cook for 10 min, then let sit for 15 min.

Pirate Gold Soup

Pirate Gold soup ©Janet Allen
Pirate gold soup

This is based on a Jane Brody recipe (called 3P Soup), but it has been renamed to appeal to children.

This makes a lot since, like most of our cooking, we find it more efficient to make a lot and freeze it.

  • Sauté:
    • 1/4 cup onion, minced
    • 2 Tbs. butter or oil
  • Add:
    • 4 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
    • 4 cups cooked, mashed pumpkin (we reluctantly generally use canned pumpkin)
  • Add alternately:
    • 16 cups bouillon (we use vegetarian cubes)
    • 1-1/2 to 2 cups natural, smooth peanut butter
  • Bring to a boil and simmer 25 min.
  • Add:
    • 4 tsp. coarse mustard
    • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • Puree with an immersion blender

Roasted Vegetable Soup

Roasted vegetable soup ©Janet Allen
Roasted vegetable soup - one of our newer favorites

There's always more summer squash than we can eat in the summer, so we freeze it. This is a great way to use our frozen summer squash during the winter.

  • Combine
    • 2 large onions, cut into wedges
    • 3-4 medium summer squash, diced
    • 4 large carrots, peeled and diced
    • 2-3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • Toss together with
    • 2 Tbs. canola oil
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • Roast in oven at 425° until tender and browned (about 30-40 min)
  • (Since I've used this with frozen summer squash, I've roasted the summer squash in a separate pan, periodically pouring off the liquid, then letting the squash brown.)
  • Add 1 quart broth (I use cold water with a few vegan bouillion cubes)
  • Puree with an immersion blender

Beet-carrot-ginger soup

Beet-carrot-ginger soup ©Janet Allen
Delicious beet-carrot-ginger soup

This soup has more steps and more ingredients than most of our most-used recipes, but it's not really hard to make. And besides being delicious (and very nutritious), it's also beautiful.

  • Peel and cut into chunks
    • 3 medium beets
  • Dice and saute until translucent
    • 1 cup onion
    • 1 Tbs. canola oil
  • Peel, cut into chunks, and add to onions.
    • 1 lb. of carrots
  • Add
    • 1 large clove garlic, minced
    • 1 Tbs. fresh ginger, minced
  • Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Add
    • the prepared beets
    • 6 cups stock or water
  • Simmer for about 50 minutes, covered, or until vegetables are soft.
  • Add and stir well
    • 1 tsp. grated orange peel
  • Puree. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add a dollop of plain yogurt (optional).


Pesto ©Janet Allen
Pesto on our homegrown beans

We love pesto. I especially like a generous amount on our steamed home-grown string beans in the summer. We also use it as a pizza topping or spread generously on crackers.

Because of the ways we use it, we make it much thicker than some of the varieties I see sold in stores, which is often quite soupy.

For years we made pesto with basil, but then I learned that pesto is just a generic term and many other things can be used, so now we make parsley pesto, basil-parsley pesto, dill pesto, too. I tried making chive pesto once, but that was just too oniony for me.

This freezes really well, so we make LOTS during our summer and fall garden harvest and use throughout the winter and even into the early summer of the next year on the first crop of string beans.

It's very easy to make—once the greens are prepared…

  • Combine in food processor and process until smooth:
    • 12 cloves garlic (though we often use more)
    • 1 cup olive oil
  • Add and blend until smooth:
    • 1 cup walnuts
    • 8+ cups basil/parsley/dill etc.
  • Stir in:
    • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese

Roasted vegetables

Roasted vegetables ©Janet Allen
Roasted vegetables

  • Cut into chunks
    • A variety of vegetables, such as potatoes, squash, peppers (we find that our frozen peppers work well), onions, garlic etc. etc.
  • Coat with oil; season to taste
  • Roast at 450°F until tender