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.

Distribution Ingredient Recipes – July 2024

At each of our over 60 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 as fresh and frozen protein and dairy items.

Below are recipes that incorporate the shelf-stable ingredients given out across our July 2024 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.

Distribution Ingredient Recipes – June 2024

At each of our over 60 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 as fresh and frozen protein and dairy items.

Below are recipes that incorporate the shelf-stable ingredients given out across our June 2024 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!

Summer Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits

  • Watermelon

      

    Seasonal Availability: July-September  

    Look for: When choosing a watermelon, look for a firm and symmetrical one with a dull exterior, indicating ripeness. A creamy yellow spot on the bottom also suggests it’s ready to eat. 

    How to Prepare: When preparing watermelon wash the rind, then slice it into wedges or remove the rind and cut it into bite-sized pieces. 

    How to Store: Store whole watermelons at room temperature until they’re cut. After cutting, store the remaining pieces in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

    Fun Fact: A watermelon is 92% water, making it a great way to stay hydrated  

    Nutrition Fact: Watermelons are a good source of vitamins A and C, which are essential for healthy skin and a robust immune system. They also contain antioxidants like lycopene, which is associated with reducing the risk of certain chronic diseases and promoting heart health. 

    Recipes: Watermelon Salsa, Strawberry Watermelon Sorbet, Watermelon Slushie, Watermelon Feta Salad Cup

  • Cherries

    Seasonal Availability: April-July  

    Look for: When selecting cherries, look for firm and plump ones with vibrant, shiny skin. The color may vary depending on the variety, ranging from bright red to deep purple. The deeper the color the sweeter the fruit. 

    How to Prepare: To prepare cherries, simply wash them thoroughly and remove the stems. They can be enjoyed fresh as a quick and healthy snack, added to salads, or used in various desserts. 

    How to Store: To store cherries, keep them in the refrigerator in a breathable container or plastic bag for up to a week. Alternatively, you can pit and freeze them for longer storage.

    Nutrition Fact: Cherries are rich in potassium and antioxidants, which have heart-protective properties!  

    Fun Fact: The average cherry tree has over 7,000 cherries 

    Recipe: Cherry Chicken Salad, Cherry Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding, Chocolate-Covered Cherry Baked Oatmeal, Coconut Cherry Parfait

     

  • Peaches

    Seasonal Availability: June- August  

    Look for: When selecting peaches, look for those with vibrant colors and a slightly soft feel, especially around the stem area. Avoid peaches that are overly hard or have visible bruises.

    How to Prepare: To prepare peaches, wash them thoroughly and gently remove the skin if desired. You can slice them and enjoy them fresh, add them to salads, or use them in various recipes, from cobblers to smoothies. Remove pit by cutting fruit lengthwise around pit and twist to separate halves 

    How to Store: To store ripe peaches, keep them at room temperature for a day or two. For longer storage, place them in the refrigerator, but allow them to come to room temperature before eating for the best flavor.

    Nutrition Fact: They are a good source of vitamins A and C, which are essential for maintaining healthy skin, supporting the immune system, and promoting collagen production. Peaches also contain dietary fiber, aiding digestion and promoting a healthy gut.

    Fun Fact: August, which is National Peach Month, celebrates these delicious fruits that are not only part of the rose family but also closely related to other stone fruits like plums and cherries.

    Recipes: Holiday Bread Pudding, Peach Cobbler Oatmeal, Peach Bars, Grilled Peaches and Goat Cheese Salad

     

  • Plums

    Seasonal Availability: May- October  

    Look for: When selecting plums, look for ones that are slightly soft to the touch, yielding to gentle pressure. They should have vibrant color and a sweet aroma.  

    How to Prepare: To prepare plums, simply rinse them under cold water.

    How to Store: Plums can be stored at room temperature until fully ripened, after which they should be kept in the refrigerator to maintain their freshness. 

    Nutrition Fact: Plums contain sorbitol and fiber which both help prevent constipation. 

    Fun Fact: There are a diverse array of plums, comprising over 40 species, showcase a rich palette of flavor and colors ranging from vivid red, purple, and yellow to even the subtle hues of green. However prunes, the dried form of plums, originate from a select group of European plum tree varieties. These particular trees are freestone (pits can be more easily removed), have a high soluble solids content, and do not ferment during drying. 

