Dreaming of sunshine: 3 of My Favorite Recipes from Last Year’s Garden

Fresh Lincoln peas from the garden

My garden is sleeping under 3 feet of snow. I am left to day dream of sunny afternoons spent among lush, green, growing things. While I wait for spring, I’d like to share a few of my favorite recipes that I made during the 2021 gardening season. The first is my absolute favorite, Pea Salad. The second utilizes the harvest I’m most proud of, Spaghetti Squash Casserole. Lastly, Pot Roast with Roasted Vegetables, which is the first fall dish I make after the last harvest in the fall. They’re all delicious and fairly easy to make. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Fresh Pea Salad

Pea salad is my absolute favorite recipe to make with fresh garden produce. I grow shelling peas specifically to make this easy recipe. It has great textures and flavors. I like to use local meat if I have it, and use whatever cheese I have available. I grow my own shallots and dill, but store bought work just as well. Be warned, if you love fresh peas, this recipe size won’t last long. It’s deliciousness is enhanced by it’s simplicity and one bite transports me to sunny, summer days.

My misen place, ready to mix

Ingredients

2 cups freshly shelled peas

1/3 cup crispy bacon (or ham), cut into cubes

½ cup cheddar or swiss cheese, cut into cubes

2 tsp shallots or onions, finely chopped

3 Tbsp mayonaise

1 Tbsp milk

Pinch of dill (fresh or dried)

pinch of salt

pinch of pepper

Instructions

Mix together peas, bacon (or ham), cheese and shallots. In a separate bowl, mix mayonnaise, milk and spices. Pour dressing over pea mixture and gently mix to combine. Eat right away or cover and refrigerate for a few days.

Yield: About 3 cups

Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Cut view of my biggest squash of the season

Spaghetti squash is by far my most favorite squash. As someone who avoids gluten, it is a great substitute for wheat pastas. I wanted to know if I could grow it myself, and tried it as an experiment in 2020. I was able to grow a couple of small squash, but I wasn’t sure if they would produce good sized squash in our short season. I planted some again in spring of 2021 and was more successful. I grew two nice sized squash and was very excited to try them. They had a nice firm texture and a slight sweetness once cooked. I will definitely plan to keep them on the list for next year. In the mean time, here’s what I made with one.

Ingredients

1 Large spaghetti squash (or 2 small)

Salt, pepper and olive oil

1 pound hot Italian sausage

2 cups of your favorite spaghetti sauce

1 pound of mozzarella cheese

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Fresh Basil

Parmesan Cheese

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the squash and clean out the seeds. Coat lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in a casserole dish lined with aluminum foil. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the squash. It is done when a fork can pierce the flesh easily. Set the squash aside to cool, but leave the oven on.

While the squash is cooling, brown the sausage over medium high heat. Drain any extra fat.

Using a fork or a spoon, scrape the squash out of the rind. It should shred into strands. Foil or oil a casserole dish and spread the squash evenly in the bottom. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Top with Italian sausage and spaghetti sauce. Top with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until its heated through and the cheese is melted. The squash will release some liquid, so it may take some time to cook off. Once this happens, pull from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes. Garnish with chopped fresh basil and freshly grated Parmesan.

Serves 4

Squash is ready for the oven
Freshly roasted

Pot Roast with Roasted Vegetables

When fall rolls around and the garden is mostly harvested, one of the first things I like to make is a nice tender pot roast with a pile of roasted vegetables. I was lucky enough to make this recipe using many items from my own garden, and the rest were locally grown from the farmer’s market. This recipe is versatile and you can easily add different vegetables or change the amounts to suit your tastes and the contents of your pantry. The pot roast can be cooked any way you like. I cooked mine in my Instantpot, so it only took 2 hours instead of 6. However, roasting in the oven or in a crock pot works just as well. The vegetables could easily be paired with a different meat, however the juices from the beef roast give them a great flavor. You can also substitute a few tablespoons of olive oil in place of the roast juices. I recommend cutting all the vegetables to roughly the same size so they will cook at a similar rate. Roasting them separately from the meat helps the vegetables maintain their individual flavors and allows more control over their cooking process. This results in tender (but not mushy) vegetables that are so flavorful you won’t want to mask them with gravy!

Ingredients

3 pound pot roast, cooked

2 cups of Potatoes, cut into cubes

2 cups of carrots, cut into cubes or rounds

1 cup of onion, cut into large pieces

1 cup celery, cut into half inch pieces

1 cup parsnips, cut into cubes or rounds

1 cup rutabaga, cut into cubes

1 cup turnips, cut into cubes

6-8 fresh scallions

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 Tbsp fresh herbs, chopped (such as rosemary, thyme, sage)

1 cup cooking juices from the pot roast

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 Tbsp parsley and/or celery leaves, chopped (optional)

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil or foil a large, rimmed baking sheet. Mix all vegetables (except scallions) in a large bowl. Season with garlic, herbs, salt and pepper and add cooking juices from the roast. Toss to coat evenly. Spread in a single layer on the pan. Roast for 35-45 minutes, stirring once about half way through. The vegetables are done when they are just fork tender. Garnish with parsley and season to taste before serving.

Yield: Serves 6

Other produce to consider: Kohlrabi, radishes, celeriac, butternut or delicata squash, beets, red peppers, Brussel sprouts, sunchokes, cherry tomatoes, apples

This is a link to the recipe I used for my pot roast, but feel free to use your favorite recipe. As mentioned above, I cooked my vegetables separately. https://www.lecremedelacrumb.com/instant-pot-pot-roast-potatoes/

Ready to enjoy!

I hope you get a chance to try out these recipes with your own harvests and that you enjoy them. Feel free to share your results in the comments section. Thanks for reading and happy growing!

About Sam Wagner

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