Recipes and Resources

Tools for a Healthy Life

The SLO Food Bank strives to give community members the food as well as the tools they need to live healthy lives. By providing our participants with healthy, affordable, culturally inclusive recipes and science-based nutrition education, we encourage them to prepare more nutritious meals at home and make informed choices in their everyday lives.

Help Us Build a Healthier Community

This page is the home for simple and affordable recipes as well as other cooking- and nutrition-related educational materials. Individuals, educators, and service providers are welcome to utilize all resources. To request additional materials or to partner with us for outreach at your organization, please email our Nutrition and Children’s Programs Manager Tara Davis.

Distribution Ingredient Recipes – October 2021

At each of our 53 monthly Neighborhood Food Distributions across the County, participating households receive a bag of shelf-stable protein, grains, vegetables, beans, and fruits, a bag of fresh assorted produce, as well fresh and frozen protein and dairy items.

Below are recipes that incorporate the shelf-stable ingredients given out across our October 2021 Neighborhood Food Distributions. They are healthy, affordable, and easy-to-prepare.

Do you need additional assistance with purchasing groceries? Visit Funds for Food for information on programs that provide monetary assistance to purchase healthy foods.

Seasonal Produce Recipes

Consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis will provide you with an array of nutrients essential for your overall health. Click on the names of the fruits and vegetables below for info and recipes!

Fall Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits

  • Persimmon

     

    Availability: September-December

    Look for: Persimmons with deep red undertones. Look for persimmons that are round and plump with glossy, smooth skin. Avoid blemishes, bruises or cracked skin. 

    How to Prepare: The fruit can be eaten raw. Wait until they’re extremely soft, so that they feel as if they’re filled with water, before eating their jelly-like insides. It can take up to a week for one to ripen. Fuyu persimmons can be eaten when firm like an apple, skin and all.

    How to Store: Store them in the refrigerator when ripe.

    Fun Fact: Persimmons originated from China.

    Nutrition Fact: Persimmons are a great source of Vitamin A, which helps maintain good vision, fight infection, and keep skin healthy.

    Flyer: Persimmon Fast Facts  

    Recipes: Caramelized Baked Persimmons • Persimmon BreadSavory Stuffed Persimmons

     

  • Pomegranate

     

    Availability: October-January

    Look for: Large pomegranates, heavy for size.

    How to Prepare: Slit skin and carefully pull away skin and pith (note: the juice stains). Only seeds are edible. Pomegranates are juicy with a sweet tart flavor. Sprinkle over salads, desserts or crush seeds in blender and strain to make juice for drinks, sauces, and jellies.

    How to Store: Keep at room temperature for a few days or refrigerate for 1 to 2 weeks. Seeds and juice can be frozen.

    Fun Fact: The word pomegranate means apple with many seeds.

    Nutrition Fact: Pomegranates contain polyphenols, an antioxidant that helps protect your body’s cells from free-radical damage

    Flyer: Pomegranate Fast Facts

    Recipes: Pomegranate and Cucumber Salad • Pomegranate, Broccoli and Chickpea Salad • Pomegranate Dark Chocolate Bites

     

  • Cranberry

     

    Availability: September- January

    Look for: Firm, dry berries with good clear pink to red color.

    How to Prepare: Remove stems, rinse, and drain and steam or boil. Cranberries can be used in sauces, muffins, salads, and desserts

    How to Store: Keep in plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 6 weeks or in the freezer for up to 12 months.

    Fun Fact: Cranberries have small pockets where air seeps into that allows them to float.

    Nutrition Fact: Cranberries help prevent tooth decay by preventing bacteria from sticking to the teeth and they have been shown to boost the immune system.

    Flyer: Cranberry Fast Facts

    Recipes: Homemade Cranberry Sauce Cranberry and Pumpkin Muffins • Cranberry Pistachio Tuna Sandwich

     

  • Grapes 

     

    Availability: August-October

    Look for: Plump grapes that are firmly attached to green stems. Avoid wrinkled or sticky fruit.

    How to Prepare: Rinse and enjoy!

    How to Store: Cover, refrigerate unwashed for up to five days.

    Fun Fact: Grapes always grow in clusters of 15 to 300 and can be black, dark blue, yellow, orange, green, crimson and even pink.

