Chopped Challenge- Play at Home Submissions

A reminder of the produce items in this challenge:mystery box 1

1 large head cauliflower
1 bunch watercress
1 eggplant
1 bunch kale
3 small green peppers
2 large white potatoes
2 carrots
1 red onion
1 small avocado
3 apples
3 bananas
1 orange

Thank you so much to the people who sent submissions for playing my chopped challenge at your homes! Here they are:


The first submission came from Marg, who wrote and told me how she would use all of the ingredients in a delicious sounding week of meals. Here is her plan, in her words:

My clever son-in-law gave me “The Buddhist Chef” cookbook for Christmas and I have loved all the recipes in it so far.

buddhist chef

The Buddhist Chef: 100 Simple, Feel-Good Vegan Recipes

  1. Last week I made the Eggplant Lasagna with Tofu Bolognese Sauce and I would happily make it again using the red onion, the eggplant and the 2 carrots. I don’t have any celery right now but otherwise I have most of the other ingredients left from last week and I always have tofu, garlic cloves, the sugars and all the spices on hand as well as canned tomatoes. So I would just omit the celery and I have to admit I didn’t make the Vegan mozzarella but instead used Daiya mozzarella that I had in the fridge. I do want to make the Vegan mozzarella though next time I have cashews on hand.
  1. One of my favourite meals is a baked potato. Before I was a vegan I used to love    smothering baked potatoes in butter and sour cream but now I am just as happy with a good topping like chickpeas, tomato and cilantro fried together in a bit of olive oil. To use your food box items I would bake the 2 potatoes and make a topping with 2 of the green peppers, the watercress, some herbs or spices and some canned chickpeas which I always have on hand.
  2. I always try to have half my plate in veggies so every week I roast a baking sheet  of fresh veggies so that for 2-3 days I can just warm them up and fill my half plate. Cauliflower is one of my favourite roasted veggies so for this week I would roast the entire cauliflower (chopped into pieces) along with any other veggies I have on hand (this week I have broccoli and carrots so I would roast all 3 together).
  3. I love avocado especially mashed and on toast, or fried with onion and mushrooms and then made into a sandwich with Vegenaise. So, depending on what I had in the fridge I would treat myself to one of these 2 meals with the avocado.
  4. As for the kale I love kale chips to snack on in the evenings while watching tv. I would break up all the kale into little pieces, massage a bit with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast in the oven. Yum.
  5. Recently I learned that if you blend a banana instead of just mashing it, it becomes very liquid for baking. So to use the bananas I would make these yummy banana oatmeal bites from the Dr. Neal Barnard 21 day Weight Loss Kickstart. I’m not worried about gluten but some people are, so these are gluten free if you use gluten-free oats and they are SO easy to make! As for the apples and orange I would just eat them. I like a piece of fruit after supper every night and this gives me 4!

Oatmeal Banana Bites:
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup oat flour (just blend 1 cup of rolled oats to a flour consistency)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 pureed overripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp vegan chocolate chips or carob chips (optional. Or raisins or nuts if you wish)

Combine all dry ingredients then add banana and vanilla  and stir to combine. Add chocolate chips or raisins. scoop by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 15 minutes in 350 oven.

Oatmeal Banana Bites

Thanks Marg, and thank you also for the great resources for other yummy meals. This is an amazing menu! I see some kale chips in my future, and I’ll be checking out the Buddhist Chef too.


The second submission came from Elsa, who gave us a view of what life is like for her in quarantine, along with a great idea for a delicious looking dish. Here’s what she shared:

Love the blog post–using what you’ve got rather than buying and regretting has always been a struggle for me so I decided to play along, especially as lately I’ve been heavily reliant on delivery “surprise bags” from both friends and local companies. Every couple of days I get a knock on my door and I’ve got a mishmash of strange produce combinations hanging on my doorknob.

I’m not a fan of squishy vegetables and they seemed to be overly abundant this week, so what better way to cope with the mush than to make a lasagna? Easy, tasty, and a guilt-free way to eat two whole blocks of cheese. Plus it’s lasted me several meals so far!

My lasagna was just thinly sliced zucchini and eggplant, mushrooms, cauliflower, diced carrots and onions and a whole lot of garlic. A simple but effective way to burn through a huge portion of otherwise gross vegetables.

