Rooftop to table: spaghetti with roasted swiss chard, eggplant, tomatoes and carrots

spaghetti with roasted swiss chard, eggplant, tomatoes and carrots
Roasted veggies, picked from U of T’s rooftop garden.
(Recipe at the end of this post.)

Downtown Toronto may be known as a concrete jungle, but the University of Toronto campus is blessed with lush pockets of greenery — towering walls of ivy, manicured beds of perennials and even a tropical bamboo garden. Every day this plant-obsessed lady feels grateful to work in such a picturesque setting.

I recently learned of another garden, ripe with a vast array of organic vegetables and fruits, built atop the Galbraith engineering building. The Sky Garden was set up in 2010, an expansive network of lightweight, semi-hydroponic containers that enable harvesting from July to late September or early October.

Every week a grad student, Matt, leads an eager group of volunteers from the U of T community to harvest heaps and heaps of fresh greens. The volunteers can take the veggies home, with the remaining bounty donated to a local food bank. This year so far, more than 600 pounds of crops have been picked.

Last week’s haul included spinach, lettuce, Swiss chard, green beans, eggplant, corn, tomatoes, carrots, hot peppers, parsley and a handful of the sweetest strawberries you’ll ever taste. In addition, the garden has yielded sweet peppers, cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, summer and winter squash, cucumbers, radishes, potatoes, onions, snow peas, rhubarb and herbs like basil, dill, sage, thyme, mint and oregano.

Keep scrolling to check out U of T’s leafy slice of the sky.

Swiss chard
Urban fresh: Swiss chard up close
greens and volunteers
Harvest boon: volunteers at work
greens and flowers
Photo by Matt Stata
rows of greens
Photo by Matt Stata
Toronto skyline
A dusky glimpse of the Toronto skyline
greens, corn, tomatoes and carrots
My share of last week’s harvest
eggplant, corn and carrots
How adorable are these carrots, corn and eggplant?

Spaghetti with roasted Swiss chard, eggplant, tomatoes and carrots

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 to 40 minutes
Total time: 40 to 50 minutes

  • whole-wheat spaghetti (or any pasta noodle)
  • olive oil
  • balsamic reduction
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp of nutritional yeast
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Swiss chard
  • eggplant
  • tomatoes
  • carrots
  • parsley
  1. Chop the veggies and spread them across a baking tray. Add the garlic.
  2. Drizzle generously with olive oil and sprinkle the nutritional yeast.
  3. Roast at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 40 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, boil a pot of water.
  5. Add the pasta and simmer until you get the desired softness.
  6. Drain the pasta and set aside.
  7. When the veggies are roasted, remove from the oven and stir into the pasta. You might need to add a bit more olive oil.
  8. Add the nutritional yeast.
  9. Drizzle with balsamic reduction.
  10. Garnish with parsley and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

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