Garden Vegetable Medley

A couple of months ago, I got a email from a reader named Donald Meissner. Donald is the Community Outreach Coordinator at the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry in St. Louis, Missouri. He had an intriguing request– the pantry needed help developing some affordable, easy, meat-free recipes for their clients.

One of the troubling aspects of our business is that some clients don’t really know how to cook. Recently, I suggested that we take rice and beans more seriously… educate people how to make various dishes with rice and beans, which constitutes a complete protein. Add a vegetable, and you are done.

This challenge was right up my alley! I eat a combination of rice, beans, and vegetables for lunch almost every day. I only eat meat occasionally, when my body craves it (which is seldom). At lunchtime, I prefer to eat a healthy, low calorie vegetarian meal– I find it energizing and exactly what I need to get me through the day. So when Donald emailed me his request, I knew I could help.

Before I started working on a recipe, I read up on the organization. It’s quite a place! Established in 1991, The Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry serves clients of all faiths and backgrounds living in the Greater St. Louis area. Here are a few facts that Donald emailed me…

– In 2010 the pantry helped to feed clients from over 89 different zip codes throughout St. Louis City and County.

– 5,021 families visited the food pantry in 2010, comprising 13,816 individuals. 1,273 new families became clients of the pantry in 2010.

– Over 1,214,703 food and personal care items were distributed in 2010.

– The pantry made 8,661 deliveries in 2010 to homebound older adults and the frail elderly.

– No one is ever turned away.

Here is a video of Donald doing outreach for the pantry with local preschool students:


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For more information on the pantry and to learn how you can help, visit their website: The Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry.

After learning about the good work that the pantry does, I wanted this recipe to be extra special. I used simple, affordable ingredients that are widely available at any grocery store. I made sure that it’s a quick-cooking dish that can go from stove to table in 30 minutes or less, and I kept the cooking steps short and easy. The flavorful, fresh ingredients combine to create a delicious one-skillet meal that can feed a family of six for less than $15. It’s a complete entree with protein, healthy carbs, fiber, and vitamins– a terrific option for Meatless Mondays. I think some of you carnivores out there might actually enjoy this one. I’m putting it into my regular rotation!

This recipe is vegan (if you don’t top it with cheddar cheese), gluten free, all natural, low in fat, low in calories, and pareve. It also happens to be really tasty! Use quinoa instead of rice if you prefer. This is clean eating, the kind you can feel great about. Enjoy!

Recommended Products:

Chef’s Knife

Saute Pan

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Garden Vegetable Medley


  • 2 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. zucchini (about 3 medium zucchini), cut into chunks
  • 1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes (or 3 fresh tomatoes, diced)
  • 2 cans (14 oz) beans, drained and rinsed (black, kidney, navy and cannelini work well)
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Cayenne pepper or hot sauce, to taste (optional, adds spice)
  • 3 cups steamed brown or white rice (about 1 1/2 cups uncooked)
  • Shredded cheddar cheese for topping (optional)

You will also need

  • large saute pan with high sides
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 25 Minutes
Total Time: 35 Minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Kosher Key: Pareve (Dairy with cheese topping)
  • Heat olive or vegetable oil in the saute pan over medium. Saute the chopped onion for 7-8 minutes till it softens. Add the garlic and saute for 2 minutes more, until fragrant.
  • Add the zucchini and continue to saute for about 5 more minutes till zucchini starts to soften.
  • Add the tomatoes and beans to the pan, stir to combine. Let the mixture simmer for about 10 minutes longer, stirring occasionally, till the zucchini is cooked and the medley is heated through.
  • Stir in the chopped cilantro. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add cayenne or hot sauce to taste, if desired (optional). Cayenne is extremely spicy, add with care.
  • Serve vegetable medley over hot steamed rice. Top with shredded cheddar cheese or garnish with additional chopped cilantro, if desired. The rice and the beans combine to create a complete protein, making this a healthy vegetarian entree.

Comments (31)Post a Comment

  1. This sounds terrific and for those of us living solo, I bet leftovers would freeze well! Thanks too for introducing the pantry and its generous good work.

  2. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    Tori this is an amazing recipe, so fresh and tasty. And easy and affordable too. Great job making this one. It’s great to see you highlighting such a great organization as well. Sounds like an amazing program.

  3. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Hi Tori,
    The recipe looks yummy! Will try it tomorrow after I purchase the ingredients.
    On another note, my beloved, late mother made the most delicious mandel bread. I saw your Bubbie Ruth’s mandel bread recipe and will try it. My mother made hers with a thin ribbon of red jelly running through each slice. How did she do that? I have tried to duplicate that feature, but have not been successful. Do you have any suggestions?

    1. Nancy-
      I saw the jelly inserted in the inside of a tub cake. I think it was a HGTV email, or youtube. What I remember was the they put half the cake mix in the tube pan, then they made a ridge. They filled the ridge and then gently put the remaining cake mix over the batter. The ridge covering fixes itself in baking. I am going to make mandelbrot for Passover and will add the jelly like your mom, because it sounds delicious. Thanks for the idea.

    1. Happy you liked it Conny! I love how quick and easy it is, and there’s so much flavor in it for such a simple dish. Great for a weeknight dinner! :)

  4. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    I found this recipe via Pinterest, pinned it about a month ago and tonight finally got around to making it for the first time. It turned out great! It was filling without being too heavy, and on a cold day it really hit the spot! Plus, I’ve got a couple days worth of leftovers so I’m going to try freezing it liked Gisele suggested and see how that goes. Thanks for the great meal :)

    1. Hi Polly, yellow summer squash would work, or if you want to avoid squash completely try small chunks of sweet potato (will take a bit longer to cook).

  5. I’m sure it’s a 5. Thank you so much, Tori, for the great ideas, clear instructions, and fabulous pictures of the process. I really appreciate you!

  6. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Hi Tori,

    I made this a couple of days ago and it was just what I needed. My mother passed a few weeks ago and I’ve been completely out of rhythm ever since, particularly when it comes to food prep. I buy fresh veggies but can’t seem to stay with the task long enough to actually cook them.

    When this recipe came in my email inbox, I thought it would be perfect. After all, I had cilantro and zucchini in the fridge. Well, not so much, as it turned out. Both were pretty slimy. Still…. I did have frozen green beans and frozen cilantro, canned tomatoes, onions, garlic and the rest.

    I subbed green beans for the zucchini and frozen cilantro for fresh. It turned out great, Tori, and is even better after a day or two. I didn’t bother with rice – my husband and I just ate it like a stew.

    Thanks for another interesting, healthful vegan recipe.

    1. JCarol, I am so very sorry to read about your mother! That is such a difficult transition. It makes me happy to know this recipe brought you at least a small bit of relief during a difficult time.

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