    Nutrition Fact: Grapes are a great source of antioxidants, one called resveratrol, this antioxidant may have anti-cancer benefits!

    Flyer: Grape Fast Facts

    Recipes: Frozen Sweet and Sour Grapes • Grape Salsa • Fun Fruit Kabobs

     

Vegetables 

  • Pumpkin 

     

    Availability: September- November

    Look for: Even colored, well matured ones heavy for size, not broken, cracked or soft. 

    How to Prepare: Cut in half, remove seeds and fibers. Bake individual halves or cut into chunks and boil or steam. Serve cubed, mashed or as a pumpkin pie.

    How to Store: Keep at room temperature; do not refrigerate. Refrigerate cut portions for up to 5 days.

    Fun Fact: The word ‘pumpkin’ comes from the Greek word, “pepon”, which means a “large melon.”

    Nutrition Fact: Pumpkins are high in vitamin A, C and Fiber!

    Flyer: Pumpkin Fast Facts

    Recipes: Pumpkin Ricotta Stuffed Shells • Pumpkin Chili • Pumpkin Pudding •  Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

  • Green Beans  

     

    Availability: July- November

    Look for: Firm beans with good green coloring.

    How to Prepare: Snap off the stem at the end of the green bean. Green beans can be boiled, blanched, sautéed, grilled, or roasted!

    How to Store: Store uncooked in refrigerator for 7 days or cooked for 3-5 days.

    Fun Fact: Green beans can also be called string beans, French beans, or snap beans!

    Nutrition Fact: Green beans are a rich source of Vitamins A, C, and K! They also contain important minerals like folate, iron, and magnesium!

    Flyer: Green Bean Fast Facts

    Recipes: Green Bean Casserole • Garlic Parmesan Green Beans • Sesame Green Beans

     

  • Sweet Potato 

     

    Availability: September- November

    Look for: Firm, well-shaped tubers with bright uniform coloring, skins free of cracks.

    How to Prepare: Scrub well. Leave whole or peel and cut as desired. Eat raw or grate into salads. Bake, boil or microwave until tender when pierced. 

    How to Store: Keep uncovered at room temperature for up to 1 week.

    Fun Fact: Sweet potatoes have more nutrients than any other vegetable!

    Nutrition Fact: Sweet potatoes contain both soluble and insoluble fiber! Both fibers promote gut health!

    Flyer: Sweet Potato Fast Facts

    Recipes: Sweet Potato Casserole • Loaded Sweet Potatoes • Oven Sweet Potato Fries

     

  • Swiss Chard 

     

    Availability: August- October

    Look for: Select chard with fresh green leaves; avoid those that are yellow or discolored. 

    How to Prepare: Make sure to wash thoroughly with water. Swiss chard can be steamed, simmered on the stove, sautéed or served raw in a salad. You can use chard the same way you use spinach.

    How to Store: Store unwashed leaves in plastic bags in the crisper in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.

    Fun Fact: Swiss chard was a medicine in ancient times. It was used to treat allergies, constipation, and general pain.

    Nutrition Fact: Swiss chard is high in potassium, which helps with heart health!

    Flyer: Swiss Chard Fast Facts

     

    Recipes: Coconut Lentil Curry with Greens • Swiss Chard Tzatziki • Garden Fresh Swiss Chard

     

Year-Round Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits 

  • Apples

     

    Look for: Apples that are hard, without bruising or soft spots.

    How to Prepare: Rinse and eat. To prevent browning, coat cut surfaces with lemon juice.

    How to Store: Store at room temperature for up to a week or unwashed in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 weeks.

    Fun Fact: The average apple has 10 seeds.

    Nutrition Fact: Eat the apple peel to add more fiber to your diet. Fiber helps us stay full and aids in digestion.

    Recipes: Simple ApplesauceApple and Chicken SaladApple NachosCabbage, Apple and Cheese Casserole • Fresh and Fruity Slaw

    Flyers: Apple Fast Facts • All About Apples

  • Pears

     

    Look for: Firm, well-shaped, fruit. Use fully ripe fruit for immediate use. Minor scars and blemishes do not affect flavor.

    How to Prepare: Rinse and enjoy whole or cut into pieces. To prevent browning, coat cut surfaces with lemon juice.

    How to Store: Cover, refrigerate unwashed ripe fruit for up to three days. Ripen firm fruit at room temperature in a paper bag until it yields to gentle pressure at stem.

