Need Recipes For "Unusual" Vegetables?

Hi, I'm hoping that some of you folks can help me. I have been getting a box of organic fruits and veggies delivered every other week for a few months now and I love it. This week I got a bunch of raw beets (with greens). I have no idea what to do with these.


I also get chard or kale in pretty much every box and I'm never sure what to do with those either. I've done some soups with beans, or potatoes but they are always just so-so. I've also stir-fried with them but that is only OK too.

Other veggies that I have been stumped with have been: turnips, eggplant, fava beans, fennel and leeks. The leeks were the easiest because I made a soup and it was delicious but I would love some other ideas. I love to cook new things but I have two young boys that automatically dislike "green" things on principle. Because of the produce box, they now eat broccoli, zucchini and mushrooms without too much fighting, but new stuff has to be snuck in.

Thanks so much. I hope you all have a ton of ideas for me.

Jess in Portland, OR

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By GiGi (Guest Post)
August 9, 20070 found this helpful

I hope you like these ideas, we use them all the time at our house:

Eggplants - slice very thin, saute in a small amount of butter with salt and pepper (and garlic, if you like). Use the slices in place of pasta in lasagna, or make a quick eggplant paramsean by layering the eggplant, tomato (meat) sauce and grated mozzeralla cheese. Do 2 or three layer.


Kale - Use kale or spinach in a fritter. Add some rosemary to the batter (about 1/2 teaspoon chopped fine). Serve with lemon butter on the side.

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Silver Feedback Medal for All Time! 418 Feedbacks
August 9, 20070 found this helpful

Beet greens are the best and if they're fresh, they're loaded with nutrients. Just cut the stems about an inch above the beet, and boil them for about 10 minutes, like you would fresh spinach. You can chop them up before cooking, to make it easier for your boys to eat. They're wonderful with a little salt to taste. The beets themselves can be boiled like potatoes, and then sliced and served hot or cold, fresh or pickled.


My mother used to serve them sliced and cold, with thin onion slices, but that may be an acquired taste. Beets of course turn your urine dark red - your boys may enjoy that.

Are you ever lucky to have all those fresh vegetables.

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August 9, 20070 found this helpful

Our local vegie delivery comes with recipe ideas for the "unusual" type vegies. Maybe you could suggest that to your deliverers. Cheers, Roz

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By Marta (Guest Post)
August 9, 20070 found this helpful

For the beets and turnips, peel off the outside and then grate them onto salad greens. No need to cook them.

Beets are also good roasted. Turnips can be mashed, you can add them when mashing potatoes or alone.


You can check out recipes on this web site, make sure to read the reviewers comments...

This are some articles on leafy greens

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By Luv to Cook (Guest Post)
August 9, 20070 found this helpful

Go to any recipe website and do a search for Ratatouille. I have tried the one from Kraft Food & Family Magazine (they have a website too) and it is really good. Ratatouille is a variety of fresh cut veggies, some sauce and some cheese sprinkled on at the last 5 to 10 min. of cooking. I used zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, onions and eggplant. I poured some Italian dressing over them and baked for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees until veggies are tender. Then the last 5 to 10 minutes added some grated parmesan cheese. You can get creative and use other dressings and cheeses.

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Silver Post Medal for All Time! 267 Posts
August 9, 20070 found this helpful

Yeah, they do deliver a recipe with every box but sometimes they require too many additional ingredients. I've tried some of them with mixed results. Thanks for all the quick responses. Now I'll just have to get cooking.



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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 112 Feedbacks
August 9, 20070 found this helpful

Eggplant is delicious, dipped in beaten eggs, and then in crushed cracker crumbs and fried as a meat replacement.

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August 9, 20070 found this helpful

I have found has the widest selection of recipes, you only have to enter the name of the food item and you will have of wide selection to pick from.
When I'm looking for a recipe I always end up at cooks.
Readers submit them and they are excellent, all the recipes I have tried have been excellent

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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 153 Feedbacks
August 9, 20070 found this helpful

Good for you for trying out new foods! They are highly nutritious as well as tasty. Our favorite beet recipe besides pickled beets is a raw salad. Grate raw, peeled beets on the coarse side of the grater. Dress with vinegar and oil and salt and pepper to taste. Norwegians do the same thing, but they mix grated beets, carrots and apples together before adding dressing.


