Super Summer Soup Supper – CSA Week 8

Super Summer Soup with Italian Flat Beans, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

The adventures of the CSA share continue! This is our week 8 share and the eggplant, zucchini, and cucumbers are in full swing. If you need some zucchini inspiration, check out my stuffed zucchini boat recipe from last week. There are also some new items this week, and that’s my focus here: corn, green peppers, and flat (romano beans)! And this is what makes taking part in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program so great – finding surprise ingredients that your local supermarket may not carry, and figuring our what to do with them.

The credit for this soup goes entirely to my 7 year old who suggested we use flat beans for a soup, add corn to it, plus one tablespoon each of dried dill, dried basil and onion powder. Oh, and garlic and vegetable broth! Then I stepped in with some carrots, bay leaves, and green pepper (also courtesy of the CSA share this week). The rest is history and the recipe below!

What are flat beans?

Flat Beans, Raw – By Andrewa, from Wikimedia Commons

Before we dive into cooking, let me just share what flat beans are. I don’t think I ran into them before, and I am guessing many of you are in the same boat! These beans are also known as romano beans, and also Italian flat green beans. They are similar to green beans, but much broader – about one inch (2.5 cm) or so, and they are quite long too. They have a good bite to them, although my seven year old helper did not like their taste when raw. These beans are meaty and that’s another reason why putting them into a stew or a hearty soup makes a lot of sense as they need a bit of time to cook, and I don’t think steaming them would work. So, if you like to try a green bean variety with a bit more meat and bite to it, these are a great option.

Super Summer Soup with Italian Flat Beans

What you’ll need:

1 lbs (about 500 g) flat beans (romano beans), trimmed and cut into 1 in (2.5 cm) pieces

2 cups grilled corn, just kernels (frozen or canned whole kernel corn would work too!)

2 large carrots, chopped very finely using a food processor

1 green pepper, diced to small pieces

4 cups (about 1 L) vegetable broth

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or crushed

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon dried dill

1 tablespoon dried basil

4 dried bay leaves

2 tablespoons olive oil

Squeeze of lemon for serving (optional)

What you’ll do:

  1. Place a large pot over the medium-high heat. Add oil then garlic and let the garlic brown just slightly for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Next, add diced green peppers and sauté for 2-3 minutes, with occasional stirring.
  3. Add finely chopped carrots, mix well and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  4. When the peppers have softened and the carrot pulp starts to brown, add the beans, corn and all the spices and sauté for another 5 minutes, then pour in the vegetable stock, bring to boil, lower the heat to simmer, put the lid on and leave it for 15 minutes.
  5. Serve this soup as a light supper, lunch, or pair with a salad and some bread for a meal!

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2018

CSA Week 3, Part 2: Balsamic Vinegar Glazed Beets and Turnips

Balsamic Vinegar Glazed Beets and Turnips, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a lovely way to support your local farmers, enjoy the freshest produce and diversify what’s on your plate. This summer I signed up for a share at Upswing Farm, our local, small scale farm that’s relatively new – it opened it’s doors just 2 years ago. So far, the shares were great, with excellent quality of local produce as well as a couple of items that I’ve never seen in my life before.

Introducing garlic scapes

By Evan-Amos [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons
In week 3, one such item were garlic scapes, which are twisty and curly green stalks that grow out of garlic plant and if left alone would develop a flower at the top. However, they are removed, usually in late spring and early summer, in order to help the growing garlic channel its energy into the bulb not the flower. The scapes are edible – who knew! – and full of the same garlic flavor so you can use them instead or in addition to (if you really love your garlic) the garlic cloves. I usually chop them finely, but they are funny looking and for this pan roast I decided to leave them intact, after trimming off the ends. If you don’t have garlic scapes, you could use garlic cloves, or whole scallions (green onions), or green (young) garlic. Any one of these will work to infuse your beets and young turnips with some nice flavors.

Pan roasting beets and turnips

The stars of our Week 3 CSA share were a bunch of beets and a bunch of baby turnips. Unlike huge and heavy turnips you usually find in the grocery store, these turnips are smaller and softer. You can cook them without peeling, and they require much less prep time then their more mature versions. They are delicious roasted, as are the beets.