    Recipe: Stone Fruit Crisp, Cold Brew Plum Iced Tea, Mixed Fruit Yogurt Muffins, Honey Roasted Plums  

     

  • Blackberries

    Seasonal Availability: June- September  

    Look for: When selecting blackberries, seek out plump, glossy berries that are uniformly dark in color. Avoid those with any signs of mold, excessive softness, or dull appearance.

    How to Prepare: Simply rinse them with cold water right before consumption.

    How to Store: Keep in the fridge in original packaging to allow ventilation. Storing in an air sealed container will make them mushy!  

    Nutrition Fact: Blackberries provide dietary fiber that supports digestion and helps regulate blood sugar levels. These berries are abundant in vitamin C, essential for immune function and skin health, while also offering vitamin K for blood clotting and bone health. Rich in antioxidants, particularly anthocyanins, blackberries help protect cells from oxidative damage. They also contain manganese for metabolism and bone health, as well as beneficial amounts of vitamin A and folate. 

    Fun Fact: Blackberries are not true berries but rather aggregates of individual tiny drupelets, each containing its own seed. Blackberries were used by women in labor pain as they contain vitamin K, which can act as a muscle relaxant.  

    Recipe: Cinnamon Quinoa Breakfast Bowls, Blackberry Fruit Roll Up, Blackberry Lemon Oatmeal Cookies, Blackberry Brie Bites 

     

  • Cantaloupe

    Seasonal Availability: June- November  

    Look For: Melon with a deeply netted, yellow-gold rind. When selecting a ripe cantaloupe, look for one that feels heavy for its size, has a slightly soft blossom end, and emits a fragrant, sweet aroma.

    How to Prepare: To prepare, wash the outer rind, cut it open, remove the seeds, and slice or scoop out the flesh.  

    How to Store: To store a whole cantaloupe, keep it at room temperature until it’s ripe, then refrigerate it. Cut cantaloupe should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

    Nutrition Fact: It’s an excellent source of vitamin C, providing more than 100% of the recommended daily intake in a single serving. Vitamin C is known for its immune-boosting properties and its role in collagen production for healthy skin. Cantaloupe also contains vitamin A, which supports vision health and skin health, as well as potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure and fluid balance in the body. Additionally, its high water content contributes to hydration.  

    Fun Fact: Cantaloupe, also known as muskmelon, is believed to have originated in South Asia and Africa. It has a long history of cultivation and consumption, with evidence suggesting that it was grown in ancient Egypt and was a favorite of the Roman Empire. The name “cantaloupe” comes from the Italian papal village of Cantalupo, where the fruit was first cultivated in Europe.

    Recipe: Cantaloupe Sorbet, Cantaloupe Smoothie, Spicy Sweet Cantaloupe Salad, Easy Cantaloupe Salsa  

Vegetables 

  • Tomato

     

    Seasonal Availability: May – October

    Look for: When selecting tomatoes, look for ones that are firm, smooth, and brightly colored. They should have a slight give when gently squeezed but not feel overly soft. Avoid tomatoes with wrinkles, cracks, or overly mushy spots.

    How to Prepare: Tomatoes can be enjoyed in numerous ways, both raw and cooked. Rinse them under cool water before using. To remove stem simply cut a small cone-shaped piece around the stem. For recipes that require peeled tomatoes, blanch them in boiling water for a minute and then transfer to an ice water bath to easily remove the skin. 

    How to Store: Store ripe tomatoes at room temperature and away from direct sunlight. If you need to slow down the ripening process, place them in the refrigerator. However, refrigeration can sometimes affect the texture and flavor of tomatoes, so it’s best to use them within a few days.

    Nutrition Fact: They are a great source of vitamins A and C, as well as antioxidants like lycopene, which has been linked to various health benefits such as heart heath.   

    Fun Fact: The wild species of tomatoes originated in the Andes Mountains of South America, probably mainly in Peru and Ecuador, and is thought to have been domesticated in pre-Columbian Mexico; its name is derived from the Náhuatl (group of peoples native to southern Mexico and Central America, including the Aztecs) word tomatl

    Recipes: Tomato Basil Bruschetta, Tomato Potato Salad, Kale Salad with Tomatoes and Cheese, Pasta with Tomato Sauce, Avocado, Lettuce, Tomato & Turkey Wrap,  

  • Corn

     

    Seasonal Availability: May – November  

    Look for: When selecting corn, look for husks that are fresh and green, tightly wrapped around the kernels. Gently peel back a small section of the husk to ensure the kernels are plump, evenly spaced, and not too shriveled. Check for any worm damage at the tip of the ear.

