Recipes and Resources

Help Us Build a Healthier Community

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.

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.

Distribution Ingredient Recipes – December 2023

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 December 2023 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.

In case you missed last month’s Recipes – November 2023

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 November 2023 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. See below for produce info and recipes!

Fall Fruits and Vegetables: 

Fruits 

  • Cranberries

    Seasonal Availability: October through December

    Look for: When picking out cranberries look for firm, plump, unblemished berries that are dark to light red in color with a sheen.

    How to Prepare: Wash with cold water. Place on a clean towel to dry, pick through and discard any leaves or soft or damaged berries. Berries can be eaten fresh, cooked, or dried.

    How to Store: They can be kept in a plastic bag (usually how they are sold in stores) and stored in the crisper drawer of a refrigerator. If purchased from the farmers market and they’re in a brown paper bag, transfer them to an airtight container or zip-top bag. You can store them in the refrigerator for several weeks or freeze them for longer-term storage

    Fun Fact: Cranberries have small pockets where air seeps into that allows them to float and bounce. Also only about 5% of cranberries are sold fresh while the rest are turned into cranberry juice or sauce.

    Nutrition Fact: Cranberries contain fiber, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K and manganese. Also high in other antioxidants, which help protect against diseases.

    Recipes: Cranberry Nut BreadCranberry Pumpkin Muffins Homemade Cranberry Sauce • Cinnamon Roasted Sweet Potatoes & CranberriesCranberry Chicken Salad

     

  • Persimmons

    Seasonal Availability: October through January

    Look for: Plump persimmons with smooth, shiny, orange skin free of cracks or blemishes.

    How to Prepare: After washing you can eat them like an apple or cut it into smaller bite-size pieces or thin slices.

    How to Store: It is best to store them at room temperature. Ripe persimmons are best eaten immediately, but you can refrigerate them for 1 or 2 days.

    Fun Fact: There are about 2,000 varieties of persimmons, but only 2 types are commercially available in the United States. The two different types of persimmons commonly found in the US are stringent persimmons, which are inedible when firm and need to become extremely ripe and soft before they can be eaten, and non-astringent persimmons, which can be eaten hard or soft, with the skin on. In the US, the best-known non-astringent persimmon is the round, squat Fuyu. The best-known astringent persimmon is the Hachiya, an oblong fruit with an acorn-like shape. When ripe, they have a very soft, slippery texture.

    Nutrition Fact: Persimmons are a good source of thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), folate, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamin A (over half the recommended intake). Also, they are loaded with fiber. All which can help reduce the risk of certain health conditions.

    Recipes: Savory Stuffed PersimmonsPersimmon BreadPersimmon and Spinach SaladCaramelized Baked PersimmonsHachiya Persimmon Ice CreamPersimmon Smoothie

     

  • Pumpkins

    Seasonal Availability: September to November

    Look for: Pumpkins that are firm, have smooth orange skin, and feel heavy for their size. Avoid pumpkins with cracks and bruises. Try to pick pumpkins (pie pumpkin/sugar pumpkin) between 3-6 pounds, big pumpkins tend to be very stringy and not flavorful.

    How to Prepare: Wash then cut stem from top, don’t remove yet. Cut lengthwise on either side avoiding the stem. Remove seeds with spoon. Cut and remove stem. Ready for desired cooking method.

    How to Store: Whole pumpkins can be kept in a cool, dry place for several months. Once you cut up your fresh pumpkin, store it in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic and use within five days.

    Fun Fact: There are more than 45 different types of pumpkin, and each one comes packed with approximately 500 seeds. Roasted pumpkin seeds are high in protein and iron.

    Nutrition Fact: Pumpkins contain vitamins A, B1, B6, and C, copper, fiber, folate, and manganese. As well as calcium, potassium, and magnesium, which can help keep your heartbeat regular and your blood pressure low.

    Recipes: Savory Baked PumpkinSpicy Pumpkin and Collard GreensPumpkin PureeCinnamon Toast Pumpkin Seeds

     

  • Tomatillos

    Seasonal Availability: Midsummer and Fall

    Look for: Husk that almost completely covers the fruit. The husk should be relatively tight, and the fruit inside should be firm, but not rock-hard.

    How to Prepare: Run under warm water, while you peel off husk. Rub resin off. They can be blanched, boiled, or roasted.

    How to Store: They can be Kept in the fridge for 2-3 weeks. To help keep them fresh and free of bruises, don’t peel back the husks until you’re ready to eat them.

    Fun Fact: The fruits are true berries with many tiny seeds and are typically green, yellow, or purple when mature.

    Nutrition Fact: Contains antioxidants that help protect against environmental damage. Additionally, tomatillos provide beta carotene, vitamin E, vitamin C, copper, and zinc.

    Recipes: Tomatillo Salsa VerdeChile Verde (Pork in Tomatillo Sauce)

     

Vegetables 

  • Green Beans

    Seasonal Availability: May to early December

    Look for: Snappy crispness when bent in half. It should be free of blemishes; mold and the pod should not be hard or dried out.

    How to Prepare: : Wash then cut off both ends of the bean. Cut to desired length.

    How to Store: Keep snap beans in the crisper section of the refrigerator in a perforated plastic bag; this will keep the beans from drying.

