Recipes from Your Summer Vegetable Container Garden

Homegrown vegetables nourished with TLC will be bursting with flavor. Thoughts will turn to preparing a meal with their mouthwatering veggies. Should they toss crisp, raw tomatoes and cucumbers with a vinaigrette? Grill eggplant for supper? Should the gardener-turned-chef blend herbs into gremolata sauce to spoon over black cod or flank steak?

Here are recipes to make the most of your seasonal produce. We’re serving up ways to enjoy the vegetables most likely to appear in container gardens. These include tomatoes, cucumbers, and radishes along with carrots, sweet bell peppers, and hot jalapeños. Other vegetables that thrive in pots are eggplant, zucchini, and yellow squash.

Gremolata

This zesty Italian herb sauce brightens fish, chicken, pasta, soups, and stews. Serve over green beans for a Thanksgiving classic. This sauce that’s laden with parsley will keep for 7 days to 10 days in the fridge. Yield: 2/3 cup

Get Sylvia Fountaine’s Gremolata recipe courtesy of Feasting at Home.

Ingredients

1 cup packed Italian parsley (Small stems are OK)

1 or 2 garlic cloves

Zest of one small lemon, plus 1 or 2 teaspoons lemon juice (Meyer lemon is especially nice).

½ cup olive oil

⅛ teaspoon kosher salt and pepper, more to taste

A pinch of chile flakes is optional

Directions

Place parsley, garlic, and zest in a food processor and pulse until chopped. Add oil, salt and pepper, and lemon juice. Pulse again until uniformly combined but not too smooth. Alternatively, you can chop everything very finely and put into a bowl. Stir in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add chili flakes for a touch of heat if you like. Store in a jar in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Tomato and Feta Salad

For a variation, omit the feta cheese and 1 pint of tomatoes while adding 2 tbs sugar and a cucumber. Serves 6.

Ina Garten’s Tomato and Feta Salad recipe courtesy of Barefoot Contessa at Home.

Ingredients

2 pints cherry tomatoes, red or mixed colors

¾ cup small-diced red onion

2 tablespoons good white wine vinegar or Champagne vinegar

3 tablespoons good olive oil

1½ teaspoons kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

¾ pound feta cheese

Directions

Cut the tomatoes in half and place them in a large bowl. Add the onion, vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, basil, and parsley and toss well.  Dice the feta into a ½- to ¾-inch dice, crumbling it as little as possible.  Gently fold it into the salad and serve at room temperature.

Tomato Vegetable Casserole

This fan-favorite on The Food Network will use many of the varieties of veggies planted in your garden. Zucchinis and sweet potatoes shine alongside tomatoes. Yield: 6 servings

Get Giada de Laurentiis’ Tomato Vegetable Casserole recipe courtesy of The Food Network.

Ingredients

1 medium potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 medium yam (or sweet potato), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

5 tablespoons olive oil

1 red onion, thinly sliced into rings

2 small or 1 large zucchini, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick pieces

Salt and pepper

2 large ripe tomatoes, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

2 tablespoons dried Italian-style breadcrumbs

Fresh basil sprigs, for garnish

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Toss the potato, yam, bell pepper, carrots, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss until coated. Spread vegetables evenly over the bottom of the pan.

Arrange the onion slices evenly over the vegetable mixture. Arrange the zucchini over the onion. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange the tomato slices over the zucchini.

Stir the Parmesan and breadcrumbs in a small bowl to blend. Sprinkle the Parmesan breadcrumbs over the vegetables in the baking dish. Drizzle with the last tablespoon of olive oil.

Bake uncovered until the vegetables are tender, and the topping is golden brown, about 40 minutes. Garnish with fresh basil sprigs, if desired.

Grilled Eggplant and Lemons with Garlic Labneh

Use eggplants that are firm to the touch with glossy skin. Zaatar is a Middle Eastern condiment that you can find on Amazon if you don’t have ingredient spices at home to make your own. Substitute Greek yogurt and sour cream if Lebanese yogurt is not available. Yield: 4 servings.

Get the Grilled Eggplant and Lemons with Garlic Labneh recipe courtesy of Bon Appetit.

