Johnson’s Backyard Garden & Our CSA Meals


Lately, M<3 and I have been trying to eat low-carb dinners. We’ve found that since cutting out carbs and starches in the evening – as in no pasta, rice, potatoes, beans, or legumes  – that we’ve felt a whole lot better! We don’t feel as stuffed or bloated after dinner, we sleep a little better, and in general, it’s helped us eat a bit healthier.

Most of these meals have consisted of some type of roasted or grilled vegetable and a protein. We have a shared love for grilled brussel sprouts, sautéed asparagus, and grilled zucchini.  One or sometimes, all, of these are included in our weekly dinner rotation.

We are by no means sick of eating these veggie and protein meals but I thought it would be fun to throw in a new mix of vegetables so M<3 and I decided to become CSA members at Johnson’s Backyard Garden [JBG] hoping it would give us more of a ‘grab-bag’ of veggies, forcing us to eat them before they go to waste.

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Basically, you pay a fee to a local farming organization and in return, you receive a share of seasonal vegetables delivered to you.  You have some say in what vegetables you receive, depending on the season, you can customize the size of the delivery, and you can also choose the frequency of the delivery.

Mayank and I chose the medium size box from JBG with delivery every other week.  Conveniently, they deliver to our office so it makes receiving the vegetables super easy! They also have farmer’s market pick-ups and additional locations around the Austin. They are also located in other cities all across Texas including Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio!

Our first CSA box contained…

  • Beets
  • Curly Kale
  • Mixed Lettuce
  • Artichokes
  • Purple and Orange Carrots
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Flat Leaf Parsley
  • Yellow Spring Onions
  • Red Radishes and..
  • Leeks

And here’s how we used everything!

Beets – I love beets and decided I wanted to recreate two of my favorite meals form local restaurants around Austin. One is a beet, kale & goat cheese salad from Cenote and the other is a Pickled Beet sandwich from Fado’s. I pickled the beets using Alton Brown’s recipe then added them to a kale salad for lunch a couple of days while using the rest as part of a hummus, feta, and beet wrap, similar to Fado’s!

Curly Kale – I used this as my base for my kale & beet salads. I made the Cenote salad my own by massaging the kale with mashed avocado, a squeeze of lemon, plus salt & pepper. I also add in feta rather than goat cheese, some cucumber, garbanzo beans, and some baby carrots + hummus for some crunch on the side!


Kale & Beet Salad

Mixed Lettuce – M<3 and I used this as our Chicken Caesar salad base one night (keeping with our low-carb dinners!). We kept the salads light by using Bolthouse Farms yogurt based Caesar dressing, which we also used to marinate the chicken in before grilling!

Artichokes – These were tough as fresh artichokes don’t really result in a lot of edible meat and trimming them down is a rather tedious task.  To keep is simple and quick, I went with Guy Fieri’s roasted baby artichokes recipe. We stuck them on the grill and it was quite easy but I’d rather buy the frozen artichoke hearts and save myself the work!

Purple & Orange Carrots – This sounds rather odd, but I made carrot fries out of these! We absolutely love carrot fries (aka roasted carrots) and love to pair them as a healthier alternative to roasted potato fries. My recipe’s nothing more than slicing carrots into strips, tossing with fresh garlic, salt & pepper and roasting at 425* for 30 minutes! We had these fries with lettuce-wrapped turkey burgers one evening! Here’s a similar, more complicated recipe.

Carrot Fries + BBQ Turkey Burger

Carrot Fries + BBQ Turkey Burger

Rainbow Chard – This one required a bit of research as I wanted to make something that M<3 would enjoy and wanted something a bit more creative than ‘garlicky sautéed chard.’ In the end, we decided to make Chicken & Swiss Chard Enchilada Casserole. We halved the recipe since it was just the two of us, added some mole sauce into the layers as well as shredded jalapeño cheese, and rather than frying the tortillas we toasted them on the stove to save on fat! We both enjoyed this meal and it introduced M<3 to chard! He even loved it as a leftover lunch later in the week.

Flat Parsley – I used this to make a chimmichurri  sauce that was served over some grilled chicken one night. If you ever have a large bunch of parsley in need of use, I highly suggest making chimmichurri.  We used this recipe but lessened the garlic!

Yellow Spring Onions – I included these in a recipe we already love for Chicken with Herb-Roasted Potatoes & Peas. I quartered the onions and threw them in to roast with the potatoes! This meal is super simple yet flavorful. Plus clean up is easy as it’s a one-pan kind of meal!

Red Radishes – These were simply enjoyed as crudités with this lemon hummus. It’s lovely and has just the right zest of lemon paired with a bit of spice from the radishes.

Leeks – M<3 happened across a Men’s Health breakfast recipe for Crispy Leek Hashbrowns that seemed right up his alley. It included potatoes, [turkey] bacon, and cheese and he made it for me one Sunday for breakfast. We both enjoyed it with a fried egg on top. The leeks added great flavor without the harshness of traditional onions.

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 2.15.42 PM

Crispy Leak Hashbrowns

Overall, we’ve enjoyed our first CSA box. It’s definitely allowed us to try a few new recipes that we otherwise wouldn’t have and it’s added the veggie variety we were looking for! I’ll share our next box and round of recipes when it comes at the end of April!


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