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Harvest Meal

Harvest Basket + 5 Ingredients

We often have pantry meals – we make something for dinner out of just what we have in the pantry (and maybe add a few things from the refrigerator and/or freezer). These meals can be creative. Sometimes we just don’t want to go to the grocery store or farmers market, this is a good alternative. Well this week, I went outside and harvested a basket of veggies from the garden: tomatoes, spaghetti squash, green beans, onions, bell peppers, cucumbers, celery, and herbs. I decided to make a “harvest meal,” using the ingredients in the basket plus 5 kitchen staples: olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper.

I made a quick marinara sauce to top the spaghetti squash and served it with sautéed green beans, and a chopped salad. It was a tasty meal, made even better because we grew the veggies! We’ve only been gardening for two years, so it’s still a treat when we harvest. I don’t really have recipes and exact measurements, just guidelines. Hope you are enjoying the summer bounty! It’s time to think about a fall garden.

Spaghetti Squash with Marinara Sauce

Olive oil

Onions, chopped

Celery leaves and stems, chopped

Bell peppers, chopped

Tomatoes, chopped

Salt and pepper

Fresh herbs (basil, parsley, oregano)

Balsamic vinegar

Spaghetti squash pasta (see the next recipe)

Parmesan cheese

Heat some olive oil in a pan; add the onions, celery, and bell peppers. Sauté until tender. Add the tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Cook until the tomatoes are tender. You can mash some of the tomatoes with a fork or potato masher or even use an immersion blender. Depends on the texture you prefer. Stir in a splash of balsamic vinegar and the fresh herbs. Serve over the spaghetti squash with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

Spaghetti Squash “Pasta”

1 medium spaghetti squash

You can bake spaghetti squash in the oven at 350º F for 45 minute to an hour, until tender. However, it is August and I prefer not to heat up the house by using the oven for this. The microwave does a fine job.

You can cook spaghetti squash whole, but I prefer to cut them. Wash the outside of the squash. Dry it thoroughly. The rind is tough so it can be a little tricky to cut, so use care when cutting it. Wrap it in a towel, place it on a cutting board and use a large knife to slice it lengthwise from stem to end. Then use a spoon or a sturdy ice cream scoop to scoop out the seeds and the stringy stuff. This is similar to how you clean a butternut squash or a pumpkin.

Place the two halves cut side up in a microwave safe container (I use a Pyrex pie plate). Fill the cavities with water. Pour a little extra water in the bottom of the container. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Rotate the squash halves and pour a little more water over the cut edges – this keeps them from drying out. Microwave another 5 minutes. Let them rest for about 5 more minutes. Then, use a fork to shred the squash so that it looks like strands of spaghetti.

Finished Meal

Green Beans

Green beans, washed and snapped (if needed)

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Fresh herbs (basil, parsley, oregano)

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan or wok. Stir in the green beans. Sauté until slightly tender (I like them with a little bite). Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and fresh herbs.

Chopped Salad

Tomatoes, chopped

Cucumbers, chopped

Onions, chopped

Celery leaves, chopped

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper

Parmesan cheese

Fresh herbs (basil, parsley, oregano)

Toss the vegetables in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese, and fresh herbs. Toss well. Serve.


  1. Cyndia
    August 24, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    You can make the simplest of meals sound like manna from heaven, Katie! I was positively drooling!

  2. August 24, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Thanks Cyndia! The entire basket made two plates. Hope we get more veggies in the next “harvest;” then we’ll share :o)

  3. August 26, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    Reblogged this on Horrific Knits.

  4. August 26, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! Your basket of goodness looks delicious, and the meal scrumptious! There is nothing more glorious then fresh food that you grew with your own two hands! What will you be planting for your Fall garden?

    • August 26, 2012 at 4:40 pm

      Thank you, it is such an honor. For our fall garden, we will probably plant kale, spinach, carrots, and collards. We had an issue with bugs eating most of our spring greens. Maybe we should plant more so we can share with the bugs :)

  5. August 26, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    Look amazing. What a wonderful meal!

    • August 26, 2012 at 4:30 pm

      Thank you! I appreciate you reading my blog :)

  6. August 26, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Hurray for Harvest meals! Looks delicious!

  7. August 26, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    I have a spaghetti squash I got from a friend’s garden. Now I know what to do with it. It sounds delish! Thanks! And congrats for getting ‘pressed.’ :)

    • August 26, 2012 at 5:12 pm

      Thanks Rene :). I did not care for spaghetti squash the first few times I tried it. Love itvnow! Hope you like it too. It is also delicious with pesto, one of my favorite gluten-free meals. Hope you are having a great birthday!!

  8. August 26, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Almost tempted to dust off my ‘not at all green fingers’ and have a go at growing vegies. Will stick with the Fairy herb garden and purchase the vegies. Your meal looks awesome!!! http://wp.me/p1iFet-en

    • August 26, 2012 at 5:15 pm

      Thanks! If we can do it, anyone can do it :) I’m intrigued with the Fairy herb garden! We’re not very good with herbs (especially rosemary!).

  9. August 26, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    i love food so I am going to try this! Thanks so much! :)

    • August 26, 2012 at 7:39 pm

      You’re welcome! Thanks for reading :)

  10. August 26, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    I love squash so much. i cant wait to get a home where I can have a garden. Growing up we always had fresh beans, tomatoes, peas, radishes… tons of fresh produce. You have totally made me wish for this.

    • August 26, 2012 at 9:29 pm

      Hope you have a garden soon! We started with just a few containers and graduated to raised beds. It’s not like the big garden of my childhood, but I’ll take it.

