What should I cook with my CSA?


If you’re like me, part of the reason you signed up for a CSA (community supported agriculture) is because it will make you a more adventurous eater and you’ll cook and eat things you never thought you would. But, now you have the CSA box in your refrigerator and your time is precious and you don’t know what to do with the purple asparagus and gold beets you just received, not to mention the green tops that come with all of the vegetables! Here are a few ideas to get you started.

The baby carrots in your CSA from Oasis at Bird in Hand and delivered to the Market at the Fareway, a farmer’s and prepared foods market in Chestnut Hill, are not going to look like the carrots you buy in a grocery store. Instead, they are going to be oddly shaped and will come with very long green tops, similar to the picture below.


But, guess what!? You can actually eat the carrot greens too! We found this great grilled cheese recipe from HappyYolks.com. The carrot greens are used to make a pesto; all you have to do is add olive oil, garlic, and lemon and then blend everything together. I added about six leaves of basil and loved the flavor addition. To grill the carrots, you need some olive oil, salt, and pepper, and then set your oven to 450 degrees. Asiago cheese and sourdough are recommended for the grilled cheese sandwich.

Now, what about that purple asparagus? I’m sure you’re familiar with green asparagus. Whole Foods describes the main difference between purple and green asparagus, “Unlike the more commonly enjoyed green variety, purple asparagus is almost fibrous free and some say are best enjoyed raw. They cook quickly, have a fruity flavor and provide the additional health-promoting benefits derived from the phytonutrients called anthocynanins that give it its purple color. The purple color will disappear with prolonged cooking, but if cooked quickly will add some extra color, as well as extra nutrition, to your meal.” I sautéed the purple asparagus with olive oil and garlic. 3 Fat Chicks on a Diet recommends four ways to prepare purple asparagus including, steamed, baked, grilled, and sautéed. Pick the one that sounds best to you!


Onto the gold beets… what to do with those? I chose to roast them in the oven with olive oil and thyme using a recipe from allrecipes.com. Eatingwell.com uses even more herbs and lemon if you want to check out their recipe here. Gold beets contain high levels of vitamin C, vitamin A, beta-carotene, potassium, lycopene, flavonoids, and zeaxanthin according to LivingGirllivingfoods.com. Other fun facts about gold beets include: sweeter than red beets, best when paired with spices, oils, and vinegar that you are used to using with carrots, and they don’t stain your counter top!


Last but not least, you can use some of the other items such as mixed greens, scallions, and red radishes in a salad! I added walnuts, avocado, and raisins to my salad as well. I used Bolthouse Farm’s mango chipotle yogurt dressing and was feeling very healthy as I ate dinner. Oh, and any leftover green tops you have? Blend them up and give them to your dog! Dogs need nutrients too!