    Fun Fact: Pears do not ripen on the tree. They’re harvested when they’re mature, not ripe. Pear also ripen from the inside out.

    Nutrition Fact: Pears contain fiber, which helps with healthy digestion and keeps us feeling full.

    Flyers: Pear Fast Facts • All About Pears

    Recipes: Frozen Pear PopsPear QuesadillasPear Salad

     

  • Oranges

     

    Look for: Dense and firm

    How to Prepare: Rinse the outer skin, cut through the stem and into slices. Or simply peel and enjoy!

    How to Store: Store at room temperature if you plan to enjoy the fruit soon. To enjoy later, store in the crisper in the refrigerator.

    Fun Fact: The color “orange” was named after the orange fruit.

    Nutrition Fact: One orange provides all the vitamin C you need in a day.

    Flyers: Orange Fast Facts • All About Oranges

    Recipes: Citrus SaladCinnamon OrangesBreakfast Fruit Cup

     

Vegetables 

  • Potatoes

     

    Look for: Clean, firm, smooth potatoes, without sprouts, green areas or blemishes.

    How to Prepare: Scrub well. Remove sprouts, decayed and green areas. Leave whole or peel cut as desired.

    How to Store: Keep in a cool, dry, dark, ventilated place for up to two months or keep at room temperature for up to one week. Do not refrigerate except new potatoes for up to one week.

    Fun Fact: The word “potato” comes from the Spanish word patata.

    Nutrition Fact: Potatoes are rich in potassium which helps build muscle and keeps your heart healthy.

    Flyers: Potato Fast FactsAll About Potatoes

    Recipes: Potato and Broccoli SoupPotato Corn ChowderTasty Tots • Southwest Baked Potatoes

  • Carrots

     

    Look for: Firm, clean, bright carrots that are well shaped. If tops are attached, they should be bright green.

    How to Prepare: Trim root and stem ends. Rinse. Scrub or peel. Leave whole, shred or cut into coins or sticks.

    How to Store: Cover, refrigerate unwashed carrots for up to 2-3 weeks.

    Fun Fact: California produces over 85% of all carrots grown in the United States.

    Nutrition Fact: Carrots are rich in vitamin A, which supports our vision and immune system.

    Flyers: Carrot Fast Facts • All About Carrots

    Recipes: Carrot Apple PieCarrot DipCarrot Cookies • Baked Carrot Fries with Cumin• Carrot and Potato Baked Fries

  • Onions

     

    Look for: Firm, small necked onions. Avoid dark spotted or sprouted bulbs.

    How to Prepare: Rinse, trim root and stem ends. Discard outer leaves, cut in half and lay each side on the flat side to slice/chop.

    How to Store: Cover, refrigerate unwashed carrots for up to 2-3 weeks.

    Fun Fact: Onions make you cry because they contain sulfuric acid. To prevent tears, place onions in the freezer 30 minutes before chopping or chop onions from the top, and not the root end.

    Nutrition Fact: Onions contain B vitamins, which help our cells grow and stay healthy.

    Flyers: Onion Fast Facts • All About Onions

    Recipes: Couscous with Peas and OnionsFrench Onion Soup

     

  • Cabbage

     

    Look for: Firm, heavy head with fresh outer leaves and good coloring.

    How to Prepare: Remove outer wilted leaves. Rinse. Cut head in half lengthwise and remove core. Cut into wedges or shred. Boil, microwave, steam or stir-fry.

    How to Store: Cover, refrigerate unwashed for up to two weeks.

    Fun Fact: Cabbage is closely related to broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower.

    Nutrition Fact: Cabbage is rich in vitamin K, which helps wounds heal as well as vitamin C, which helps support immune system health.

    Flyers: Cabbage Fast Facts • All About Cabbage

    Recipes: Cabbage SaladSweet and Sour Cabbage

Nutrition Education resources

Click on the topics below for handouts, tips and tricks!

Produce Picks

General Nutrition Topics

Cooking Tips

Farmers’ Market Information

Family Activities

Kids’ Corner

Food Safety

Spanish Resources

All Recipes

Do you need some additional inspiration in the kitchen? Check out these yummy and nutritious recipes:

Breakfast

Main Dishes

Soups and Salads

Snack and Sides

Sweets