Home-Grown Goodness: Summer Recipes

Greenhouse with tomatoes growing

Taja Woods

Growing your own food IS possible, whatever your set-up. Whether you only have space to grow a few herbs on your windowsill or are lucky enough to have a dedicated vegetable patch there are so many benefits to growing your own food.

A key component of eating sustainably, is eating locally grown food that is in season. What could be more local than your own home?

Here are some of my favourite garden-to-table recipes.

The first two recipes are my go-to sauces – simple but packed full of flavour. Store them in a jar in the fridge for a couple of days to a week and add to dishes like pasta for easy winning meals. Thank me later.

Salsa Verde (Green sauce)

  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • A big bunch of parsley
  • A bunch of basil
  • A handful of mint
  • 4 anchovies or artichoke, rinsed if packed in salt
  • 2 tbsp salted capers, rinsed and roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 120-150ml virgin olive oil


  1. Finely chop your garlic, freshly picked herb leaves, capers and anchovies or alternatively use a food processor until a paste like consistency is achieved
  2. Place in a bowl, adding the vinegar, then slowly pour in the olive oil, until the paste becomes a thick sauce

With its piquant and fresh taste salsa verde is a great accompaniment – it can be used as a dip for tortillas, substituted in place of traditional pesto (add mozzarella and cherry tomatoes for a real treat), compliments fishes like sea bass and goes really well with meats like chicken and steak.

Add home grown chilli if you want extra zing!

Sugo Rosso (red sauce)

Tomato Pasta with Basil on

Tomato sauce is underrated (well the homemade kind). If you disagree try this recipe. This recipe is best enjoyed with pasta, lashings of parmesan (or vegan alternative) and roasted veggies. This sugo rosso is also the base for my aubergine parmigiana.

  • 2 onions
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • Handful or parsley
  • Plenty of tomatoes (or 1x carton of passata)
  • Handful of torn basil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 glugs of red wine
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Salt (I recommend kosher salt or sea salt)
  • Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano


  1. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan (or wide saucepan) add onions and cook on a low heat until soft. Add the garlic, and parsley – you can keep the parsley stems in for extra flavour and pick these out later. Cook for a few minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes, red wine and sugar. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Your sauce should become thicker.
  3. Turn of the heat and add fresh basil.

Best enjoyed with pasta, lashings of parmesan (or a vegan alternative) and roasted veggies.

Aubergine parmigiana

  • Sugo rosso/ red sauce (see above)
  • 4 large aubergines
  • Basil
  • Parmesan (or vegan alternative)
  • Mozzarella (or vegan alternative such as Sheese which is the easiest to melt)


  1. Preheat griddle pan, and slice aubergines to approximately 1 cm thick.
  2. Working in batches, place aubergines on griddle pan, ensuring both sides are lightly charred.
  3. Spoon a layer of sugo rosso into the base of large baking dish. Add a layer of aubergine slices, spoon over some more sauce and sprinkle/scatter your parmesan mozzarella and basil. Repeat this process.
  4. Heat the oven to 200C or 180C fan. Bake for 30-40 minutes. The top should be crispy and golden.

Enjoy with a herby garden salad.

Easy garden ramen

A bowl of ramen with lots of vegetables

  • Carrot (shredded)
    Handful of coriander (chopped)
  • Spring onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • Thumb-sized piece of ginger
    Large handful of spinach
    Mushrooms like shitake or enoki (optional)
  • 1-2 red or green chillies
  • 375g ramen noodles
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 700ml vegetable stock
  • ½ tsp Chinese five spice
  • Soft-boiled egg


  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Add carrots and mushrooms (if you’re using them), simmering until they soften.
  2. Add your stock, soy sauce, ½ tsp Chinese five spice and 1-2 sliced chillies into the saucepan, bring to the boil then reduce heat to a simmer.
  3. Meanwhile, wilt your spinach in a pan with 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  4. Cook your ramen noodles, as per the pack instructions
  5. Divide the noodles into your bowl and top with spinach, soft-boiled egg, sliced spring onions and coriander

Additional topping ideas:

  • Tofu
  • Seaweed
  • Avocado

Taja Woods

Article image one courtesy of Sestrjevitovschii Ina via Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes were made.

Article image two courtesy of The Creative Exchange via Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes were made.

Featured image courtesy of www.zanda. photography via Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes were made. 

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