“Eat Local” is a slogan many of us are ready to stand behind. Local food is cool on a hot planet: we know that freshly harvested food is more nutritious, eating local supports local farmers and growers, and there’s no fossil fuels wasted on insanely long shipping distances. Yet, many of us still feel quite dependent on imported grocery store foods. Several decades of supermarket shopping culture have narrowed down most people’s cooking repertoire to meals that involve opening cans and cardboard boxes.
So what kinds of meals can you whip up with all-local ingredients? Without those pre-packaged and processed items?
Now that I’ve been eating a local-foods-only diet for almost a month, I have some delicious answers for you. In fact, I put together a list of some of our best meals during this locavore month — with links to recipes!
Here’s the simplest way to put it: A local diet = a whole foods diet. Be prepared to spend a little bit more time in the kitchen, but also to be rewarded by real food, real nutrition, and flavors you just can’t pull out of a box.
In an earlier post, I talked about how I prepared for my “locavore month” and researched local food producers. That gave me a sense of the “pantry” I could draw on for the next month. Figuring out how to combine those ingredients into satisfying, nourishing meals is a creative process and one of my favorite parts, honestly.
10 Local Meal Ideas
These meal ideas work if you live in a temperate zone in late summer/early fall, at the peak of the harvest season.
1. Butternut squash lasagna with homemade ricotta (recipe in this book)
2. Neighborhood tart with local mushrooms (I used shiitake) and goat cheese
3. Vegetarian Southern brunch with cheesy grits, scrambled eggs, greens, and biscuits with local goat cheese spread
4. Our favorite carrot tomato soup with homemade bread…
5. Homemade pasta
My daughter and I have a pretty good pasta-rolling routine down at this point). Recipe in this book.
6. Pumpkin ravioli with sage walnut pumpkin butter
7. Blueberry acorn pancakes with Acornucopia acorn flour
8. Eggs in a Nest (from Animal Vegetable Miracle)
This is the easiest local food meal to source ingredients for: just eggs and veggies that are available much of the year: onion, carrot, Swiss chard, and tomato (dried tomatoes is actually what the recipe calls for). Minimal spices, minimal hassle, satisfying flavors. Enjoy with a local grain, or even mashed potatoes.
9. Local Grain/Sweet potato/potato/squash + local protein + greens/salad/sauerkraut
…and what’s for dessert?
10. Basil blackberry apple crumble, again from Animal Vegetable Miracle
As you can see, there’s no deprivation going on here. Eating local means eating well — all it takes is some advance planning and a willingness to experiment.
If you try out any of these recipes, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear what you’re cooking!