Grilled Veggies and Spring Farmers’ Markets

 
Spring and summer bring a bounty of fresh vegetables from gardens, farmers' markets, and grocery stores. Our picture above shows a farmers' market bounty that included ripe beefsteak tomatoes, baby turnip greens, baby carrots, baby bok choy, asparagus, and spinach. How did we assemble such a gorgeous and healthful basket? We're glad you asked!

Farmer's Market Success Tips:

  1. Get there early. There'll be a wider selection and a smaller crowd.
  2. Bring plenty of cash. Many booths do not accept credit or debit cards.
  3. Buy a variety of vegetables in a wide array of colors. Choose options that can be eaten both fresh and cooked.
  4. If it will take you more than 20 minutes to get your items home, leave a cooler with ice in your car.
  5. As soon as you get home, rinse produce items and store your produce in open bags. This will help them stay fresh. Tomatoes are best stored at room temperature, unless they are very ripe.
  6. Serve the most perishable items first.

Greens are often found in the earlier months. One challenge is to find a variety of ways to serve them all week long. Besides making them into salads, another delicious and easy way to serve these fresh vegetables is to cook them on the grill. Grilling outdoors means that the cook gets to work outside, the kitchen stays cool, and cleanup is easy. Plus the vegetables cook quickly, which lets them stay colorful while acquiring a delicious, crisp-tender texture.

Here's what we made with our delicious haul from the farmer's market in Boulder, Colorado.

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Farmer's Market Dinner: grilled asparagus, grilled fish with steamed spinach, grilled potato fries, fresh tomato-chive bruschetta

Want to learn how to make this dinner yourself? Here's a step-by-step review of the recipes...

Grilled Fries:

Did you know you can make grilled fries? Our "fries" are round because they cook more efficiently when cut this way.

Ingredients:

  • 3 potatoes, sliced thin (but leave the skin on)
  • Foil oiled with canola spray
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Paprika to taste

Directions:

  1. Place potato rounds on lightly oiled foil on the grill.
  2. Turn them over halfway through cooking.
  3. Work quickly so that you don't lose too much grill heat. (Tongs make this a snap).

Serve the grilled fries with ketchup - or top them with braised baby turnip greens...

Braised Baby Turnip Greens:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3 cups baby turnips and greens
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet or wok. Add the onions, stir well, cover, and cook until the onions are caramelized, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add the greens, broth, and seasonings. Cover and cook until the baby turnips are tender, about 8 more minutes.

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Chicken with steamed spinach, grilled fries and asparagus:

Ingredients:

  • Handful of freshly rinsed spinach leaves
  • Fish or chicken filet

Directions:

  1. Place fish or chicken on heated grill.
  2. Top with fresh baby spinach leaves.
  3. Grill until fish/chicken is opaque and cooked through.

The spinach steams on top of the protein items, which is a very efficient way to cook the greens. We also like to cook chard and arugula this way, too.

Did you notice? This dinner actually has two different greens: the braised baby turnips and the grill-steamed spinach!

Looking for more detail? Here are some "action shots" from the grill...

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Grilled Asparagus:

Asparagus is savory and delicious when it's grilled on top of foil (as pictured above). Keep these green veggies on the outer edges of the grill on oiled foil and turn them once or twice. Broccoli and rapini work well with this method too!

What would be the perfect thing to bring this meal together? Bruschetta with fresh beefsteak tomatoes!

Bruschetta

Ingredients:

  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 2 tablespoons garden chives
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Garlic powder to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix gently.
  2. Serve.

You can use the bruschetta on salad, bread, or grilled chicken/fish. Refrigerate any leftovers for lunch the next day.

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Enjoy your farmer's market! We sure did.

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We also love our garden. Here are some shots of our lettuce and chives...

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Looking for even more resources? Check out the other great Farmer's Market and Fruit and Veggie items at NutritionEducationStore.com.

Our favorites are below...

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