Shelling Beans

This week’s CSA box had a bag of Tongue of Fire shelling beans, a newly ready crop here on the farm. Perhaps unfamiliar to some, the pink and white beans can be shelled and cooked in a variety of tasty ways.

To prepare the beans, pop them out of the shell and boil for 20-30 minutes. The beans can then be put into soups, stir fries and salads.

Preserving the Beansbeans

Shelling beans can be frozen once they have been cooked. The beans can also be dried by spreading out the beans, still in the shells, in a warm, dry place, until the shells dry and become brittle, which may take about a week. Beans can then be kept in an airtight container for several months if properly dried.

What to make?

This week at the farm, we had the below recipe with shelling beans with our Wednesday volunteers:

Black Kale and Shelling Bean Salad


  • 2 bunches black (Lacinato) kale, chopped
  • 1 cup shelled beans, cooked for 20-30 min until tender
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 TB Apple cider vinegar
  • 1 TB Olive oil
  • 1 TB Honey or maple syrup

Massage the kale in the lemon juice and vinegar, and leave to soak for 10 minutes. Add the beans. Then, mix the sweetener in with the olive oil, and drizzle over the kale and beans.

Cabbage Love

Savoy Cabbage

Savoy Cabbage

Cabbage! CSA members are finding a green cabbage in their harvest boxes this week, and market goers will also see cabbages on our tables most weeks. At Rootdown, we grow four different kinds of cabbage. Green and red cabbages, which people are most familiar with, as well as Savoy (a darker green, more crinkly variety) and Napa (more Chinese-cabbage style).

Such a large vegetable, and sometimes it’s hard to know what to do with it. Here are a few suggestions.

Green, Red and/or Savoy Cabbage

The first, and probably most obvious choice, is coleslaw, and is a great use of cabbage. For best results, slice the cabbage very thinly (try a mandolin slicer), and add other veggies like carrots or hakurei turnips (Rootdown favourites!), or even shredded beets. Dressings can be creamy or vinegary, whatever your preference.

Although I haven’t personally tried to make it, I have immensely enjoyed eating the Japanese Okonomiyaki that our friends at Jeggs make (find them at the Whistler Farmers Market). They use our cabbage to make these, which are like Japanese omelets or pancakes – reminds me of my years in Japan! I have found an Okonomiyaki recipe that would be worth trying.



For other cabbage recipes, check out these 23 Easy Cabbage Recipes.

Napa Cabbage

This version of cabbage may or may not be familiar to you. It is a longer, milder cabbage, and is great in stir fries or sliced thinly into salads and wraps of all kinds.

If ever you find yourself at our market stall or picking up your CSA box, and there’s a vegetable that you’re not familiar with, not sure what to do with, or want to know the tastiest way to prepare it, please ask! We can also give you great information on how to make your vegetables last even longer.

Battle of the Zucchinis


As any vegetable gardener or farmer knows, at this time of year, it can seem as if the zucchinis are never ending! With all of the sunshine, they often grow so fast that they need to be harvested every 2-3 days, and even so, each harvest yields a few giants.
If you visit our market stall, you’ll find lots of zucchini of all sizes there, and to help you with the dilemma of what to do with them, here are some of our favourite zucchini uses.

Grilled Zucchini

One of the easiest ways to use large zucchinis is to grill them. Here is a Rootdown farm favourite:

  • Start with thick slices of zucchini – for a firmer zucchini, try the Romanesco variety, which stays firm when cooked
  • In a bowl, mix olive oil, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper into a paste
  • Brush onto both sides of each slice of zucchini
  • Grill on bbq or in the oven

Zucchini Bread

A popular use of giant zucchinis because the zucchini can be grated and frozen into zucchini bread portions to be used throughout the winter. This recipe is from the cookbook How It All Vegan! by Tanya Barnard and  Sarah Kramer, and is a popular morning snack at Rootdown.

Preheat oven to 350ᵒ.


