Gardeners’ Recipes

This extraordinary summer is capped by the acres of luscious produce still available from your garden or local farmers’ market. We asked our community gardeners how they enjoy the bounty.

Amanda’s Beets

“I like to cut the beets in thin slices to give a good beet-to-cheese ratio.” – Amanda LeNeve, Trinity Garden

1-3 fresh beets
goat cheese or feta
olive oil
fresh cracked pepper

Scrub beets, cutting off any gnarly bits and dress with a bit of oil, salt and pepper. Wrap tightly in tinfoil and roast in the oven (or on a barbecue) until soft, about 20-30 minutes. When cool enough to handle, slip off skins. Serve with cheese crumbled over, a drizzle of oil and seasoning. Add chopped mint if have.

Prairie Urban Farm Arugula Pesto

“We had a lot of arugula coming on at once. Pesto is a nice way to preserve it.” – Nicole Martin

3 cloves garlic (or to taste)
1 c arugula
½ c basil
handful walnuts
juice of 1 lemon
¼ c cold-pressed canola oil
sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

Chop garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Add arugula and basil with lemon juice and process until finely chopped. Add walnuts and oil and pulse until well mixed. Test for seasoning. Use right away or fill an ice cube tray and freeze for future use. Makes about ½ c.

Pea, Leek and Fennel Soup with Harissa Scallops

“I can’t remember where the original inspiration came from for this recipe. I make it in the summer when the peas are ready to harvest. The sweetness of the scallops matches that of the peas and counters the freshness of the fennel and spice in the marinade.” – Suzanne Pearson

1½ T butter or olive oil
2 sm shallots, diced finely
1 med fennel bulb, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ t fennel seeds, crushed or freshly ground
salt and pepper to taste
2 med leeks, white parts only sliced
3 c fresh peas
4 c chicken or vegetable broth

Saute the shallots, fennel and fennel seeds in the butter or olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the vegetables start to soften, about 3-5 minutes. Add the leeks and cook a further 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute before adding broth. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered 15 – 20 minutes or until vegetables are quite soft. Add the peas and cook for 5 – 6 minutes more.

Remove from heat and purée. Strain the soup using a fine mesh strainer to remove pulp and produce a fine silky texture. Return the soup to the heat and keep warm while you prepare the scallops.

Harissa Scallops

8-12 scallops depending on size
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T olive oil
1 t coriander
1 t cumin
½ t ground ginger
1 t Evoolution Harissa oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 lemon
creme fraiche and fresh mint, finely julienned for garnish.

In a medium bowl, toss scallops with oil, garlic, coriander, cumin, and ginger. Let sit for up to 20 minutes in the refrigerator. Heat a sauté pan to medium high and add scallops. Season with salt and pepper. Turn once as scallops start to become opaque and cook the other side for only a few minutes. Do not overcook. Remove from the heat and toss with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and harissa oil.

To serve: Ladle soup into 4 bowls. Spoon a few scallops onto the top of the soup. Drizzle with crème fraîche and garnish with fresh mint.

Serves 4.

Reclaim Urban Farm Peanut Sauce

“I use peanut sauce as a staple in my household in order to maximize the use of our garden produce — for salad rolls, lettuce wraps, fresh cut veggies and an easy stir-fry with chard, spinach and mustard greens.” – Ryan Mason

¼ c natural peanut butter
2 T soy sauce
2 T honey
juice of 2 limes
dash sesame oil
something hot — small minced hot pepper, dash of hot sauce, or chili paste.

Mix together until smooth and serve as dipping sauce or in a stir-fry.

Karen McFarlane’s Beet Greens

“I like to cook young and tender beet greens just like spinach. You can leave the little beets (the ones you weed out early in the season) attached to the greens. Wash, steam, and serve with butter and salt.” – Karen McFarlane, Cloverdale Community Garden Committee

3-5 handfuls beet greens

Steam until tender and serve with vinegar, butter and salt.

Serves 2.

Patti’s Salmon with New Potatoes and Beets

“Carrots and zucchini also roast nicely, particularly if sliced lengthwise and fairly thickly.” – Patti Hartnagel, Green and Gold Garden

1 salmon filet
fresh rosemary
a few fresh out-of-the-garden young beets, red, gold and chioggia cleaned and cubed
2-3 potatoes, cubed
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven or grill to 350.

Brush the fish with oil and sprinkle with salt and fresh rosemary. Place on a cookie sheet lines with foil.

