Quick and Easy Garden Meal

Garden recipe vegetable pizza

Friday nights at our house often mean pizza night. After cooking all week I definitely don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. So, we’ll whip up a quick pizza, pick a salad from the garden, and pop open a beer. If it’s summer we’ll sit outside in our yard to eat and chat and watch night fall. If it’s winter, we’ll fire up the wood stove and get cozy at the dining room table.

The seasons and pizza toppings may change, but one thing always remains the same – the ingredients we’re using are right from our garden. In August we’re slicing fresh tomatoes, eggplant and summer squash. In October we might try out some butternut squash and brussels sprouts as toppings. And last night, on the first evening in April? What garden toppings did we use?

There’s not much to pick in my garden right now besides spinach. But that didn’t put a stop our pizza party. I ran down the basement and gathered up all of the ingredients we needed to make two delicious pizzas. And they were all from last year’s garden. Here’s what I grabbed:

Garlic scape pesto made last summer and frozen in jam jars
Frozen pizza sauce gifted to us by friends
Broccoli and red and yellow peppers harvested last fall, chopped and stored in freezer bags
Onions and garlic, both harvested last July and stored in our basement since then

garden recipe easy vegetable pizza

Sauteeing the onions, garlic, peppers and broccoli. The crusts waiting for toppings.

I sent my husband out to the garden to harvest fresh spinach that was planted last August (it easily survives the winter in WI) and is growing again now that it’s spring. We washed it and loaded it into big bowls. Then I pulled out a purple carrot, planted last summer, harvested in October, and kept in a bag at the back of my fridge since then, to grat and throw on top of the salad for some color.

garden recipe spinach salad with purple carrots

Fresh spinach from the garden and grated purple carrots.

Ta-daa! An almost all local meal (except for the crust, cheese and salad dressing), made from ingredients from my garden, on April 1 in Wisconsin. (This is not a joke, I swear!) And this is no anomaly in our house.

Every night of the week in winter and early spring, our cooking features ingredients from last year’s garden – onions, garlic, carrots, beets, butternut squash, kale, broccoli, peppers, corn, tomatoes…the list goes on and on.

What about you? Are you still eating food from last year’s garden? If not, then you’re missing out on a big (and fun!) opportunity. When you’re still reaping the rewards of last year’s harvests, almost a full year after the last gardening season started, you definitely feel like you’re cheating the system!

Grocery shopping is a breeze – you can pretty much bypass the produce section each week. Cooking is quicker – a lot of your ingredients are already chopped and ready to go. And you don’t have to worry about fluctuating food prices, where produce is coming from, and what’s been done to it along the way.

garden recipe vegetable pizza

We like to put our toppings on first, then the cheese!

This is what it means to get the most from your garden!

It’s definitely not food preserving season in most areas of the country right now. But, it is garden planning season. If you want to make your garden harvests last all season long, now is the time to prepare. Take a look at what you buy from the grocery store on a weekly basis. What of those things can you plan to grow and preserve this season? Make sure you’ve ordered the seeds or have a plan to buy the plants. (I help you do all of this and more in my Smart Start Garden Planner.)

Don’t worry too much yet about how you’re going to preserve them. When harvest season comes along, I’ll help you figure out how to quickly and easily get those things into storage so they’re available as easy to grab, local and organic ingredients for delicious meals all year long.

EARLY SPRING PIZZA

WITH PRESERVED GARDEN VEGETABLES

Ingredients

Homemade or store bought pizza crust (I love this organic cornmeal crust.)

Store bought or garden preserved pizza sauce or pesto (I use garlic scape pesto.)

Garden fresh or frozen vegetables of your choice. My recommendations:

1-2 small/medium onions

2-4 garlic cloves

1 cup frozen red peppers

2 cups frozen broccoli

Mozzarella Cheese

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 425 F.
  2. While the oven is heating up, chop the onions. Sautee them in a pan with a few pinches of salt and some olive oil until they’re translucent.
  3. Chop garlic. Add to the onions once they’re translucent and then cook for two more minutes. Throw in a few pinches of ground black pepper.
  4. When your oven is pre-heated, put the crusts in to to pre-bake for 5-10 minutes. How long will depend upon what kind of crust you’re using. You want to pre-bake the crust so it’s starting to get crispy.
  5. Add broccoli. I throw it in frozen right from the freezer. I don’t bother to defrost it.
  6. Cook the broccoli for a few minutes until it’s starting to thaw out. Be careful not to overcook it or it will turn to mush. I like to make sure mine is still al dente. Remember that the vegetables will continue to cook in the oven.
  7. Add peppers right from the freezer and cook until they’re heated through.
  8. When the crusts are pre-baked, take them out of the oven and spread your pizza sauce and pesto while you’re waiting for the vegetables to finish sauteeing.
  9. Once the vegetables are cooked to your liking, spread them onto the crusts.
  10. Grate mozzarella cheese and add it on top of the vegetables.
  11. Put the pizzas in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes. Keep your eye on them and bake them until the crust is browned and the cheese is bubbly.
  12. Let them cool for a few minutes after removing them from the oven. Cut into slices and enjoy!

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super_easy_tablet

If you want to learn more about how to make the harvest last all year long without having to resort to canning, check out my book, Super Easy Food Preserving, here.

 

 

 

gardening planning book

 

 

Plan your garden with an eye towards food preserving with the help of the Smart Start Garden Planner. You’ll work through your plan step-by-step, and at the end you’ll have a personalized blueprint for what a successful season in your garden looks like.

Get a free sample here.

 

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Want more garden fresh recipes?

My Favorite Ways to Cook with Preserved Food

How to Make a Massaged Kale Salad

True Flavors of Thanksgiving: 3 Garden Fresh Recipes for the Holiday

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