If the family is hesitant, just try a tiny serving first. We used to have a three-bite rule when the kids were home, and they learned that there are lots of taste foods out there that don't come from McDonalds.

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By Marcia (Guest Post)
August 9, 20070 found this helpful

Hi Jess,
Here is an idea for chard which comes out great! I cut up chard and a few cloves of garlic(to your taste)and italian peppers if you have them. Saute in olive oil or canola oil. It is delicious!
The spinach, I mix it with regular red leaf lettuce in salads. Also spinach I have used it by itself. I first fry up some bacon, saute a bunch of spinach, and add some hard boiled eggs, yum!

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August 9, 20070 found this helpful

Here's a link to one of my favorite baba ghannoujj recipe from,161,143176-252193,00.html

I just serve it as a dip with pita bread triangles. I also love grilling or roasting eggplant with olive oil and other veggies (zucchini, mushrooms, onions, squash, etc.) then serving it as a sandwich on flat bread (pita, lavosh, or even flour tortillas).

You can try kale or leeks & fennel in quiches too. A friend of mine mashes up turnips (as someone already suggested) and serves it every Thanksgiving. I've enjoyed a turnip recipe from the "New Scandanavian Cooking" show (link:, but I substituted elderberry vinegar with raspberry vinagrette and the ground elder with spinach -- maybe you could use your kale in this recipe.

Another friend makes an amazing chard recipe: she sautes chopped onion & chard in olive oil, throws in some herbs & spices (unfortunately I don't know which), and tops it off with a bit of vinegar.

I'm not a big beet or fava bean fan, but I do enjoy juicing beets.

Hope this helps!

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By Carla (Guest Post)
August 9, 20070 found this helpful

I use fresh spinach on sandwiches, instead of lettuce.
My favorite way to cook turnips is with bacon, till tender. Drain. Mash (bacon, too) with potato mashed or whip with mixer. Add plenty of butter,
cracked black pepper, salt and sugar to taste. I especially like this spread on top of fresh, hot cornbread!

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Bronze Request Medal for All Time! 66 Requests
August 9, 20070 found this helpful

Boil the kale with some bacon or fatback. Add a little sugar, kale can be bitter. This is great with ham, rice, and cornbread. There is a cake you can make with pureed beets. I've never tried it but someone told me you can't taste the beets, they just make the cake very moist. Try the following for recipes:,, that' If you get really stuck for ideas is there a food bank, church, or homeless shelter you can give them too? I bet they'd be glad for the donation! Happy cooking!

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August 10, 20070 found this helpful

Leeks: I love leeks in quiche, so you might want to try that. PLUS it's very cheap to make since it's mostly eggs, it freezes good too, if you use the right recipe. Here is mine:

Basic recipe:

4 eggs
1 cup of cottage cheese
shredded cheese (of your choice)
pepper (no salt as cottage cheese is already salted)

To this basic recipe (which I usually triple) you can add different spices: parsley, chives, red pepper, etc...

And different vegetable: leeks, spinach, mushrooms.
No need to cook the leeks just wash the dirty one, dry real good, and cut in smaller pieces. lay it at the bottom of a dish that you put some butter or margarine all around (I use the same one that I use for lasagna) OR make a pie crust to cover bottom and sides.

Put your shredded cheese, quantity is to your liking, and put the egg mixture in.

Cook in the oven at 350F for about an hour or until golden and bubbly.

This is the best quiche recipe if you want to freeze it after ward. Obviously because it doesn't use milk or cream, it is surprisingly good.

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Silver Post Medal for All Time! 364 Posts
August 13, 20070 found this helpful

Suggest you check out vegetarian cookbooks.