Ingredients

Vegetable oil (for grill)

½ small red onion, thinly sliced

3 small eggplants, sliced into ½-inch-thick rounds

1 tablespoon zaatar

5 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

1 lemon, very thinly sliced

1 cup (packed) fresh mint leaves

1 tablespoon Sherry or white wine vinegar

1 small garlic clove, grated

1 cup labneh (Lebanese strained yogurt)

Directions

Prepare a grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil grate. Soak onion in ice water 10 minutes to mellow its flavor. Drain, pat dry with paper towels, and transfer to a medium bowl.

Meanwhile, toss eggplant, zaatar, and 3 Tbsp. olive oil in another medium bowl; season with salt and pepper. Grill eggplant, turning often, until tender and charred in spots, 5–8 minutes; transfer to a cutting board and let cool slightly. Halve any large rounds; set aside.

Toss lemon with 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper. Grill lemon, turning often, until lightly charred in spots, about 2 minutes. Transfer to cutting board and let cool slightly. Cut lemon slices in half and add to bowl with onion. Stir in mint, Sherry, and remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil; season with salt and pepper.

Mix garlic and labneh in another small bowl; season with salt and pepper. Spoon labneh mixture onto a platter and arrange eggplant and onion mixture over.

Note: One reviewer noted great results grilling the eggplant and lemon on a cookie sheet in the lower section of the oven at 450 degrees.

The Greatest Carrot Salad of All Time

This bright and slightly sweet salad delivers a satisfying bite that’s somewhere between crunchy and chewy.

Get the French Carrot Salad recipe (and a cool origin story) courtesy of Bon Appetit.

Ingredients

a few carrots

radishes thinly sliced, optional

fennel, julienned, optional

1 teaspoon grainy mustard

3 tablespoons lemon juice

generous quarter-cup of olive oil

cumin seeds, toasted

fennel seeds, toasted

Directions

Julienne a few carrots or grate them on the wide edge of a box grater.  Add some thinly sliced radishes and/or julienned fennel if you’re feeling fancy.

Combine mustard, lemon juice, olive oil, and honey into a vinaigrette.

Mix the vegetables with the vinaigrette.

Toss in some golden raisins if you want and top with toasted pistachios and lots of parsley.

Mediterranean Farro Salad

Green beans, olives, and red peppers combine with the farro grain for a hearty summer salad.

Get the Giada de- Laurentiis Mediterranean Farro Salad recipe courtesy of The Food Network.

Ingredients

10 ounces farro (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon

8 ounces green beans, cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)

1/2 cup pitted black olives

1 medium red pepper, cut into thin strips (about 4 ounces or 1 cup)

3 ounces Parmesan, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)

1 small bunch chives, snipped (about 1/4 cup)

1/4 cup sherry vinegar

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

In a medium saucepan, combine 4 cups of water with the farro. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until the farro is almost tender, about 20 minutes. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt and simmer until the farro is tender, about 10 minutes longer. Drain well. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool.

Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the green beans and stir. Cook for 2 minutes. Transfer the cooked green beans to a bowl of ice water and let cool for 2 minutes. Drain the green beans.

Once the farro has cooled add the green beans, olives, red pepper, Parmesan, and chives. Stir to combine. In a small bowl mix together the sherry vinegar, olive oil, mustard, pepper, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir to combine. Pour the sherry vinaigrette over the farro salad. Toss to combine and serve.

Chimichurri Sauce

This works as both a marinade and as a sauce to spoon over grilled meat.

Get the Chimichurri Sauce recipe from Bon Appetite.

Ingredients

1 shallot, finely chopped

1 Fresno chile or red jalapeño, finely chopped

3–4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced or finely chopped

½ cup red wine vinegar

1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more

½ cup finely chopped cilantro

¼ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 Tbsp. finely chopped oregano

¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

Combine shallot, chile, garlic, vinegar, and 1 tsp. salt in a medium bowl. Let sit 10 minutes. Stir in cilantro, parsley, and oregano. Using a fork, whisk in oil. Transfer ½ cup chimichurri to a small bowl; season with salt and reserve as sauce.

Place meat in a glass, stainless-steel, or ceramic dish. Toss with remaining chimichurri. Cover and chill at least 3 hours or up to overnight. Remove meat from marinade, pat dry, and grill.

Spoon reserved chimichurri over grilled meat.

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