Nothing brightens up a meal like the fresh flavor of herbs and vegetables straight from the garden. Grow a variety of herbs either outdoors or in pots in a sunny window, and you'll have culinary magic at your fingertips to incorporate into virtually any dish you can whip up. Here are five meal ideas, from sweet and spicy mango pepper salsa to individual berry gratins, that will bring a taste of the garden to your table.
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Appetizer: Mango and Sweet Pepper Salsa with Toasted Pepitas
Chopped fresh cilantro brings a citrusy flavor to this deliciously simple appetizer recipe, which combines the sweetness of mango and red bell pepper with tart lime juice, spicy cayenne and crunchy toasted pumpkin seeds.
Entree: Spinach Lasagna
The classic combination of fresh basil, tomatoes, garlic and olive oil brighten up a rich and creamy spinach lasagna. Fontina cheese and bechamel sauce bring this take on the Italian favorite even more of a comfort food.
Side Dish: Slow-Cooked Ratatouille
Thyme, basil and parsley complement a variety of fresh vegetables including eggplant, tomatoes and bell peppers in this warm side dish, which simmers in the oven for over an hour to combine all of the flavors.
Side Dish: Glazed Carrots
Carrots pulled from the soil of your garden can be much more than just a colorful addition to salad. Bring out their sweet flavor with lemon juice, a little bit of sugar and some salt and pepper. Try augmenting this simple recipe with chives and tarragon.
Dessert: Individual Berry Gratins
A mixture of fresh berries are topped with zabaglione, a mixture of cream, egg yolks, sugar and white wine, for individual-sized desserts that are just as tasty as they are beautiful. Garnish these berry gratins with a bit of fresh mint.