    How to Prepare: To prepare corn, first remove the husk and silk. Rinse the ears under cool water to remove any remaining silk. You can boil, steam, grill, or even roast corn. 

    How to Store: Corn is best enjoyed soon after purchase, as its natural sugars start converting to starch after being picked. If you need to store it, keep the husks on and store the corn in the refrigerator crisper drawer. Use it within a few days for the best taste and texture.  

    Nutrition Fact: It’s a great source of complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber, promoting digestion and fullness. Loaded with vitamins like B6 and folate, corn supports brain health, energy production, and bone health. Its carotenoids, lutein, and zeaxanthin contribute to eye health and antioxidant defense.

    Fun Fact: Apart from Antarctica, Corn is grown on every continent.  

    Recipes: Mexican Street Corn, Fish Tacos with Corn Salsa, Corn Salad, Baked Corn Zucchini Boats 

     

  • Summer Squash

     

    Seasonal Availability: June – September  

    Look for: When selecting summer squash, seek out ones that are firm, shiny, and free of blemishes or soft spots. For zucchini and yellow squash, opt for smaller sizes, as they tend to have a sweeter flavor and more tender texture.

    How to Prepare: Summer squash can be easily prepared by washing them thoroughly under cool water. For larger or tougher squash, you might want to peel them. They can be sliced, diced, or even spiralized to be used in a variety of dishes.

    How to Store: Store unwashed in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer. It’s best to use them within a week, as they can become soft over time. 

    Nutrition Fact: They are a good source of vitamins A and C, as well as potassium and fiber. 

    Fun Fact: In Latin America, Squash is made into candy! 

    Recipe: Stuffed Summer Squash, Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad, Spinach & Zucchini Lasagna Rolls, Zucchini Pancakes, Zucchini Pizza Bites, Black Bean & Vegetable Quesadilla

     

     

  • Cucumber

     

    Seasonal Availability: May – August  

    Look for: When choosing cucumbers, opt for ones that are firm and evenly colored. Avoid cucumbers with soft spots, wrinkles, or yellowing ends. Generally, smaller cucumbers tend to have fewer seeds and a crisper texture.

    How to Prepare: Cucumbers can be enjoyed with their skin on, as it contains valuable nutrients and adds texture. Rinse them thoroughly under cold water and gently scrub the skin if necessary. If you prefer, you can peel them. To remove bitterness, you can cut off the ends and rub the cut ends against the cucumber’s surface in a circular motion.

    How to Store: Store cucumbers in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. They are sensitive to cold temperatures, so be sure to keep them away from extremely low temperatures or freezing.

    Nutrition Fact: Cucumbers are a good source of vitamin K! They’re also composed of about 95% water, making them an incredibly hydrating snack.

    Fun Fact: The phrase “cool as a cucumber” originated because cucumbers can be 20 degrees different between the inside and the outside temperature. Interestingly, cucumbers belong to the same family as pumpkins, zucchinis, and melons, collectively known as the gourd family.

    Recipes: Quick Pickles, Bean and Cucumber Salad, Cucumber Gazpacho, Greek Turkey Burgers 

     

  • Bell Pepper

     

    Seasonal Availability: July – November 

    Look for: When choosing bell peppers, look for ones that are firm, smooth, and shiny. They should feel heavy for their size and have vibrant, glossy skin. Avoid peppers with wrinkles, soft spots, or blemishes.

    How to Prepare: Bell peppers are versatile and can be enjoyed raw or cooked. Start by washing them thoroughly under cool water. To remove the stem and seeds, simply cut around the top and pull it out. 

    How to Store: Store unwashed bell peppers in the refrigerator in a plastic bag or airtight container. They can last up to one to one week. If you have leftover cut bell peppers, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or place them in an airtight container before refrigerating. 

    Nutrition Fact: Bell peppers are rich in vitamin C, providing more than 100% of the recommended daily intake in just one medium-sized pepper. 

    Fun Fact: Red/yellow/orange bell peppers are simply green bell peppers that have been left on the vine to continue to ripen. 

    Recipes: Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad, Chicken Fajitas, Thai Pineapple and Chicken, Pumpkin Chili 

     

     

     

     

     

     

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 • 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

A bowl of vegetable soup with a pitcher beside.

Snack and Sides

Sweets