I wrote earlier in this post that it’s important to plant stuff you will actually eat. But, even when you do that, small gardens aren’t always cooperative in giving you enough of a certain vegetable at one time. So, on any given day, you might only get one or two tomatoes or pull in a single giant zucchini. Being able to utilize small or disproportionate quantities of random vegetables can mean the difference between a few extra (but welcome) side dishes and actual meals that start to put a dent in your food budget.
For making the most out of the vegetables we have on hand, our go to meals are stir fries, soups, and omelets. But, when we get tired of these, I have a lot of fun experimenting and trying to come up with something our kids will like. I thought I’d share some of our ideas and recipes that utilize our seasonal fare.
This week, we’ve been pulling in mostly tomatoes and green beans. I love to eat raw, sliced tomatoes but that doesn’t exactly make a meal (well, it does for me sometimes). And the kids are kind of tired of me just roasting green beans. So, for this meal, we got one of our first bell peppers and a big bunch of oregano to make a Spanish Pisto. In Mexican slang, pisto means hard liquor. But, in Spanish cuisine, it’s vegetables cooked with tomatoes. I think a pisto is supposed to have squash and eggplant, a kind of Spanish ratatouille. But… we don’t have any of those right now.
All of the vegetables from our garden for this meal were picked, washed, and chopped by Benjamin (age 5). I’m incredibly proud of him for this.
From the garden:
4 medium tomatoes
A couple handfuls of green beans
1 large bunch of oregano
From the pantry:
2 tbsp Spanish olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
1 can of garbanzo beans
1. Chop the vegetables up into weird shapes.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Garlic and onions first, for about a minute. Then peppers. Then throw in the tomatoes and let them cook down until nice and soft. Stir often. Depending on how juicy the tomatoes are, you may need to add some water. They’ll start to break apart and form a nice thick sauce.
3. Toss in the green beans, oregano, and chick peas. Spice to taste. Cook until the green beans have softened but still have a little bit of a crunch.
This would go great with rice or bread but we ate ours without. I thought the flavor was rich and subtle.
What the critics thought:
Benjamin ate all of his. But I think he mostly liked it because he picked and cut the vegetables.
Lucy wasn’t crazy about it. But she ate all the chickpeas and tomato sauce.
Gwen loved it and ate more than me.