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By Tigger1971 (Guest Post)
August 13, 20070 found this helpful

here's a great Kale recipe

2 T. plus 1/4 c. chicken or veggie broth
1 clove of garlic
1 med leek, sliced
1 large or 2 med bunches of kale cut into bite size pieces

In a large saute pan, with lid, heat 2 T broth over med heat, add the garlic and leek and saute until soft
Add the kale and the rest of the stock....cover.

lower the heat to low and cook for 7 - 9 minutes. The Kale will be a bright green and not mushy.

you can serve as is or top with soy sauce, lemon juice, or even more garlic

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August 13, 20070 found this helpful

Japanese recipes:

Turnips: peel, slice thinly, and sprinkle with a little salt. Rub slices together so the salt gets spread around. Eat immediately for crunchiness or put in refrigerator for a Japanese kind of pickle-- they soften a bit due to the salt. Turnip greens: wash, cut stem into small pieces, steam for a minute, sprinkle with salt and eat on hot rice. (We do this with all kinds of greens such as daikon, as well. Never tried it with beet greens, though.)

Eggplant: slice thinly and soak in cold water (this takes away bitterness), cook in a bit of oil and water; add Japanese soy sauce (Kikkoman or other) and sesame oil. If you can find sesame oil with hot peppers added, use a little sprinkle of that. I add sliced green peppers to this recipe.

Cantate in Japan

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By Lois (Guest Post)
August 14, 20070 found this helpful

BAKED BEETS!!! Love them....just slice them open, put butter/margarine on the cut ends, put the ends back together, wrap in foil and bake until done

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By Sandra (Guest Post)
August 26, 20070 found this helpful

My very favorite thing to do with Beets is saute' them in olive oil with some red onion or fresh chives. They are so sweet and the onion gives it a little zip. As soon as they are tender they are done. You won't believe how good they are.

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September 1, 20070 found this helpful

Turnips can be sliced and diced and used in casseroles, stews and soups. Leeks just slice and use in any or all of the above.
Beet I'm not so sure about because of the UK/US translation. But if they are red with beautiful dark green leaves, you can eat the leaves raw or boiled like spinach, and the root can be boiled, then cooled, peeled (the skin just falls off once it's been cooked), and sliced or diced for salads.
If you are lucky enough to get parsnips, try them roasted with your favourite joint of meat. Hubby can't get enough of them like that, but they too can be sliced and diced as turnips.

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Bronze Request Medal for All Time! 65 Requests
September 11, 20070 found this helpful

Lucky you to receive such a nice gift! Someone must love you!

For me, when in doubt of how to cook something, I usually caramalize them.

Take good quality olive oil plus 1 tablespoon of butter in a frying pan (the butter is added to the oil so the oil won't burn - will work with any oil).

Heat the oil not till it's too hot, but around medium heat.
Add your vegetables and turn them around in the pan.
Lower the heat and gently saute them until they're golden brown.

Caramalizing brings out the sugar in the vegetable or fruit and makes it sweet tasting. Onions are good for this too and I've used many kind of vegetables this way.

I also agree with the tip about baking vegetables.
Wash and dry vegetables.
Toss them with oil, salt and pepper.
Place them in a shallow baking dish in a preheated 450 degree oven and bake until golden and soft.
This method also slowly brings out the sweetness.

Good luck! Good for you to be willing to experiment outside the norm!

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April 10, 20080 found this helpful

Wash beets and bake them just like potatoes. They are more nutritious because they are not cooked in water.

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September 3, 20090 found this helpful

Another idea: Kale, onion, beets & beet greens, tomatoes. For each person to be served, use:

1/2 small onion, peeled and diced
1 small to medium beet, peeled and diced
1/2 small to medium tomato, diced
4 large kale leaves, washed and ripped
4 beet leaves, washed and ripped
(All amounts approximate.)

You'll also need olive oil and the original Mrs. Dash or your favorite seasoning. Add a small amount of olive oil to frying pan; use a wadded paper towel to spread it to a thin layer covering pan. Add onion and beets and saute, stirring often. When cooked to desired texture,, add kale, beet greens, tomato, and Mrs. Dash to taste.

Stir frequently; continue cooking until greens are just soft. Best if eaten while hot. Very adjustable recipe; you can throw in anything that sounds good!

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