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Cookbooks for Organic Gardeners

Updated on January 23, 2012
My well-worn copy of Waters' classic. The Art of Simple Food is a great cookbook for gardeners.
My well-worn copy of Waters' classic. The Art of Simple Food is a great cookbook for gardeners. | Source

Recipes from the Slow Food Movement

If you shop seasonal, organically grown foods at local farmers' markets and/or grow your own organic produce, you may be part of the Slow Food Movement, whether you realize it or not.

Led by chef Alice Waters, the Slow Food Movement began in the 1970s. In addition to using fresh and healthy local foods, Slow Food cooking means implementing simple preparation methods that enhance rather than mask the natural deliciousness of wholesome ingredients.

Vegetable gardeners who love to cook (and cooks who love to garden) will appreciate the following recipe collections, each in keeping with the tenets of Slow Food cooking. These cookbooks feature seasonal produce and provide easy recipes for making fresh, delicious meals year round.

60 Minutes Interview with Slow Food Revolutionary Alice Waters

The Art of Simple Food

The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters is a classic of the Slow Food Movement. If you're a constant gardener and a daily cook, you'll find yourself turning to it again and again.

The first section focuses on basic techniques (saucing, sauteeing, grilling, simmering, etc.) and basic recipes (herbed butter, vinaigrette, fresh salad, roast chicken, poached eggs, polenta, etc.). The second section consists of still more recipes, each suitable for everyday cooking.


3 medium carrots

1 small celery root

3 medium parsnips

olive oil


The Art of Simple Food


Roasted Root Vegetables

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Meanwhile, peel \carrots, celery root and parsnips, and then cut them into 1/2-inch slices. Coat them lightly with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and spread them in a single layer on a jelly roll pan. Bake until tender, about 25 minutes.

Intro to Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew

All New Square Foot Gardening Cookbook

Mel Bartholomew's All New Square Foot Gardening Cookbook contains more than 135 fresh recipes that focus on 17 (total) vegetables, fruits and herbs from the garden.

Beautifully illustrated with color photos, the cookbook is particularly useful for gardeners who want to save money by using homegrown produce. It includes lots of useful information, including how to

  • create a planting schedule that ensures a continuous harvest of fresh produce,
  • plant more in less space,
  • pick and store specific produce, and
  • cook and preserve large harvests.


8 asparagus stalks, trimmed

10 cherry tomatoes

8 fresh basil leaves

10 black olives, pitted

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 garlic clove, peeled & sliced

salt & pepper

All New Square Foot Gardening Cookbook


Roasted Asparagus with Cherry Tomatoes for Two

Combine asparagus with tomatoes, basil, olives, oil, and clove. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Arrange in a single layer in a roasting pan. Bake 12 minutes at 425 degrees F, stirring twice during cooking.

How to Plant a Salad Bowl

All New Square Foot Gardening Cookbook
All New Square Foot Gardening Cookbook

A cookbook--with lots of great advice for gardeners.

Joy of Gardening Cookbook
Joy of Gardening Cookbook

Includes more than 350 recipes with illustrative photos.


The Joy of Gardening Cookbook

The Joy of Gardening Cookbook by Janet Ballantyne is a recipe collection, not a gardening how-to book. However, it does contain tips on harvesting and storing vegetables.

Ballantyne devotes each chapter to a vegetable. Entire chapters, for instance, focus exclusively on tomatoes, carrots, potatoes and beans, to name a few. And each begins with an "At a Glance" section that provides details about vegetable cultivars as well as picking, storing, handling and preparation methods.

If you're looking for lots of recipes for your money, The Joy of Gardening Cookbook is a good choice. It contains over 350!


6 C. beets, cooked & diced

6-12 eggs, hard-boiled & peeled

2 C. water

1 1/2 C. vinegar

1 1/2 C. granulated sugar

1 stick of cinnamon

5 allspice berries, whole

20 cloves, whole

Joy of Gardening Cookbook


Pickled Beets & Purple Eggs (8-10 Servings)

Place beets and eggs in a nonreactive ceramic or glass jar. Combine the water, vinegar, sugar and spices in a saucepan and heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is fragrant.

Pour the hot vinegar mixture over the beets and eggs. Once the jar has cooled, place it in the refrigerator, allowing it to marinate for at least one day before serving. Will keep for up to a week.

More Good Cookbooks for Gardeners


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    • The Dirt Farmer profile imageAUTHOR

      Jill Spencer 

      7 years ago from United States

      You are welcome, MsDora! Happy you dropped by. --Jill

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      7 years ago from The Caribbean

      I feel like trying the roasted asparagus. Thanks for sharing these simple but healthy and beautiful recipes.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile imageAUTHOR

      Jill Spencer 

      7 years ago from United States

      Hey emkroberts! Thanks for stopping by & commenting. How I envy your greenhouse! Hope you enjoy your pickled eggs & beets. Take care, TDF

    • emkroberts profile image


      7 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Hi Dirt Farmer!

      Thanks for your follow, by the way.

      I love the recipe for pickled beets and purple eggs! I will definitely make that one. As a child, I once ate all the pickled beets a restaurant had. I ordered more and they told me I had eaten them all.

      Anyway, I am looking forward to more of your posts. I just got a greenhouse and I am looking forward to planting!

    • The Dirt Farmer profile imageAUTHOR

      Jill Spencer 

      7 years ago from United States

      Thanks for commenting, Rachel. Cooking with really fresh vegetables is the best! Take care, TDF

    • Rachel Richmond profile image

      Rachel Richmond 

      7 years ago from California

      Wonderful hub ~ cooking right from the garden (or farmers market) is super fresh and good for the body. Living enzymes! :)

    • The Dirt Farmer profile imageAUTHOR

      Jill Spencer 

      7 years ago from United States

      Awesome, Movie Master! Good recipes are really helpful, particularly when lots of vegetables are ready for harvest at one time. Thanks for commenting! TDF

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 

      7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Cooking and gardening, the two just go hand in hand!

      We are growing more and more of our own produce and I will check out these books for sure, many thanks

    • The Dirt Farmer profile imageAUTHOR

      Jill Spencer 

      7 years ago from United States

      Oh chefsref, I know what you mean about having too many cookbooks, but ... I love to read them! Thanks for stopping by & commenting. DF

    • chefsref profile image

      Lee Raynor 

      7 years ago from Citra Florida

      Hey Dirtfarmer

      Very useful Hub. Although I already have too many cookbooks and too little money for more, the ideas you present are sound.

      Since I started writing and reading on the Hub I've started growing more and more of my own produce and cut back on processed food. Grocery stores are pushers of toxic foods to a nation hooked on cheap fatty and sweet foods.

      Kids can grow up today and never be exposed to natural foods. That is tragic and kids are paying a price with their health

    • The Dirt Farmer profile imageAUTHOR

      Jill Spencer 

      7 years ago from United States

      Awesome! Thanks for commenting, StephanieBCrosby. Have fun cooking up all that produce!

    • StephanieBCrosby profile image

      Stephanie Bradberry 

      7 years ago from New Jersey

      Thanks for putting all these great books together. I once had a student write a paper about the book "Gardening by the Square" and swore to buy it. While I have not bought it yet, I have looked up the concept. I plan to use these techniques next summer.


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