Hungry Harvest is a great way to get healthy fresh produce into your diet. But once you have a box of delicious veggies, how do you prepare them? As the fall chill approaches, Ash Griffith hunts down some great comfort-food recipes involving Hungry Harvest staples.
Crunchy leaves, shorter days, and temperatures (finally) under 70 all mean one thing – fall is finally here. With fall comes comfort food; whether it is soups, pasta, hot sandwiches, or even just a roasted veggie or two, food that makes you feel warm and safe is where it’s at.
During the pandemic, whether you were working from home or were deemed that new buzzword, “essential,” you most likely started taking stock of a lot of things in your life. Most people started analyzing the food they eat, and wondered what they could do to be healthier, take better care of their bodies, or even just save money.
“We have a ton of marketplace items,” said Bart Creasman of Hungry Harvest. “While the marketplace isn’t quite enough to skip the grocery store, it can certainly […] make your trips to the store more intentional because you have an idea in your mind of what you need to complete your meals for the week, and you already have a lot of the stuff.”
Hungry Harvest is a company trying to help battle the crisis of food waste around the world, while also helping local organizations working to fight food insecurity. They offer produce boxes at various sizes and price points that help to provide not only healthy produce to your doorstep, but also to create more conscious eating and eliminate excess trips to the grocery store, which help contribute to food waste.
A benefit of the box itself that Creasman is proud of is that it does “force you to try new things,” while still being conscious of the amount of food you are using. To encourage trying new things while utilizing the food you have at hand, Hungry Harvest consciously chooses various recipes from various cooking sites and bloggers around the web and social media, as well as various hacks that help you get better with your cooking skills at home.
While the specific items in Hungry Harvest’s boxes will vary, we reached out to Creasman, and to intuitive life coach, recipe developer, and photographer Marybeth Wells, to share some of their favorite recipes and go-to meals that focus mostly on food from the boxes themselves. As we continue the conversation surrounding the crisis of food waste and insecurity, I wanted to know – what recipes can I try that help to prevent as much waste as possible?
Luckily for me, I had perfect timing; fall comfort food was right on the menu.
Hungry Harvest’s social media is full of various easy and straightforward recipes that mainly utilize their boxes, along with little extras you might already have — a dash of this seasoning, or a splash of this liquid. One of my favorite comfort foods is a good french fry, so I was excited to see that the beloved American staple was there, but in the form of jicama fries. Here’s what you need to know to make them yourself:
- Use a knife (not a vegetable peeler) to peel the jicama’s skin.
- Julienne and season with garlic powder, cayenne, onion powder, salt, cumin, and chili powder seasoning.
- Air fry for 30 minutes, stopping halfway through to shake.
- Top with cashew cheesy sauce (check availability, but there is sometimes one available by Core and Rind)
Tired of guzzling down apple cider? Hungry Harvest has a good fall cocktail to ease you into the season as well.
- 4 cups of ginger ale
- 2 cups pineapple juice, chilled
- 1 cup orange juice, chilled
- 2 cups cranberry juice cocktail, chilled
- 2 1/2 cups dark rum
- 1 lime, sliced
- 1 orange, sliced
- 1 star fruit, sliced
Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher. Garnish with a slice of star fruit and serve immediately.
Creasman himself also had a recipe up his sleeve in the form of a yummy delicata squash meal idea. “We had some delicata squash in this last box,” said Creasman. “You get the taste of hard squash, like a butternut or acorn, but it’s a lot easier to prepare. The skin is entirely edible.”
For the delicata, Creasman recommended chopping it, quartered, dice into one inch pieces. Roast for 20 minutes at 400, combine with gnocchi, and top with an olive oil garlic sauce. To create the sauce, use a quarter cup of olive oil, chop garlic, saute it, add parmesan on top, plus salt and pepper to taste. Protein on the side, depending on your preference.
In the mood for a soup option? Creasman offers an easy option that will provide a few meals. Use the following:
- Can of tomatoes
- Chicken or vegetable stock
- Add the kale first
- Add carrots and potatoes
- Use a good seasoning blend to taste
- Add a protein of your choice
Not to be left out of a good comfort-food share, one of my go-to favorites for when the sun shuts down at two in the afternoon is the old sheet pan staple. I love root vegetables this time of year, especially a sweet potato. While protein can be added, of course (I’ll always recommend a good chicken thigh), I like to live off of a heavily oiled sheet pan of sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, beets, and butternut squash, heavily seasoned with pepper, sweet paprika, garlic (black garlic if you have it on hand), a little bit of red pepper flakes, a few taps of thyme, and a quick swash of maple syrup on the butternut squash. Place the pan in your oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
Warm, hearty, bathed in fall. Like a hug from a crunchy leaf on Monument.
Marybeth Wells, an intuitive life coach, recipe developer, and photographer recently arrived in Richmond, did not disappoint when I asked her for recommendations. Wells offered up her Hearty Vegan Veggie Broth, which helps utilize herb and vegetable scraps from a Hungry Harvest box so that you really are eliminating as much waste as possible.
“This recipe is perfect timing for soup season, and my favorite way to not only use what comes in a HH shipment, but take the food waste reduction mission a step further,” said Wells. “The veggie scraps can be saved over time, in the freezer, as a HH box is worked through.”
- – at least 4 cups of veggie scraps. Note: if carrots and celery aren’t in your veggie scrap bag – I highly recommend adding some to the mix
- – black pepper kernels & salt, to taste
- – 1-3 bay leaves (optional, but lovely)
- – water
1. place all of the ingredients into a large stockpot, and cover with water.
2. Bring to a boil, then simmer for at least an hour.
3. Drain, cool, and store in jars in the refrigerator for up to a week, or the freezer for months.
*if you’re comfortable canning, can it up
* if you freeze them, be sure to leave ample space in the jar so they don’t explode in the freezer (I speak from experience 🤣)
*Alliums (onions, garlic, shallots, leeks) are the star of this broth since they can’t be composted easily – but here’s what else makes a good addition to broth:
- – carrots
- – celery
- – herbs
- – mushrooms (hello, umami)
- – fennel
- – corn cobs
- – beet greens
Things to steer clear of include anything with overpowering flavors and aromas, such as:
- – broccoli
- – cabbage
- – cauliflower
- – kale
As fall comes in, so does the rush of cooking, and stoves everywhere are turned on with joy. If you are feeling creative, check out Hungry Harvest’s website or Marybeth Wells’ Instagram for more ideas that will not only help you use the items in your Hungry Harvest box or your pantry, but will get you in the mood for warm, delicious food as summer days quickly become fall nights.
Photos by Marybeth Wells