Eating Wisely: Using Summer’s Harvest

Basket with summer harvestRecently, a reader contacted New Beginnings to request help in tracking down a few favorite La Leche League recipes that she had lost track of over the years. One recipe in particular – the spinach loaf from Whole Foods For The Whole Family – had us wondering what other recipes might be perfect for this time of year when many of us are experiencing a plentiful harvest in our personal gardens, frequently visiting farmers markets, or enjoying the fresh produce available at local stores.

We’ll start this blog post off with the recipe for Spinach Loaf, which the original contributors promised that “even dedicated spinach-haters agree that this is good.”

Spinach Loaf – Whole Foods For The Whole Family, p. 179 – Serves 6

  • 10 oz. chopped fresh spinach or thawed and drained frozen spinach
  • ½ cup cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (Vegan (V) – non-dairy cheese)*
  • 1 egg, beaten (V – commercial vegan egg substitute)
  • ½ teaspoon or less salt
  • Dash of pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice


  1. Combine all ingredients in bowl; mix well.
  2. Spoon into buttered loaf pan.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.
  4. Serve with a white or cheese sauce. May substitute 1/3 cup bread crumbs for ½ cup cracker crumbs.

If spinach doesn’t appeal to you, we found a unique take on a pasta dish that will also use a variety of vegetables you may have on hand. Perhaps a plate of Fresh Vegetable Spaghetti will hit the spot on one of these final days of summer.

Fresh Vegetable Spaghetti – Whole Foods For The Whole Family, p. 166 – Serves 8

  • 4 cups chopped fresh broccoli
  • 2 cups pea pods
  • 2 cups fresh green beans
  • 2 cups fresh peas
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 4 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon (or less) salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup milk (V – non-dairy milk)
  • 2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese (V – non-dairy cheese or nutritional yeast)
  • 1 pound spaghetti, cooked


  1. Blanch broccoli, pea pods, beans and peas in boiling water in saucepan for 3 minutes; drain and set aside.
  2. Sauté mushrooms, tomatoes, basil, parsley, and garlic with salt in olive oil in saucepan until mushrooms are tender.
  3. Stir in milk and cheese.
  4. Cook over low heat until heated through.
  5. Add blanched vegetables.
  6. Cook until heated through. Serve over spaghetti.

Baked goods can also be an easy and delicious way to use a bounty of summer produce. When Linda Helminiak contributed a recipe for Summer Squash Rolls to Whole Foods For The Whole Family, she noted, “My children aren’t fond of cooked squash, and this is a good way to introduce the taste of it.”

Summer Squash Rolls – Whole Foods For The Whole Family, p. 123. – Yields 24

  • 3 ¾ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 3 tablespoons honey (V – agave nectar)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 1 cup grated yellow squash
  • ¾ cup milk (V – non-dairy milk such as oat, soy, almond)
  • 1 egg (V – commercial vegan egg substitute or flax egg as described in previous post)
  • ½ teaspoon dill weed


  1. Combine 1 ½ cups flour, yeast, honey, and garlic salt.
  2. Heat oil, squash, and milk in saucepan to 120 degrees.
  3. Pour into flour mixture, stirring well.
  4. Add egg and dill weed, stirring until soft dough forms. Add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.
  5. Knead for 5 minutes.
  6. Let rise 1 ½ hours or until doubled.
  7. Punch down and divide into 24 balls.
  8. Place in 2 greased 8-inch round pans.
  9. Let rise for 45 minutes or until nearly doubled (in size).
  10. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Cook on racks or serve warm.

If you feel overwhelmed by the amount of zucchini currently in your home, you are probably not alone! Here’s a recipe from Feed Yourself, Feed Your Family that will help you use up some of it.

Carrot-Zucchini Bread – Feed Yourself, Feed Your Family, p. 239 – Makes 1 loaf

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¼ cups sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 3 large eggs (V – Commercial vegan egg substitute or flax egg as described in previous post)
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • ½ teaspoon orange zest
  • ¾ cup chopped walnuts, optional


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.
  2. Sift together the flours, baking powder, allspice, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Beat the sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a medium bowl until well blended. Add to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in the carrots, zucchini, zest, and nuts. Transfer to the prepared pan.
  4. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 20 minutes.
  5. Let cook in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Unmold and let cool completely on the wire rack.

*Vegan (V) alternatives are suggested by La Leche League daughter Delia Monken, New Jersey, USA.

What are you preparing in your kitchen? We’d love to hear about it! Send your recipes and tips to Amy at [email protected].

Please send your story ideas to Amy at [email protected].

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