Menu Planning with Your CSA or Organic Veggie Delivery

I have a friend–let’s call her “Glee”–who recently admitted to me that she canceled her CSA membership because too many veggies were withering in the fridge.  “Meal planning is just impossible,” she said.  Many CSAs operate only during summer months, but in mild climates like ours, they go year-round.  Here in Oregon, your winter CSA selections will consist of many rutabagas, potatoes, and beets.

That does sound like a challenge!   I don’t belong to a CSA.  Since I don’t have a car, it just wouldn’t work for me.  However, I do have something similar, which I’ve mentioned before: every other week, I get a box of organic vegetables delivered to my door.  Now, unlike a CSA, 100% of the vegetables are not local, which means I get a little extra variety, although I suppose I lose a few eco-points for that luxury.

Unlike “Glee,” however, I find meal-planning with my organic veggie delivery is very easy.  I never planned menus or meals before, but now that I’m forced to eat through fifteen pounds of vegetables in two weeks, I can plan meals based on what I receive.

Here’s what arrived on my door one Monday morning:

  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Leeks
  • green pepper
  • eggplant
  • Swiss chard
  • lettuce
  • mushrooms
  • potatoes
  • beets (steamed, pureed, and froze for future chocolate beet cake)
  • broccoli
  • tomatoes

And here’s what I made for dinner over the next two weeks:

  • Brussels sprouts with wild rice, feta, and hazelnuts (organic Brussels sprouts were on sale for $.99/lb at the store)
  • Potatoes au gratin with salad
  • Eggplant parmesan with salad
  • Sweet potato cakes with salad
  • Swiss chard enchiladas
  • pasta with broccoli, tomatoes, feta
  • peanut noodles with carrots (x2)
  • veggie burgers with sautéed mushrooms and homemade buns
  • spicy cauliflower with homemade naan
  • flamiche aux poireaux (leek tart) with sliced apples
  • green beans and potatoes (green beans were frozen)

We also ate out one night and had leftovers another night.

What I like about basing my meals around my organic veggies is that I don’t have to menu plan in the traditional sense.  I can just look at my veggies, think of a meal, and make it.  Almost everything I made during those two weeks required nothing but the vegetables and a few staples (flour, eggs, pasta, etc.).   I make sure to eat up the more delicate vegetables like lettuce first, and I very rarely waste anything.

My veggie-based meal planning helps me spend much less on food than the average family.  (Here‘s where I explain how I spend just $175 a month on mostly organic groceries.)  On Friday I’ll dish about what we eat for breakfasts, lunches, and snacks–so stay tuned!

This post is a part of We are THAT Family’s Works for Me Wednesday blog carnival.

Comments

  1. Hi,
    I was wondering, how do you get a box of organic veggies delivered to your door? That sounds awesome. I didn’t see the info on your grocery shopping entry.
    thanks!

  2. do you use Door to Door organics? that’s what I use and really like it!

  3. i can totally relate to your friend “glee”. the first year we did a csa, we wasted so many veggies. (well not totally wasted – we fed them to our chickens!) but each year gets easier.

    have you seen the cookbook asparagus to zucchini — so many great ideas for using and preserving fresh produce!

  4. Hi. I was just surfing around some blogs, and I came across yours. It’s pretty nifty and I’m really enjoying my stay here. I’ve bookmarked your site for daily visits, and I hope you’ll visit me. I’d love to have you. 🙂 Have a great day and I’ll see you around the blogosphere. 🙂

  5. I also receive produce delivery (every other week) and find myself wasting some of it. As a vegetarian from a meat-and-potatoes family, I have difficulty developing simple meals since I don’t eat most of what I was raised on. Having a carb-heavy veggie-lite husband only makes this duty more difficult. Any suggestions on expanding my basic list of meals that can be adjusted to fit different eating styles?

  6. Thanks for the comments, everyone. The service I use is called Organics to You (http://organicstoyou.org), which I believe is just here in Portland. It’s good to here that there are similar services in other parts of the country, too!

    Marcie, one thing I did a while ago was make a list of all the meals we like to eat. That way, whenever I thought, “there’s nothing I want to eat!”, I could look at the list and say, “Oh yeah, I can make spaghetti or tortilla espanola or . . . .” If I were you and had a husband like yours, I might make stuff like potatoes au gratin, baked potatoes, and macaroni and cheese as main courses, and then serve salads or veggies on the side. A meat eater could add meat to those, and everyone could pick and choose how much of everything to eat. So you could still eat a huge salad and a little potatoes, but your husband could eat a bunch of meat and potatoes and just a little (or no) salad.

    Maybe our readers have some other ideas for you!

  7. I just had to comment on this topic – I was running into the same problem, and finally decided to make a CSA meal planner to deal with this issue:

    http://mealplanner.EatRealGood.com

    I hope this is helpful for folks. You just enter the produce you are getting in your vegbox, and the meal planner will bring back recipes that use your veggies efficiently. You can refine your search for vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, crockpot meals, and 5 ingredients or less recipes.

    Check it out!

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