Side Dishes - Straight from the Farmers Market

Families, Food and Fitness January 03, 2011 Print Friendly and PDF

Author: Shewana Hairston, Family and Consumer Science Agent, Virginia Tech, Virginia Cooperative Extension

Are you bored with your usual Fall side dishes? Visiting your local farmer’s market can help spice up your family dinners and Thanksgiving celebration.

Check out what’s in season and try something new. Downloading Cooking with Local Foods can also give you some fresh ideas. Instead of squash casserole, try "Autumn Squash Soup" loaded with apples, cilantro, squash and pumpkin (recipe below). Instead of regular butter biscuits try making fluffy Sweet Potato biscuits. These recipes are easy to make and they are loaded with vitamin C to ward off that nasty cold. Not only will you wow your family with delicious and creative side dishes but buying locally and in season will help cut your food cost.

Shopping for fruits and vegetables

Some Farmers Markets schedule special days where Extension Staff or local chefs conduct food demonstrations. This gives you a chance to sample recipes before you make them. Meeting local chefs gives you an idea of what restaurants are buying fresh, locally-grown produce.

You don’t have to be a professional chef to have an exciting meal. Try steaming some carrots and adding fresh corn. The colors in "Baby Corn with Carrots" will look wonderful on your table and remind everyone of the fall season (the recipe is below). Another easy, quick dish is roasted cauliflower. Look below for the "Roasted Cauliflower with Paprika" recipe.

Steamed broccoli is a healthful, easy side dish. Select some fresh broccoli, steam, add some Mrs. Dash and some almonds and you have a dish full of calcium and vitamin C.

Fruit dishes are a must for your Holiday table. Try making chutney. Fruits used in chutneys include mango, apple, apricot, cranberry, date, papaya, peach, pear, pineapple, plum, tomato and mixed fruit. Raisins and nuts are often added to compliment the texture. Chutney can be used as a stand-alone side dish, a dip for cheese and crackers or to enhance the flavor of a turkey casserole. Recipes for "Cranberry Orange Chutney" and "Late-Harvest Western-Style Chutney" below.

Fruits also make wonderful toppings for side salads. Need a salad in a hurry? Use spinach, cut up some apples and celery, add walnuts and top with a vinaigrette dressing. Want to be more creative? Try the "Cabbage Fruit Salad" recipe listed below.

To locate the closet farmers market near you to buy fresh produce to make the side dishes listed in this article, please visit the Local Harvest Website.


Autumn Squash Soup

From: Cooking with Local Foods, Virginia Cooperative Extension

4 tablespoons butter
2 cups yellow onion(s)
1 tablespoon curry powder (optional)
3 pounds butternut squash, other autumn squashes, or pumpkin
2 tart apples
5-6 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 cup apple cider or apple juice
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Granny Smith apple
Parsley or cilantro

Peel, core, and chop tart apples. Leave Granny Smith Apple unpeeled, shred and set aside. Finely chop yellow onion. Melt butter in a large pot. Add chopped onion and curry powder, cover and cook over low heat until onions are tender, about 15 minutes. Peel the squash, scrape out seeds, and chop into large cubes. When the onions are tender, add 4 cups of stock, squash and tart apples, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until squash and apples are tender, about 25 minutes. “Puree” soup with a potato masher. (For a smoother texture, puree soup in a food processor or food mill). Add apple cider or juice and 1-2 cups additional stock until soup is desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer briefly to heat through and serve. Garnish with shredded apple and chopped parsley or cilantro.

This soup will keep in the refrigerator for several days.
Makes 8-10 servings

Per serving:
147 Calories
5 g Fat
2 g Protein
24 g Carbohydrates
3 g Fiber
1342 mg Sodium

Diabetic exchanges:
1 Starch
1/2 Vegetable
1/2 Fruit
1 Fat

Baby Corn with Carrots

From: Texas Cooperative Extension website

This simple side dish of young vegetables is a great way to make carrots more interesting.

