5 Cookbooks To Help You Use Up Your CSA Box

published Jul 25, 2014
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(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

Did you sign up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box this season? If you’re receiving a weekly delivery of ever more bountiful vegetables and running out of ideas for your zucchini, squash, kale, and beets, then maybe you just need a new cookbook friend.

Here are five cookbooks helping me to cook through every delicious (and healthy) bit of my CSA box.

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Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero (Image credit: Amazon)

Cookbooks have been piling up on our kitchen island for weeks as I’ve tried to figure out which to include in this post. There are so many great ones that can’t be ignored! I finally chose five favorite cookbooks that are sure to provide lots of inspiration for using up your weekly CSA.

Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

I still reach for this cookbook even though I’m no longer vegan. It’s just such a great resource! It includes such excellent basic recipes and veggie preparations that it works whether you’re a vegan, a vegetarian, or an omnivore. It has also taught me so much about ratios and how to cook various vegetables and grains. I recommend it more as a reference book than anything else.

How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman

If you don’t own this cookbook or have its mobile app counterpart, you are truly missing out. Both are excellent kitchen resources and can teach anyone how to cook anything. It’s always the first book that my husband and I turn to when we’re setting out to make something we’ve never tackled, and our copy is stained from use and well worn with dog-eared pages and scribbled notes.

Because this cookbook contains thousands of recipes, I’m not going to cite our favorites. Instead, I’ll share with you how we use it. We are the kinds of cooks who read multiple recipes before starting any kitchen project, but yet we rarely follow any recipe to a T (except when canning). We read this book to understand the best preparation practices and flavor renditions and often we turn to “fancier” cookbooks for unique additions. Then we combine various instructions for our own take on whatever it is that we’re cooking. Do you cook like this? What’s your favorite basic cookbook? You know, the one whose pages sick together because something splattered on it.

In Season by Sarah Raven

My husband gave me this cookbook in 2008 for my birthday and it quickly became a household favorite. It’s based on the seasonal vegetable calendar and is organized first by months and second by fruits and vegetables. A few of our favorites include Fried Cabbage with Juniper, Vegetable Korma, Chilled Pea Soup with Roasted Garlic, Zucchini and Lemon Salad, and Chard and Coconut Soup. The recipes are easy to follow and are always more flavorful than expected considering how simply the recipes are written. Two dishes that we have yet to try but sound delicious are Lettuce Hearts with Hot Butter Dressing and Zucchini Risotto. Oh, and there are the most beautiful tomato-based recipes in this book! I’m definitely keeping my fingers crossed that our CSA holds up to its promise of tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes!

Moosewood Restaurant Favorites

The recipes in this cookbook are absolutely fabulous! They are flavorful, creative, and fresh, and they do not disappoint. It’s easy to find recipes by ingredient, which is the main challenge of getting through your CSA stock. Two dishes we love are Cream of Spinach Soup and Caribbean Red Beans. This year we opted for Moosewood’s Caribbean Back-Eyed Pea recipe in lieu of the standard one we make for the New Year, and I still dream about that meal! This cookbook also has a section just for salad dressings and that was really helpful early in the season when lettuce was abundant.

Canning for a New Generation by Liana Krissoff

I love this book! It’s an amazing resource. The author thoroughly explains the canning process and the science behind it. I read it twice before my first canning project, so I really felt confident throughout the process and the results were truly delicious. My two favorite recipes are Classic Peach Jam and Navel Orange and Lemon Marmalade. But I’m really looking forward to pickling the veggies we can’t get through each week during our CSA. The Classic Cucumber Relish and Achar Segar (Indonesian Quick Pickle) recipes look amazing.

Cookbook Honorable Mentions