      • August 26, 2012 at 9:31 pm

        Wheni moved into my urban apartment, i noticed an abandoned pot with a tomato thing in it. i considered putting my own tomato plant in, or having a little bed out on the porch. But time snuck by =[

        • August 26, 2012 at 9:40 pm

          Maybe some fall greens?!? :)

          My last comment was buried…probably hit my reply limit to your original comment.

          If the pot is deep, you could plant radishes or carrots. Otherwise lettuce, spinach, or collards (I’ve never planted collards in a pot, but I think it should work). Disclaimer: I am total beginner but I’m having fun experimenting!

          • August 26, 2012 at 9:42 pm

            What is a good vegetable, with little maintenance required, that i can plant on my porch, in August?

  11. hookedontaste
    August 26, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    I love this post.

    I used to volunteer at a community garden, which I miss. During my time there I would harvest fruits and veggies and cook them for the children and workers and whoever stopped by. This post reminds me of the time I spent there in the summer.

    Great article!

    • August 26, 2012 at 9:55 pm

      Thank you, glad you enjoyed it! I imagine volunteering at a community garden was a wonderful experience. Sounds like it! Think I might try volunteering at our CASA garden next year.

  12. August 27, 2012 at 1:26 am

    missing pasta, and missing my home,. ..:)

    • August 27, 2012 at 8:53 am

      I miss pasta too. Spaghetti squash is delicious, but not quite the same as pasta. Sorry you are missing home :(

  13. August 27, 2012 at 4:05 am

    Hi, as a new food blogger I have been reading up other bloggers such as you. I must congratulate you on a great effort….your food is straight from the heart. Please do visit my blog as well. Thank you. Keep it up : )

    • August 27, 2012 at 8:48 am

      Thank you! I will read your blog; it’s a great name. Good luck with it and have fun!

  14. August 27, 2012 at 6:05 am

    The government of the Netherlands is encouraging people to become flexitarians! This to protect the environment, because the mass cattle production is damaging the land. (Never mind the damage that eating too large portions of meat does to a person’s body.) Your meal fits right in there!

    • August 27, 2012 at 8:46 am

      That sounds like a good idea to me. Reminds me of the locavore movement here, where you eat mostly locally grown food. Love eating from my backyard!

  15. August 27, 2012 at 6:36 am

    That looks delicious!!

  16. August 27, 2012 at 6:47 am

    Fantastically Amazing!!!

    • August 27, 2012 at 8:38 am

      Thank you! Thank you also for reblogging my post :)

  17. August 27, 2012 at 6:48 am

    Reblogged this on Your Turn Women and commented:
    Harvest time; give this a try and let Your Turn know what you came up with.

  18. August 27, 2012 at 7:19 am

    You have the tastiest sounding recipies! I’m definately a follower now.

    • August 27, 2012 at 8:37 am

      Thank you! I really appreciate it :)

  19. August 27, 2012 at 10:36 am

    YES. thank you! i’ve been meaning to try spaghetti squash for forever now, and this has inspired my dinner tonight!!

    • August 27, 2012 at 10:40 am

      Yay, I hope you like it :) It took me a few times before I did (probably a texture-thing). Now I adore it. Makes a good pasta substitute when limiting gluten.

      • August 27, 2012 at 10:41 am

        oh no! i have a texture thing too. in my mind..it’s the same texture as seaweed salad.

        • August 27, 2012 at 10:47 am

          Not sure if I undercooked it or overcooked it the first few times. I would recommend testing it throughout the cooking process. With just a gentle touch of a fork, it should make nice spaghetti-like strands. Good luck and please let me know what you think.

  20. Dhienar Salam
    August 27, 2012 at 10:45 am

    healthy foods :)

    • August 27, 2012 at 10:55 am

      I love healthy foods and cooking. Originally a baker, I am constantly looking for ways to make healthy recipes. But on occasion, I will post a not-so-healthy over-the-top recipe (I’ve found that for me, splurges can be ok in moderation :) Today I am experimenting with eye of goat beans with fresh veggies from the garaden.

  21. August 27, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    Just bought some fresh veggies, looking forward to trying this recipe out for me and my bf!

  22. August 29, 2012 at 2:54 am

    looks delicious and healthy!

  23. GG
    August 29, 2012 at 3:14 am

    Nice food… Must it be olive oil. anyway i will try it. thanks

    • August 29, 2012 at 8:04 am

      I think most any oil, butter, or margarine would work. Hope you like it!

  24. August 29, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    I’ve never met a squash recipe I didn’t like. Thank you for sharing!


    • August 29, 2012 at 1:42 pm

      You’re welcome! Hope you like it :-)

  25. August 29, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    First of all, congrats on your second year harvest. What a bounty in that basket! It’s no easy task keeping the critters from eating everything just before it’s ready to pick. Love the healthy meal you made, photo looks great. New fellow food blogger.

    • August 29, 2012 at 4:05 pm

      Thank you, thank you!! I look forward to reading your blog – best of luck and have fun!

  26. Rae
    September 17, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    Hahaha, wow do we think alike. . . . I’ve never tried the noodles out of spaghetti squash, though (only zucchini) – my coworkers keep PILING zucchini on me from their gardens. I wish I were lucky enough to have one (asphalt makes for poor soil).

    Your idea for the balsamic vinegar is great! I’ve marinated tomatoes in it before, but never thought to add it to the tomato SAUCE itself. Gotta try that!

    • September 17, 2012 at 9:03 pm

      Spaghetti squash & zucchini ribbons are two of my favorite pasta “substitutes.” Hope you like the balsamic vinegar in the tomato sauce. I think it added a nice touch of sweetness (and a bit of zip). Thanks for the comments :)

  1. August 27, 2012 at 7:16 am
  2. September 14, 2012 at 5:42 am

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