But, we are in the middle of a heat wave and turning the oven on seems extremely unappealing. So, Dutch oven to the rescue! If you don’t know what a Dutch oven is, it’s a very heavy cast iron pot that is perfect for achieving nice caramelization without actual roasting. The best way to do this is to be patient, keep the heat on medium, put the lid on, and stir infrequently. This will help cook the veggies through while at the same time giving them nice roasted look and feel.

Don’t forget the glaze

What also helps the stove top roasting process is a simple balsamic vinegar glaze. This is nothing more than a splash of good quality balsamic vinegar that gets cooked and concentrated with the beets and turnip. The result is a shiny and rich side dish that works well warm as well as cold, especially as a topping for salads.

Don’t throw away the leaves

And since these are all really fresh pieces of produce, don’t forget that you can use the entire plant. So, don’t throw away the leafy parts of your beets and turnips as they can be made into a yummy side dish!



Balsamic Vinegar Glazed Beets and Turnips

What you’ll need:

1 bunch (5-6 medium) beets, washed, peeled and cubed

1 bunch young turnips, washed and cubed

5-6 garlic scapes, washed, trimmed, and roughly chopped into long pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar


What you’ll do:

  1. Place a large Dutch oven or a cast iron pan over the medium high heat. Add the oil and garlic scapes. Brown for 1-2 minutes than add the cubed beets and turnips.
  2. Let the vegetables brown on one side before turning them over. This will take 5 minutes or so per side.
  3. After they’ve browned on two sides, add the vinegar and deglaze the bottom of the pan.
  4. Lower the heat to medium low, put the lid on and “roast” the vegetables for 20-25 minutes. Stir occasionally. Both beets and turnips should be soft when you pierce them with a fork, but not mushy or falling apart.
  5. Serve warm, or enjoy cold. The “roasted” beets and turnips will keep for close to a week in the fridge.

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2018

CSA Week 3, Part 1: Beet and Turnip Greens

Sautéd Beet and Turnip Greens, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

This summer I am doing something new – getting some of my produce from a local farm via the CSA, which stands for Community Supported Agriculture. I signed up for a large share at Upswing Farm, where the farmers Brittany and Kevin Overshiner are trying to protect the land they are using from the pressure to develop it into housing, as well as growing some yummy vegetables and beautiful flowers all while respecting the nature and the environment.

Beets and turnips in our CSA share

We are already in Week 3 of our CSA share, and this week the loot included a bunch of beets and a bunch of baby (young) turnips. Although I usually get both beets and turnips when they are much more mature and without any leaves to speak of, knowing how fresh this produce is made me think that I should really be using the entire plant. So, I looked around for recipes and decided that a simple saute would work well. And it did – the greens spoke for themselves with just a bit of help from young garlic* and olive oil!

The result is a wonderfully colorful side dish that goes with anything really. You can serve it with your veggie burgers, rice, pasta, mashed potatoes, or make it into a sandwich. I personally like to combine this sauté with some meatless meatballs and almond yogurt. Yummy!

And if you are wondering what to do with the rest of your beets and turnips, why not try pan roasting them on the stove top?

* Note: if you do have green garlic on hand, use both the white and the green bits, and if you don’t have access to green garlic, just use the regular kind. You can crush it, but I prefer slicing the cloves very thinly – it adds not only flavor but a bit of an interesting bite to the dish.

Sautéd Beet and Turnip Greens

What you’ll need:

3-4 cups beets greens, washed and chopped (leaves and stems from one bunch of beets)

3-4 cups turnip greens, washed and chopped (leaves and stems from one bunch of young turnips)

4 cloves garlic or 4 young (green) garlics, finely chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil


What you’ll need:

  1. Place a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the sliced garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes with stirring. Garlic can burn quickly, so do keep an eye on it!
  2. When garlic is slightly browned, add the chopped greens. The volume is going to be huge at the beginning but be patient and let the greens wilt slowly and gradually. I like to use a pair of tongs and keep turning the greens over every few minutes.
  3. Once the leaves are fully wilted, lower the heat and sauté for 15-20 minutes. This will help the bits of stems soften and cook through.
  4. Serve with mashed turnips, or pan roasted beets and turnips for a lovely and healthy meal!

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2018