    Fun Fact: They come in a variety of colors and patterns, like yellow, purple, black, and speckled.

    Nutrition Fact: Excellent source of vitamins C, K, A, and some B vitamins. As well as fiber, which helps to stabilize blood sugar, boost satiety, and improve digestive health.

    Recipes: Greek Green BeansGarlic Parmesan Green Beans RecipeGreen Bean Casserole

     

  • Turnips

    Seasonal Availability: Fall and Spring

    Look for: They should feel firm and heavy with crisp green tops.

    How to Prepare: Rinse thoroughly in cold water to remove sand and dirt. Cut off root and stem ends. Chop to desired thickness.

    How to Store: Store turnips in a vegetable crisper where it is cool and moist for only a few days. Longer storage will make turnips bitter.

    Fun Fact: The Irish carved turnips, not pumpkins, for their jack-o’-lanterns.

    Nutrition Fact: These root vegetables are a great source of vitamin C, fiber, and essential minerals.

    Recipes: Harvest Vegetable SaladTurnip Pancakes

     

  • Sweet potatoes

    Seasonal Availability: Late August to early November

    Look for: Choose small to medium-size firm sweet potatoes with smooth skin and no bruises or cracks.

    How to Prepare: Wash thoroughly under cold water and scrub skin with a vegetable brush.

    How to Store: In a cool, dry, and dark area. Can be stored for up to two weeks.

    Fun Fact: Sweet potatoes come in various colors, including pale yellow with thin skin and flesh, as well as darker orange-red with thicker skin and vibrant orange flesh. The bright orange variety are particularly rich in beta-carotene.

    Nutrition Fact: Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of beta carotene, vitamin C, and potassium. They are also a decent source of many other vitamins and minerals.

    Recipes: Sweet Potato and Cabbage TacosLoaded Sweet PotatoesOven Sweet Potato FriesSweet Potato Apple Pie

     

  • Cauliflower

    Seasonal Availability: September through November

    Look for: Creamy white color with densely packed florets that are free of blemishes, browning or wet spots. The cauliflower head should feel heavy in your hand for its size.

    How to Prepare: Remove greens and then steam (edible). Detach florets with knife then rinse. Can be roasted, boiled, fried, or steamed.

    How to Store: Store stem-up in the refrigerator in loose plastic wrap or container with holes. You still want to keep it covered, but you’ll want to give the cauliflower some room to breathe.

    Fun Fact: The vegetable contains sulphur compounds, which will react with aluminum and iron resulting in a discolored cauliflower.

    Nutrition Fact: One of the best plant sources of choline. As well as glucosinolate and isothiocyanate antioxidants, which fight inflammation. Its other antioxidants: vitamin C, flavonoids, and carotenoids, may reduce your risk of certain illnesses.

    Recipes: Cauliflower Herb Soup  • Roasted Buffalo Cauliflower Bites • Cauliflower Shells with Cheese • Cauliflower fried rice • Cheesy Cauliflower Mac

     

Year-Round Produce:

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 • Baked Apples • Apple and Dried Fruit Crisp • Apple and Pear Salad

    Flyers: Apple Fast Facts

  • 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: Keep them at room temperature until they ripen, then transfer them to the refrigerator to extend their freshness.

    Fun Fact: There are over 3,000 known pear varieties worldwide, though only a fraction are typically cultivated for commercial markets. Among these, Bartlett pears are celebrated for their sweet and juicy flesh. Anjou pears, available in both green and red varieties, boast a sweet, mild flavor and smooth texture. Anjou pears are excellent for recipes where retaining shape during cooking is essential, while Bartlett pears shine in applications like sauces or butters due to their texture and flavor profile.

    Nutrition Fact: Pears are an excellent source of dietary fiber, with about 6 grams per medium-sized fruit, aiding in digestion and a range of health benefits. They also contain antioxidants, which can help combat oxidative stress and reduce inflammation in the body. Additionally, the skins of pears are rich in phytonutrients, providing potential health benefits.

    Flyers: Pear Fast Facts

    Recipes: Frozen Pear PopsPear QuesadillasPear SaladPear Party Salsa

  • 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

    Recipes: Citrus SaladCinnamon OrangesBreakfast Fruit Cup

     

Vegetables 

  • Potatoes

     

    Look for: When selecting potatoes, look for firm, smooth, and unblemished skins, avoiding any with green spots, which can taste bitter.

    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. Store away from onions, as they can cause each other to spoil more quickly.

    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 Facts

    Recipes: Potato and Broccoli SoupPotato Corn ChowderTasty Tots • Southwest Baked PotatoesPotato Egg Salad

  • 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

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

  • 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: Ideally, onions should be stored in a cool, dry, and dark place. Whole, raw onions can last two to three months when stored properly.

    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

    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

    Recipes: Cabbage SaladSweet and Sour CabbagePork Cabbage Casserole • Napa Cabbage Salad

Nutrition Education resources

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

Produce Picks

General Nutrition Topics

Kitchen and Cooking Tips

Farmers’ Market Information

Family Activities

Kids’ Corner

Food Safety

Spanish Resources

Unhoused Population Food Resources

Unhoused Population Packet (Spanish and English)

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