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Summer is finally here! And with it comes nature’s abundance of homegrown produce. Berries of all kinds have already started – or finished (thanks for the memories, strawberries, it’s been fun!), and as July gets into the heat of things leafy greens are popping up along with bunches of vegetables. In July alone you can look at markets of all sizes and roadsides for locally grown wax beans, broccoli, celery, cucumbers, green onions, peas, potatoes, peppers, and even some early tomatoes.

What do you do with them? If you’re anything like us you need to buy 2 of everything because half of your haul won’t make it home, (I’m sorry honey, it was a snaccident). The rest of your locally produced quarts and baskets of Ontario-fresh garden glories are waiting for your next culinary adventure.

Vegetables are versatile, which makes them easy to add to any meal. Grill them, roast them, steam them, boil them, or serve them up raw. Select your cooking method based on your main dish. If you’re barbecuing, grill your vegetables or plate crudités so that you aren’t running in and out of the house. Roasting vegetables is a treat that’s deceivingly simple. Just oil and roast! And while your oven usually has enough space to cook a main course and roast vegetables, heat distribution may not be even so plan extra cooking time or steam or boil your vegetables instead. Vegetables cook quickly making your keys to success evenly-sized pieces and vigilance.

Leafy Greens are for more than just salad! Ontario has a vast array of leafy greens available right now, including spinach, beet greens, and lettuces galore. Broad-leaf lettuce leaves such as Boston and leaf lettuce can take place of pitas, tortilla wraps, and taco shells, adding a refreshing crunch to these dishes. Narrow lettuce like romaine make tasty boats – think of them like an open-faced sandwich. Add leafy greens to soup as a garnish, to stir frys, or tear into shreds and nibble with dip. And, of course, there’s always salad!

Now, for the moment you’ve been reading for: Summer vegetables with pasta! The average home cook uses pasta as a vehicle for sauce and meatballs. Now is a great time to stretch your pasta expectations as locally-grown vegetables are readily available. Those vegetables you grilled, roasted, or steamed? Add them to your pasta! For marinara sauce add some onions, carrots, and a few handfuls of spinach. If you prefer béchamel sauce reach for mushrooms, broccoli, and peas. Peppers go with everything! Add some colour and texture to your pasta salads with fresh or roasted vegetables. Spinach in particular goes well with pasta salads and is equally satisfying served with warm pasta or refrigerated.

National Pasta carries a variety of compliments to your summer vegetable finds. Bring home fresh pasta, sauces so good you’ll think your grandmother made them, and lively dressings for your salad. We’ve even go steak! Visit us in Cambridge at 25 Struck Court unit 3 or in Guelph at 715 Wellington Street West. Online shopping coming soon.

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Cambridge Store (Head Office)
25 Struck Court Unit 3
Cambridge, ON
N1R 8L2

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