Great idea with the Chopped theme, I just hope my picky eating won’t disqualify me!
elsa's lasagna
Thank you Elsa, what a great submission, and of course you are not disqualified!
It made me smile, and I’m thinking there are lots readers thinking about lasagna
for dinner now. <3
And here is Rosemary‘s contribution:
During this crazy time we are all living through, I have been busier than usual, being
that my 8 yr old grandson, who came for Spring Break, is now staying with me for the
duration, since schools are closed and his single father works as a truck driver. My
grandson is a fussy eater, and although I try him with new foods, and sometimes he likes
them  (Yay!), his meals are usually the same 3-4 menus. So suppertimes are often 2

menus – 1 for him, one for me, both being as simple as possible. Because of this, I am not

eating as well as I should. So when I was encouraged to do this challenge, it became

necessary to use something that was sitting in the bottom drawer of my fridge that
would’ve probably ended up in the compost unused.  Kale – lots of it!  The other day, my
next door neighbors who had some kale still in their garden from last year, and knowing

I have guinea pigs, asked if I would like it. I happily took it all. Much of it had gone to

flower, etc. and I gave it to my piggies, but much of it was still fresh and bright, so I put it

in the fridge. So, this evening I am having Kale soup, and hopefully my grandson will try

it too. I am using other ingredients that are in the mystery box, and adding some other

items from my kitchen.

Ingredients: Ro's kale

-Kale (much more than a bunch)
-Carrots – 2
-White onion – needed using, as it was going ‘off’
-Rosemary (saved from my garden last summer)
-Bay leaves
-Can of Campbell’s Mushroom Soup- low sodium
-Garlic clove
-Butter for sauteeing
I will cook the Kale in boiling, then medium heat until soft, meantime saute the

onion, garlic, and chopped carrots in butter. Then combine kale, sautéed ingredients and

mushroom soup into a large pot, adding a cup of water and cook on medium, then low

heat, then adding 1/2 cup dried rosemary and 2 bay leaves.This might end up being

more of a cooked kale meal than soup due to the large amount of kale, but will see how it

all balances out and will send ‘after’ photo’ and results of how it turned out, later today.

….. part 2 below…
After removing all the stalks, there was enough kale to make 3-4 bowl-sized meals, and it
became more of a stew than a soup. I also decided not to use the rosemary – too many

flavours – but the garlic went well with the kale, which has some bitterness. I am happy

with the results.  Sprinkled with a bit of parsley, the pic shows the final result. Enough

for the next few days, since I am quite sure that I will be the only one eating this…..And

for dessert, I am using fruits like the ones from the mystery box and serving with vanilla

yoghurt. My grandson will eat that.
ro kale2

Thanks Rosemary for the lovely story and recipe! Your grandson is lucky to have a

Grandma who cooks fresh and delicious meals for him and is there to nurture him

during the “stay home” orders. Thank you too for the glimpse into how your family

is weathering this Covid-19 world. Stay safe.


Finally, here is Daniel‘s Submission:

Out of your mystery box ingredients we had Eggplant, Onion, and Green Peppers at
home. So based on that and our other stocked stuff, we’re going to be making:

Tomato Garlic Beef Spaghetti with Green Peppers and Eggplant.


-250 g Ground Beef (Could replace with Tofu or Veggie Ground Round for Vegetarian option)
-200 g Spaghetti
-1 Eggplant
-1 Red or Green Pepper
-1 Onion
-5 Cloves Garlic (we love Garlic)
-500 ml Tomato Puree
-1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
-1 tbsp Soy Sauce
-1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese.
1) Prep: Heat water in a large pot till it’s boiling. While waiting for the water to boil, cut
the eggplant into 2-3 cm pieces, core then cut the pepper into bite-size pieces. Peel and
chop the onion into small pieces, and mince or grate the garlic cloves.
2) Heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat and when hot, add 1 tbsp oil, then
onions. Cook until softened. Increase the head to medium high and add the beef and
garlic. Cook, breaking up the beef into smaller pieces until no pink remains.
3) While beef cooks, add the spaghetti to the boiling water. Once done cooking, drain and
return to the same pot, but off the heat
4) Once the beef is done, remove the pan from the heat, transfer beef to a bowl and drain
all but 1/2 tbsp of fat from the pan. If pursuing the vegetarian option, may need to add a
bit of new oil here. Heat the same pan over medium heat, and add the eggplant and
pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until veggies are tender-crisp. Season with salt and
5) Add beef, tomato puree, soy sauce, and Italian seasoning to the pan. Reduce the heat to
medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally until sauce thickens slightly.
6) Add sauce to the pot with spaghetti, Season with salt and pepper, then toss together to
coat. Serve to bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan.
Thank you for your yummy meal idea Daniel, and thanks also for including a
vegetarian option. It sounds so delicious- a real comfort meal for these unsettled
So, there are the mystery box challenge submissions. Thank you a thousand times to the
great sports who took all the time and effort to share their ideas and yummy recipes. My
mouth waters when I read about what you are doing, and I plan on trying some of these
out myself. Please comment below if you would like me to do the challenge again. In the
meantime, I hope you all stay safe and eat well.