By Tami Weiser
Farmer’s market trips are a favorite activity in my family and friends, but they are a vital way to get the freshest, most nutrient-rich produce and support your local agriculture to boot. Both nutritionists and restaurant chefs alike can be found picking at farmer’s markets. As you maneuver your way through the stalls, your market bounty spilling over the top and poking out of your bags, you can rest assured that something healthy and yummy will be coming from the kitchen soon.
Farmer’s markets (and market stands) offer a seasonally changing raInbow of colors, tastes, and nutrients ready to be savored, raw, and cooked. They often have top-notch chickens and an abundance for fresh cut flowers, locally created sauces, baked goods, and usual the best local breads you can get your hands on. There is actually an unlimited amount of things you can make after a trip to the farmer’s market, so let’s break it down to dishes you can make after a summer haul.
Farmer’s market green salads are a staple for good reason. Lettuces of many types can be incredibly different, but all worth a try with nary a cucumber or tomato in sight. This recipe showcases the delicate and shockingly flavorful butter lettuce and fresh tarragon, all by a simple lemon dressing.
If pea shoots are plentiful in your basket but you also want to make sure you get plenty of protein, you’re in luck with this recipe. Pea shoots are also fabulous in sandwiches, like alfalfa or broccoli sprouts, but far sweeter. This recipe works just as well with a variety of legumes, but lima beans and edamame are delicious options.
Snappy zucchini, reds onions, and sweet multicolored peppers, grilled or roasted, are loaded into the gluten-free vegan sandwich the features a punchy mustardy flavor, along with a classic tapenade- a mixture of olives and capers which you can make if your market was full of olives, or simply buy and keep in the fridge. Satisfying and delicious, try it with grilled eggplants and summer squashes of many types, colors, and shapes and enjoy.
Salad sandwich by chefs April Bloomfield and JJ Goode, from splendidtable.org
This fun take on a renowned chef’s childhood favorite is actually and protein-packed, vitamin-rich sandwich overflowing with fresh greens and ripe tomato along with sliced hard-boiled egg.
This soup is full of vitamins galore. If you’ve picked up some greens, kales, chards or baby spinach, his recipe makes maximum advantage of what nature has to offer all jazzed up with tender and sweet caramelized onions that serve at the backbone of this recipe.
This stunning pasta salad is as delicious and healthy as it is beautiful. Veggies of every color, shape and texture are adorned by a small portion of pasta and legumes, making this recipe perhaps, the ultimate one meal, all in one, healthy bowl.
This delicious pasta dish uses a handy, Parmesan-based three ingredients sauce. It’s a wonderful way to show off all those veggies and is quite versatile. The article is also chock full of advice about what to buy at a Farmer’s Market.
Snack Boards are a gracious platter of veggies, fruits, snacks, and spreads, but whether you call it, you’ve got a winning way to turn a trip to the farmers market into a meal of the freshest veggies. Cut up bell peppers, chubby carrots, radishes, zucchini, cucumber rounds, thinly sliced fennel, jicama sticks, celery, and baby tomatoes galore, and watch the how quickly your family digs in. If you want more protein add some large cubes of cooked chicken or cooked shrimp. To make sure this stays healthy, make sure any charcuterie you use has no preservatives or additives.
Here’s a fun crudité tray, brimming with fresh veggies in a variety of preparations, even fried. This is a terrific template for making use of the good things you picked up at the farmer’s market, and it even comes with a lovely avocado ranch dressing recipe.
Now, this is the way to make a summer fruit salad a real showstopper. Featuring an abundance of ripe sweet fruit with a dusting of basil, this is a healthy and fresh way to celebrate summer in a single dish.
With the freshest fruits in hand, you can make a great crostada, or rustic Italian fruit tart. You don’t even need a tart pan or pie plate, just a sheet tray and an appetite. This gluten-free vegan peach almond crostata is as summery a dessert as they come, bursting with juicy ripe peaches. You can use your favorite gluten-free pie crust mix from the store or a premade, gluten-free pie crust right from the frozen department at the grocery store. This dish is a bit of a project, but it’s worth the effort