CSA Challenge Week 3: Meal Planning (and Collard Greens!)

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Having a CSA means that you essentially buy a share of a local farm. Throughout the growing season, you receive weekly produce from them. The price for organic produce is less than what you would pay at a grocery store; the trade-off, but also the joy, is that there are no guarantees as to what you will get.

We get our CSA on Wednesday, then go to the Farmer’s Market on Saturday. I plan meals based on the fresh produce that we pick up twice a week. This is actually easier than it sounds, because of this secret: I vary the produce I use, but I don’t really vary the types of meals I eat. This keeps it simple without being boring. I know myself (and I’m guessing you might be similar) and I will only stick to a healthy habit if it’s easy. Here’s how this looks:

  • Every week I make a stir fry. I use the same sauce and a pound of tofu each week, but the vegetables vary according to what’s available, so it always feels new.
  • Every week I make a Mexican Sauté. I use either black beans or pinto beans to add variety. Again, I use the seasonal produce that’s available, although I will add frozen vegetables and a bell pepper to this.
  • Every week I make a pasta with protein, greens, flavoring, and tomato sauce. This also always feels fresh, because I will grab a handful of herbs from the garden to flavor it, and this varies slightly each week. Some weeks garbanzo beans might supply the protein, other weeks it will be Field Roast Italian Sausage. One week I might use a can of whole tomatoes to make a chunkier sauce, another week I might puréed tomatoes (I also have a pasta sauce recipe).
  • Because I make these basic meals so often, they go pretty quickly for me, but I also try to include a super easy meal to give myself a break. Veggie burgers make an excellent choice for this, or my sister’s burger bowl recipe.
  • Every week I will make salads for dinner, using the produce that’s available and nuts and seeds that I keep on hand.

Here’s how that looked this week:

CSA week three

We received beets, collard greens, broccoli, garlic scapes, garlic, lettuce, radishes, and snap peas.

  • The stir fry included the broccoli and snap peas.
  • The Mexican Sauté included kale from the Farmer’s Market.
  • The pasta used a can of basil flavored tomatoes I had in the cabinet, along with Field Roast sausage, garlic scapes, and beet greens.
  • We had black bean veggie burgers (store bought) on whole wheat store-bought buns, topped with avocado and greens from our garden. We ate collard greens and a salad (with lettuce, beets, radishes, and local cucumbers) to accompany this.

It’s easy to make your own collard greens. Simply remove the stems from the greens and chop them. Then, sauté a few cloves of garlic in olive oil over medium heat for about thirty seconds. Then, add the chopped greens and a few splashes of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or soy sauce (I’d highly recommend the liquid aminos for their smoky flavor). Cover, and cook for a few minutes, until the collards are soft but still retain a bright green color.

CSA burger

CSA salad

This week, think about what could be your staple meals. Choose some flavors you love, then add the vegetables that you’re able to get locally. Maybe you’re only going to be able to think of one staple vegan meal for now. That’s OK. You have to run a mile before you run a marathon. Set yourself up for success and you’ll be surprised at the change that occurs.

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3 comments

  1. I like the reminder that you have to run a mile before you run a marathon. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed because I want to get everything figured out perfectly at once! Thank you for this inspiration and encouraging advice. 🙂

  2. Barbara · · Reply

    Your photos look so appealing. I’m thrilled that our tiny farmer’s market features collard greens this year, along with spinach, swiss chard, kale, various lettuces. The summer, with the many local farmer’s markets and CSAs, is such a great time to experiment with vegetables and new recipes.

  3. hikerart · · Reply

    Thanks for explaining what a CSA is. I like the idea of getting good food at a fair price with a surprise element. your weekly meal plans gives me ideas to use with my food plans. checked the 5ml serving sodium content of Briggs Liquid Aminos (320mg) to *Less Sodium Soy Sauce* (575mg). will be using the Briggs with my rice dishes.
    “eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” – Micheal Pollan

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