Easy Recipes to Make the Most Out of Mobile Food Pantry Produce

Volunteer holding apples

Fresh produce makes up over half of the food provided by a Mobile Food Pantry, and this summer we want go one step further by sharing some delicious recipes to utilize some the food one might receive.

Here are some common produce items distributed through Mobile Food Pantries in the summer: cucumbers, apples, carrots and mushrooms.

Below you will find some of our favorite summer recipes using these items!

Volunteer holding a cucumber

Watermelon and Cucumber Salad

Equipment needed: Cutting board, knife, serving bowl, small mixing bowl, mixing spoon, whisk

Serves: 2


  • 1 medium cucumber, diced
  • 1 ½ cup watermelon, diced
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/3 ea. lemon, juiced
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp water, or as needed
  • 3-4 ea. mint leaves, cut in ribbons

Method of preparation:

  1. Place the cucumber and watermelon in a serving bowl and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the oil, lemon juice and salt and whisk together.
  3. Add a tsp of water, mix and taste. Adjust the flavors as needed.
  4. Pour the mixture over the fruit, add the mint leaves, and toss to coat. Enjoy!

Volunteer holding apples

Apple Slaw

Equipment needed: Cutting board, knife, large bowl, measuring spoons, measuring cups, spoon, grater, small container with lid

Serves: 4


For the slaw:

  • 1 cup red cabbage, sliced thin
  • 1 cup green cabbage, sliced thin
  • 2 ea. apples, sliced matchsticks
  • 1 ea. carrot, grated
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 ea. green onion, sliced on a bias
  • 2 tbsp. sliced almonds (optional)

For the dressing:

  • 2 tbsp. oil (i.e., olive oil, grapeseed oil, avocado oil)
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cayenne pepper to taste

Method of preparation:

  1. In a small container with a lid, add oil, honey, apple cider vinegar, lime juice, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Shake well until fully incorporated. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the red cabbage, green cabbage, apples, carrot, dried cranberries and green onions. Mix until fully incorporated.
  3. Pour the dressing over the slaw and mix well. Top with the slices almonds (optional). Season to taste with salt and pepper as desired. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Volunteer holding carrots

Spicy Pickled Carrots

Equipment needed: Small saucepan, stove, knife, spoon, Mason jar (or some sort of pot with lid), refrigerator

Serves: 3-4


  • 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp sugar or honey (optional)
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 lb. carrots, peeled cut into 1/3’s (remove tops)

Method of preparation:

  1. In a small saucepan add in vinegar, water, salt, sugar, red pepper flakes and cumin and turn stove to medium heat.
  2. Stir until well combined and allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes. Taste and adjust flavor as needed (can add more salt or sugar)
  3. Place the carrots in large glass Mason jar, then pour the brine over the carrots until fully submerged.
  4. Seal with lid of jar and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Enjoy!

Mushrooms in a food box

Spinach, Mushroom and Chickpea Pasta Casserole

Equipment needed: 12 in x 15 in baking pan (or casserole dish) with lid, mixing spoon, knife, oven

Serves: 9


  • 3 cups spinach (frozen or fresh)
  • 2 cups mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 ea. onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 3 (12 oz.) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (16 oz.) box pasta of your choice, uncooked
  • 3 ½ cups vegetable broth (or water)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • To taste, salt and pepper
  • Optional toppings: cheese, basil

*If using frozen vegetables, let them sit out and defrost before using.

Method of preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Spread the spinach, mushrooms, onion, garlic, chickpeas and pasta evenly across the casserole dish.
  3. Pour the vegetable broth over everything and cover with a lid.
  4. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. The casserole should absorb all the water, if there is extra water leftover, place it back in the oven for an additional 5 minutes uncovered.

Remove from the oven, let cool for 5-8 minutes, and add the lemon juice and any desired toppings. Enjoy!

Written by Content Specialist Kelly Reitsma with recipes from Maryland University of Integrative Health