One of the best things that I have come across is the produce co-op that we have in Greenville. For $21.50 every two weeks, we get a huge bag of seasonal fruits and veggies, as many as possible from local farms, and it is amazing. I am constantly trying new things that I haven’t tried before because it has shown up in my produce bag. Kale, leeks, parsnips, eggplant, pomegranate, star fruit, and the like are just a few of the new flavors that have been added to our lives.

My favorite part of getting new produce is looking through new recipes to find something I can try using what is available in my kitchen. I have found TONS of ideas, and liked most of them. If nothing else, looking for recipes and subsequently cooking them gives me another form of “therapy” besides running. Not to mention how fun it is to cook from scratch and make delicious vegan fare.

So far, besides eggplant, kale has been my biggest challenge. I have added it to soups and stove-top dishes and it worked, but it hadn’t yet made me super excited to eat it.

This week, I found two ways to eat it that were amazing, so I thought I would share them with you.

The first one is Better Than Trader Joe’s Kale and Edamame Salad. I made it for lunch one day and ate it along with a handful of roasted almonds and was in love. The dressing was fabulous, as was the combination of Craisins, edamame, and chickpeas. I ate it for the next couple of days as part of my supper and as lunch.

The second one is a combination. We had tacos last night and I had some of  my favorite vegan taco filling that I pulled out of the freezer. I mixed up a batch of fresh guacamole (1 small onion, chopped; 3 Roma tomatoes, chopped; 4 avocados, mashed; juice of 1 lime, kosher salt to taste, handful of fresh cilantro, chopped), put some crushed tortilla chips in the bottom of a bowl, tore up some kale, topped it with the taco filling, guacamole, vegan sour cream, and a touch of taco sauce, and it was pretty much the most amazing taco salad that I have ever eaten. Something about the stronger flavor of the kale mixed with the Mexican flavors was so much better than when I have used other types of lettuce.

If you have the opportunity to join a produce co-op in your area, do it. If nothing else, you are helping local farmers and helping yourself as you eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. In addition, then you, too, can find new and delicious ways to add to your weekly menu!