British Columbia

Recipes for your vegetable garden bounty: Dietitian shares her tips

Registered dietitian and vegetarian cookbook author, Desiree Nielsen shares some of her recipes to make quick work of the haul from your summer vegetable garden.

'You have to kind of be a champion vegetable eater this time of year,' says Desiree Nielsen

Dietitian provides ideas for making the most of summer vegetables and fruits. (Alphonsine Sabine/Shutterstock)

Hot weather in B.C. has brought with it a bounty of produce for growers, and that means it's time to put those veggies and fruits to good use in some recipes. 

Registered dietitian and vegetarian cookbook author, Desiree Nielsen joinedThe Early Edition host Stephen Quinn to share some of her recipes to make quick work of the haul from your summer vegetable garden. 

Nielsen said the main challenge with garden bounty is that it arrives all at once — in large quantities.

"You put so much work into it, you wait for so long, and then all of a sudden it's like I hope you're hungry," she said.

To get fresh produce on your plates before it ends up in the compost bin, Nielsen offer several suggestions, including blending, drying, and canning.  

Zucchini pasta and smoothies

Nielsen says summer is a great time to substitute your spaghetti pasta for a big plate of spiralized zucchini.

She also suggested giving vegetables a higher priority on your plate, perhaps shifting their status to main "anchor of your plate."

"You have to kind of be a champion vegetable eater this time of year. I think you also have to change how we think about vegetables in our meal place too," Nielsen said.

And if you don't have time for a sit-down meal, she says zucchinis taste great in a smoothie.

Tomatoes dried, jammed and canned 

Nielsen has a bevy of tips for dealing with the fruit of the tomato plant.

After you're tired of tomato salads, she suggests drying them in the oven. 

"You just spread them out and you can do layers upon layers of oven-dried tomatoes and it's a great way to preserve," Nielsen said.

If you're looking for a longer shelf life, she recommends making tomato jam.

"Take a pound of tomatoes, throw them in a pot with not much else, a little bit of sugar, maybe some spice," said Nielsen.

"It creates this amazing jam that you don't have to can, and it will sit in the fridge for at least a couple of weeks, and you just put it on toast, put it on sandwiches, whatever you like."

Nielsen says canned tomato sauce is also a great option, but make sure to can with an experienced friend, who can help advise on the many steps involved.

Kale chips

"If you want to eat a whole head of kale in about 30 seconds, kale chips are the way to do it," said Neilsen

She says there are two camps of cooks when making kale chips. Some prefer low and slow, setting the oven to 200 F and letting the kale slow cook until it gets crispy.

Others may prefer to speed up the process by cranking the oven to 350 F and watching them like a hawk for a few minutes. 

Some other suggestions to handle your excess garden bounty include freezing or swapping produce with friends and neighbours. 

With files from The Early Edition

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Cory Correia

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