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The Great C.S.A. Dilemma

4 min read

You’re swimming in beets and chard. Now what?

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By Tanya Sichynsky

For those equally frustrated by supermarket markups and interested in supporting local farmers, a C.S.A., or community-supported agriculture program, has a lot to offer. Chief among the benefits is that a mystery box of fruits and vegetables makes every week (or every other week or every month, depending on your program’s model) feel like your birthday.

That is, until you open it up. Beets … again?

When I recently asked for your recipe quandaries, several of you wrote in to express your admiration for your C.S.A. — as well as your exhaustion with some of the stalwarts of the box. Here are a few ideas for the next time you’re confronted with more beets, Swiss chard and radishes than any one person knows what to do with.

A bevy of beets

Borscht — served warm or chilled — is an obvious option for a reason (it’s a perfect soup). David Tanis’s even simpler soup of puréed beets garnished with tarragon and chives elegantly makes use of this sturdy root vegetable.

But if you’re borscht’d out, pair roasted beets with creamy yogurt and fragrant coriander. Aaron Hutcherson’s variation on this flavor combination makes a stunning side dish, with plenty of crunch from chopped pistachios and toasted whole coriander seeds. Yewande Komolafe opts for ground coriander to season a yogurt dressing for her beet salad, which is made heartier by the addition of roasted chickpeas.

And when in doubt, make dip! Specifically Tejal Rao’s beet dip with labneh for similar earthy-creamy vibes.

Swiss chard every which way

Beyond sautéing it with garlic, hearty chard — Swiss, rainbow or otherwise — holds up well under layers of béchamel, ricotta and bread crumbs in this satisfying, heavy-on-the-greens casserole from David Tanis.

Chard is also great for braising, which you should not limit to winter months. Melissa Clark’s braised chard with gnocchi, peas and leeks is a celebration of spring greens, a brothy one-pot dish that’s fresh, light and worthy of a special occasion despite taking only 45 minutes of your time.

And don’t throw out the stems! Grill them, as Gabrielle Hamilton does, and dress the beautifully blistered chard ribs in her roasted garlic oil for a deliciously unexpected side dish.

Radishes with and without butter

After you’ve had your government-mandated spring apéro of radishes and butter, use a bunch of radishes to add welcome texture to Kay Chun’s vegan tahini ramen salad, Melissa’s sugar snap pea salad or Alexa Weibel’s chopped salad with jalapeño ranch.

Given their peppery bite and fresh crunch, it might not be your first instinct to roast radishes, but let it be your second: Ali Slagle’s simple preparation for roasted radishes advises you to leave those beautiful green tops on so that you’re left with crispy, translucent leaves. Or play on that beloved buttered radish motif by sautéing them in browned butter and just a touch of caramelized sugar before finishing them off with a flurry of fresh herbs, as Rick Martinez does.

Beet Salad With Coriander-Yogurt Dressing

View this recipe.

One-Pot Braised Chard With Gnocchi, Peas and Leeks

View this recipe.

Chopped Salad With Jalapeño-Ranch Dressing

View this recipe.

One More Thing!

Do you save recipes in The New York Times Cooking app? I smash the save button left and right, collecting recipes like Pokémon for future me. My Recipe Box is a peek at my most unfiltered desires: cherry almond cake next to buffalo sauce next to an amaro sour next to a recipe from — gasp! — another website. (Did you know you can save recipes from all over the internet to your NYT Cooking Recipe Box? It’s true, and very easy. Here’s how).

So, I loved taking a spin through our new list of the 20 most saved NYT Cooking recipes of all time. As Mia Leimkuhler, this newsletter’s editor, put it, “It’s like looking into the minds (and stomachs) of fellow NYT Cooking cooks.”

And it may come as little surprise that a majority of the recipes are vegetarian. (Though yes, I’m counting cookies and you should, too.) Are your favorites on the list?

Thanks for reading, and see you next week!

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