Toss the beets and the potatoes, separately, with some olive oil and salt and pepper. Place on a second cookie sheet lined with foil.

Roast at 420 for about 20 until fish flakes easily with a fork. Season to taste and garnish with fresh herbs.

Serves 4 or 2 with leftovers.

Sarah and Eduardo’s Carrot Leek Soup with Thyme

Adapted from Fields of Greens by Annie Somerville

6 c vegetable stock
2 T olive oil
2 T unsalted butter
3 c sliced carrots (about 1½ pounds)
salt and pepper
1 c peeled and sliced potatoes, (about ½ pound)
1 lg leek, white part only
2 cloves garlic minced
½ t dried thyme
2 T heavy (whipping) cream optional
Gruyere cheese, grated
fresh thyme for garnish

Heat 1 T of the oil and butter in a soup pot; add the carrots, ½ t salt and a pinch of pepper. Saute over medium heat until the carrots begin to glisten and release their juices, about 10 minutes. Add 1 c stock, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen the sugars. Add 3 more cups stock and potatoes; bring the soup to a gentle boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes, until the carrots are very tender. Add 2 more cups of stock and puree in a blender or food processor until smooth. Return to the pot and cook over low heat.

While the soup is cooking, cut leek in half lengthwise, wash and thinly slice. Heat 1 T olive oil in a saute pan and add the leeks, garlic, ½ t salt, thyme and a pinch of pepper. Cover and cook over medium heat until the leeks are tender, 5 to 7 minutes. (The water on the washed leeks will help to wilt them.)

Add the leeks to the carrot puree and cook, uncovered, over low heat for another 30 minutes. Stir in cream if using and season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish each serving with cheese and sprinkle with fresh thyme.

Makes 9 to 10 cups.

Mint Lover’s Carrots

Fresh carrots with Zinter Brown Cool Mint Sauce poured over; it couldn’t be simpler or more delicious. Crack the jar, and the kitchen is filled with the exhilarating aroma of fresh mint.

1 bunch fresh carrots, trimmed
¼ c or so Zinter Brown Cool Mint Sauce

Steam carrots and toss with a generous amount of the sauce.

Sheena Moodie’s Kale Caesar

“This is a delicious savoury salad that tastes so healthy.” – Pamela Johnson, Riverdale Community Garden

1 lg head kale, chopped finely
1 carrot grated
1-2 beets peeled and grated
1 T hemp seeds
1 bag cherry tomatoes
2 T nutritional yeast


1 T fresh lemon juice
2 T hemp or flax seed oil seed
1 t garam masala
½ t Dijon mustard
1 t honey
2 t Bragg’s
sea salt and fresh-cracked black pepper to taste

Shake or whisk all ingredients until emulsified and season to taste.

Chop kale in thin strips, removing thick part of the stem.

Mix kale with carrots and beet if using. Massage dressing into the kale mixture and let it sit for at least a ½ hour. (The kale will soften with the liquid dressing and lemon juice.) Add hemp seeds, tomatoes and nutritional yeast.

Serves 4.

Kale and Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Parmesan

Adapted from Love, Broccoli and Dark Chocolate by Liz Pearson, Whitecap Books

Roasted Cauliflower

1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ t freshly ground black pepper
1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces (about 6 cups)
¼ c freshly grated Parmesan cheese


1 lg bunch kale
1 T extra virgin olive oil
2 t freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 t pure maple syrup
¼ t freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).

In a medium bowl whisk together the oil, lemon juice, garlic, pepper, and salt. Set aside.

Add the cauliflower to the oil mixture and toss to coat well.

Arrange the cauliflower in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, turning halfway through. (The cauliflower should be tender-crisp when done.) As soon as it comes out of the oven, toss the hot cauliflower with the cheese.

Meanwhile, make the kale salad. Using a sharp knife, remove the thick stem that runs along the centre of each kale leaf. Chop or tear the kale leaves into bite-size pieces. (You should have about 12 cups loosely-packed chopped kale.) In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Add the prepared kale. Using your hands, massage the dressing into the kale leaves until fully coated.

Add the roasted cauliflower to the kale salad and toss to combine well. Serve immediately.

Serves 4 to 6.

