Garden to Table: Cooking Fresh

Great cooking starts with great ingredients. Make the most of your home vegetable garden by cooking delicious recipes where the veggies of your labor can truly be savored. There are thousands of nutrient-packed garden to table recipes to choose from, but as any gardener knows, keeping it simple can be absolutely perfect.

Nothing beats that first bite into a juicy tomato plucked fresh off the vine or gently steamed broccoli from your own backyard. Use the vegetable garden recipes below as inspirations, but always feel free to add additional ingredients to satisfy your palette.

Simple Basil and Garlic Pesto

Fresh pesto is phenomenal over whole grain noodles or a lightly grilled chicken breast for an easy summer dinner. You can also stir it into cream cheese or sour cream for an extra punch in a delicious veggie dip. The recipe below serves 12, and takes just 15 minutes to prepare.


  • 3 cups chopped fresh basil
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1/8 cup Brazil nuts
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder


Place the basil in a blender. Pour in about 1 tablespoon of the oil, and blend basil into a paste. Gradually add pine nuts, Brazil nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, chili powder and remaining oil. Continue to blend until smooth. (

Grilled Tricolor Peppers

Bell peppers are a sweet and nutritious source of vitamin C and vitamin A. Just one serving of Grilled Tricolor Peppers provides two times your daily requirement of vitamin C - for just 68 calories!


  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and sliced into strips
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and sliced into strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and sliced into strips
  • 1 large Vidalia onion, sliced into strips
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Coat grill with cooking spray and heat on high. Toss bell peppers, onion, oil, salt and pepper in a bowl. Grill, turning occasionally, until vegetables soften, for about 15 minutes. Serve immediately. (

Roasted Carrots

Carrots are jampacked with fiber and provide more than four times your daily value of vitamin A in just one serving. Try roasting a variety of carrots from your garden - yellow, orange, purple, etc. - for a beautiful side dish. Then pair them with a succulent steak or grilled tilapia for a real treat.


  • 12 carrots
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill or parsley


Preheat the oven to 400° F. If the carrots are thick, cut them in half lengthwise; if not, leave whole. Slice the carrots diagonally in 1 1/2-inch-thick slices. (The carrots will shrink while cooking so make the slices big.) Toss them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Transfer to a sheet pan in 1 layer and roast in the oven for 20 minutes, until browned and tender. Toss the carrots with minced dill or parsley, season to taste and serve. (The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook)


The Dirt from Troy-Bilt®, July/August 2014