Local, Seasonal, Fresh – and Found in a Food Pantry Bag

Seasonal_pantry_bag.jpgOur work at the Food Bank is centered largely on the belief that healthy food should not be a luxury. But enjoying the food we have available to eat shouldn’t be a luxury either, regardless of how limited one’s resources are.

One of our biggest challenges at the Alameda County Community Food Bank is to meet the needs of a very diverse population—each with their own cultures, religions, ages, and health needs—with our own limited resources. But it’s a challenge we overcome, in large part through simple creativity!

Because food often represents so much more than just nutrition needed to survive, our nutrition education team works hard to make healthy and tasty meals from the staple items and fresh produce we distribute. The goal is to share these recipes with food pantries, soup kitchens and our clients so they’re able to make the most of the array of fresh produce and staple items they receive.

The arrival of fall means our warehouse is often piled high with fresh, seasonal produce gleaned from growers throughout California. The recipe below was made with season squash and typical food pantry staples—and shared with our agencies, clients and even staff (much to their delight!). Try it yourself at brunch, breakfast-for-dinner, or as a seasonal side dish.

Winter Squash PancakesSquash_Pancakes.jpg


  • 2 cups cooked winter squash, mashed
  • 1 ½ Tbsp brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup (8 oz) low- or non-fat milk
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder, low-sodium
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 sprays cooking spray


  1. Lightly spray skillet with cooking spray and turn to medium heat.
  2. Beat mashed squash with brown sugar, milk and eggs until smooth.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.
  4. Stir dry ingredients into squash mixture until combined.
  5. Drop batter onto hot skillet by heaping tablespoonful. Lightly oil a spatula and flatten the pancake.
  6. When golden brown on the bottom, flip pancakes and cook until golden brown.

Each serving provides: An excellent source of vitamin A, calcium, phosphorous and selenium, and a good source of fiber, vitamins B1, B2 and C, iron, magnesium, manganese and potassium

Recipe adapted from

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