Mesquite Broccoli with Lemon Aioli

“Lemon compliments broccoli, adding a refreshing zip to the mundane vegetable we eat for Sunday supper. Who does not like aioli? It’s rich tangy flavour adds life to any grilled vegetable.” – Jimmy Ng, Wildflower Grill

Lemon Aioli

1 c mayonnaise
1 t roasted garlic puree
1 t honey
pinch kosher salt
fresh juice and zest from ½ lemon

Mix all ingredients together in a small mixing bowl. Keep chilled in the fridge.

Shallot Oil

½ c canola oil
½ c olive oil
1 sm shallot, sliced fine
2 cloves garlic, smashed

In a small saucepot, simmer oil on low to medium heat until you see garlic and shallots start to brown. Once shallots are brown, remove oil from the heat and strain out solids. Reserve the flavoured oil.

Vegetable Broth

This is a great way to build flavour — make a light poaching broth to par-cook the broccoli (or any vegetable).

8 c water
3 cloves garlic
1 c leeks, rough chopped
1 c carrot rough chopped
1 c celery rough chopped
1 t black peppercorn
2 t kosher salt
1 t honey

In a small saucepot, bring all the ingredients to a simmer for about 20 minutes. Strain out the stock so you can use it to poach the broccoli florets.

Aleppo chili seasoning

1 T Aleppo chili (find at the Anatolia Food Market, 15920 Stony Plain Road)
1 t Montreal steak spice
1 t smoked paprika
1 t ancho chilli powder
1 t kosher salt
1 t black pepper

Mortar the spices together or grind spices in coffee grinding machine. Reserve. (This can be used as a rub on a wide variety of vegetables and meats)


1 head broccoli, stems removed, leaving medium size florets

Have broccoli cut up into 2 bite sized pieces so it can be poached lightly in the vegetable broth for about 2-3 minute (al dente). Quickly remove from stock to chill in the refrigerator.

While the broccoli is cooling down, preheat your grill to about 400F or ready your charcoal. I choose mesquite wood but you substitute any wood chips for this.

Drizzle broccoli with shallot oil, toss lightly and then place it on the hot grill to give it some charred flavor for about 1-2 minutes. Spoon a good dollop of lemon aioli on a serving plate. Arrange grilled broccoli on the aioli and rub some of the aleppo chili seasoning on it. Enjoy this recipe with your favourite rib chops or just by itself as a starter.

Serves 4-6.

Cherry Tomato Salad with Bagna Cauda Vinaigrette

Bagna Cauda is a Piemontese tradition; a strongly-flavoured anchovy-based dip served hot with raw vegetables, usually during the holidays. Daniel Costa (corso 32, Bar Bricco) created a dip like this, serving it as a first course with impeccable raw vegetables at a Prova sparkling wine event.

1 bag Gull Valley mixed cherry tomatoes (or equivalent)
2 sm head butter, little gem or any other soft lettuce, washed and leaves separated


1 tin anchovy fillets in oil, drained and rinsed of excess salt.
2 cloves garlic (or to taste)
½ t Dijon mustard
sea salt and fresh-cracked black pepper
juice of 1 lemon
2 t white wine vinegar
¼ c fruity extra virgin olive oil

Crush garlic in a large bowl, then whisk in mustard, seasoning, lemon juice, vinegar and oil until fully emulsified. Check the dressing for taste and texture, adding more seasoning, juice or oil if needed.

Add anchovies, crushing with a back of a wooden spoon until they practically disappear into the dressing.

You could also whiz all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

Check for seasoning. The dressing should have vivid flavours, with the oil, lemon, salt and anchovy in perfect balance.

To serve: arrange lettuce on 6 plates with tomatoes on top. Drizzle dressing over, passing extra on the side.

Fried Green Tomatoes

A marvellous way to use every single tomato in your garden.

1 egg, lightly beaten
½ c buttermilk
½ c flour, divided
½ c cornmeal
1 t salt
½ t pepper
3 med green tomatoes, cut into 1/3-inch slices
canola oil
salt to taste

Combine egg and buttermilk; set aside.

Whisk ¼ cup flour, cornmeal, salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl.

Place ¼ flour in another shallow bowl. Dredge tomato slices in flour, dip in egg mixture, then in cornmeal mixture. Place on a pan lined with parchment.

Cover a cast iron or heavy pan with ¼ to ½ inch oil and place over medium high heat (375ºF). Place tomato slices in the hot oil, taking care not to crowd the pan, and cook for about 2 minutes on each side until starting to brown. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle hot tomatoes with salt.

Serve hot or cold.