Written by Erin Odom, Contributing Writer
During the month-long Eat From Your Pantry & Freezer Challenge, some of us have an added advantage--our summer gardens. If you live in a warmer region like I do, you may already have some yummy produce ready to harvest. So if your pantry or freezer starts to look bare, why not just walk outside and grab a fast and frugal snack straight from your garden?!
From the super easy veggies that require nothing more than picking, washing and (sometimes) cutting to the snacks that require a little more prep, you may have all you need for a great summer snack sitting right in your backyard.
Easiest Garden Snacks: Pick and Eat
These are the snacks that require little to no prep at all. Pick, wash and they're ready to eat!
- Carrots (peeled and cut into sticks if desired)
- Sugar snap peas or snow peas
- Cucumbers (peeled if desired)
- Tomatoes (sliced if desired--or eaten whole like an apple!)
- Celery sticks
- Peppers: You will probably want to cut and de-seed bell peppers, but smaller varieties, like banana peppers, are fine eaten whole.
- Melons-peeled and cut
Ready in Minutes: Raw Snacks that Require a Little Prep
These snacks require a few minutes to prepare--and a few items from your pantry or freezer--but they are still pretty fast and most definitely frugal if you grow the produce yourself.
- Raw salsa with fresh tomatoes, peppers, onions and/or garlic (This easy salsa is another great option!)
- Fresh fruit smoothies (or try a green smoothie!)
- Homemade coleslaw with garden-fresh cabbage
- Fruit salad (Just use what's in your garden! Try a melon and berry salad for a different twist!)
- A veggie dip, like Mindy's creamy cucumber dip
A Little More Prep: Cooked Garden Snacks
These snacks may require a little cooking and refrigeration, but you can always make a big batch to eat on all week. These also require some items from your pantry, fridge or freezer. Bonus: Some of these can actually double as a side dish or light meal.
- Roasted salsa verde made with tomatillos, onions, cilantro and peppers
- A pasta and veggie salad, like my yummy simple snap pea salad
- Garlic cheese biscuits, using fresh garlic from the garden
- Gallo Pinto: This is one of my favorite dishes from when I lived in Costa Rica. Pair rice and beans from your pantry with fresh peppers, garlic, and cilantro, and you have a hearty afternoon snack.
- Baked potatoes topped with other veggies or easy, oven-roasted potatoes
- Berry muffins or a veggie muffin, like carrot or zucchini
- Kale Chips (if you live in a cooler climate and still have some greens!)
- Fresh-from-the-garden chicken salad with crackers
- Garden-fresh meatloaf balls
- Grilled veggie pizzas
- Veggie melts or quesadillas
Want even more ideas?
I found this link to 80+ veggie recipes--many of which could double as side dishes or snacks. My eBook, Real Food, Real Easy, also has an entire section on healthy snacks--some of which require those garden-fresh ingredients. And right now I'm offering my subscribers a free smoothie eBook, with an assortment of smoothie recipes put together by a group of my blogging colleagues.