  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder½ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg or egg replacer equivalent
  • ½ cup sweetener
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups zucchini, grated
  • ½ cup chocolate chips or raisins
  • ½ cup nuts, chopped (optional)
  • ¼ cup water (if needed)

Sift together dry ingredients. Add egg, sweetener, oil, vinegar, vanilla, and mix. Stir in zucchini and other ingredients until “just mixed.” Add a little water if dough seems too dry. Spoon into lightly oiled loaf pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes.

Zucchini Fritters

This vegan version has added tasty protein.

  • Grate zucchini and place in colander. Add salt and leave for at least 30 min to allow water to drain out.
  • Boil yellow or orange lentils until ready to eat.
  • Mix together zucchini, lentils,1/2 cup flour, and spices (suggested: salt, pepper, thyme, sage; alternatively, try indian spices)
  • Heat oil, and drop in balls of the batter. Flatten and fry to the desired consistency.

Summer Stir Fry

A simple but tasty dish. Slice zucchini thickly and add near the end to avoid mushiness.

  • chop a variety of in-season veggies, such as carrots, spring onions, garlic (or scapes), zucchini/summer squash, beans, peas, broccoli, kale.
  • Stir fry in a small amount of oil, or water, starting with the firmer veggies such as carrots, and adding the softer ones closer to the end.
  • Flavour with a simple sauce of soy sauce, mirin or sweet vinegar, sesame oil and chilis, or any other favourite sauce.
  • Serve with rice or noodes.

Raw Vegan Spaghetti

For a gluten-free, raw, vegan version of pasta, try zucchini noodles, a great way to use large zucchinis. See this Steamy Kitchen recipe.


For other recipes and suggestions for using summer squash and zucchini, see this page from Bon Appetit.


Our CSA members have had two of their weekly harvest boxes so far this season! One of the best, but also most daunting, aspects of getting a harvest box is being introduced to new and unfamiliar vegetables, or vegetables that you have a lot of and are not quite sure what to do with.
One thing we definitely don’t want is for vegetables to waste away in the refridgerator, unused and unloved, and eventually composted (please, oh please, don’t put it in the garbage!). So here are a few of our favourite recipes for some of the either less familiar or highly plentiful vegetables. Remember, especially early in the season, vegetables are young and tender and flavourful, so keeping it simple is best. And when in doubt, just chop everything up and stir fry with your favourite sauce!

collardsCollard Wraps
Collard leaves are highly nutritious, but their size and unfamiliarity makes them one item that you may be tempted to let waste away in the fridge. We had this one for lunch last week on the farm, and it was very tasty.


  • Cook a grain staple such as rice or quinoa
  • Mix in a few tasty vegetables and/or beans, such as small pieces of broccoli, garlic, onions, and stir fry in some oil.
  • Season with salt, pepper, and fresh herbs, such as parsley, if available, or dried herbs and spices such as sage, basil.
  • When all of it is cooked, mix together


  • Cut out the thickest part of the stem. Depending on the size of the leaf, you may want to cut the leaf in half.
  • Steam collard leaves lightly, until soft but not falling apart.
  • Allow leaves to cool.
  • Using one collard leaf, take a spoonful or two of the inside mixture, place in the centre of the leaf, tuck in the sides and roll up, and place the roll on a platter.


Garlic Scape Pesto

Garlic scape

Garlic scape

Garlic scapes are the flowering top of the garlic plant, and has a milder garlic flavour.

Using a food processor or blender, combine the following:

  • 3-4 garlic scapes
  • 2 cups of fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (can be replaced with water or stock for lighter pesto)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts (or other nut such as peanuts)
  • Serve pesto on top of pasta, rice, salmon, chicken, in sandwiches, or anywhere else! A great way to add some flavour to any dish.

Crunchy-Top Cauliflower
While probably familiar from childhood, you may be wondering how to make this vegetable new and exciting. This recipe is one of my favourites.
Crunchy-Top Cauliflower recipe – Canadian Living

We’ll continue to post recipes for those difficult to use vegetables. Please feel free to comment with your favourite recipes, or requests for other recipes for certain veggies!