1/2 cup water
1-1/2 cups baby carrots
1 teaspoon sugar or honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups baby corn, husked
1 teaspoon dried parsley

Bring water to a boil. Add carrots along with sweetener and salt. Cover. Cook for 5-7 minutes. Add baby corn and parsley, cook an additional 5 minutes; add more water if necessary.

Serves 4 as a side-dish.

Calories 34
Fat 0.3 g
Protein 1.3 g
Carbohydrate 7.4 g
Fiber 1.9 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Vit. A 678 RE
Vit. C 7.3 mg
Sodium 163 mg
Calcium 19 mg
Iron 0.6 mg

Roasted Cauliflower with Paprika

From: Texas Cooperative Extension website

Preparation Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes Serves: 4

1 head cauliflower, cored and broken into small florets
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
Coarse salt and ground pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spread cauliflower on foil. Sprinkle with oil and paprika; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Roast until tender and lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes, tossing once.

Nutrition facts per serving:
Calories: 74
Total Fat: 7 g
Cholesterol: 0 g
Sodium: 20 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 4 g
Protein: 1.4 g

Cranberry Orange Chutney

From: Georgia Cooperative Extension

24 ounces fresh whole cranberries
2 cups chopped white onion
2 cups golden raisins
1½ cups white sugar
1½ cups packed brown sugar
2 cups white distilled vinegar (5 percent)
1 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons grated orange zest
4 teaspoons peeled, grated fresh ginger
3 sticks cinnamon

Start by washing the jars. Keep them hot until ready to use. Prepare lids according to manufacturer's directions. Rinse cranberries well. Combine all ingredients in a large Dutch oven. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 15 minutes or until cranberries are tender. Stir often to prevent scorching. Remove cinnamon sticks and discard. Fill the hot chutney into the clean, hot half-pint jars, leaving a half-inch of headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims with a damp paper towel. Apply two-piece metal canning lids. Process them in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes. Time may need to be longer at high altitudes. Let them cool undisturbed for 12 hours to 24 hours and check seals.

Late-Harvest Western-Style Chutney

From: Georgia Cooperative Extension

Makes about 4- 1/2 pint jars

1 cup dried plums (prunes)
1 ½ cups apple cider vinegar
2 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon coriander seed, ground
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 to 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
3 medium-sized (crisp) apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 cup currents
1 cup onions, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

  1. Wash 4 half pint jars and 4 screw bands. Prepare lids according to manufactures directions: set aside. For canned chutney; fill water bath canner half full and heat to boiling.
  2. Place dried plums in a small saucepan and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Boil for 10 minutes. Drain, cool, and chop.
  3. Combine vinegar, sugar, coriander, cinnamon, salt and pepper in an enameled or stainless steel pan. Heat to boiling; add prepared plums, apples, currents, onions, and tomatoes.
  4. Cover and continue to boil, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, for about 20 to 30 minutes, until thick.
  5. Carefully ladle into jars. Wipe jar rims. Adjust lids and process for 15 minutes or refrigerate jars and use within 3 months.

Note: This recipe can be doubled or tripled with very good results.

Fruits also make wonderful toppings for side salads. Need a salad in a hurry? Use spinach, sliced apples and celery, and walnuts. Top with a vinaigrette dressing. Want to be more creative? Try the cabbage recipe below.

Cabbage Fruit Salad

From: Georgia Cooperative Extension

Serves: 6
Preparation Time: 20 minutes

2 cups cabbage, shredded
2 oranges, sectioned and seeded
1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained
2 medium apples, chopped
4 tablespoons plain low fat yogurt
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons chopped peanuts and/or raisins (optional)

Wash your hands and clean your cooking area. Wash and prepare cabbage, oranges, and apples as directed. Mix all ingredients. Top with peanuts and/or raisins.
Optional topping: peanuts and/or raisins

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:
Calories: 90
Total Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 15 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 22 g
Protein: 2 g

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.