Summer vegetable bake
It has been quite a while since I’ve posted a non baked goods recipe on this blog and I know I’m a bit overdue. I’ve been searching around in vain for recipes that are healthy that I haven’t made before that don’t actually require much cooking time because when it’s this hot out (sorry, people who live in the Northeast) I just want to be on the beach all the time and not really cooking at all. When I saw this recipe I figured it was a great compromise because most of it is just cutting vegetables, and then you stick it in an oven, go away, and the completed product is a large pan of delightful vegetable-ness that you can eat over the course of a week.
As with many layered vegetable dishes, feel free to change the types of vegetables if you so desire. Yellow squash is super hard to find in Australia so I just used zucchini this time around, but I did use all the below veggies on the list. If you don’t like any of them though just don’t use them. Or use different colours of pepper/capsicum. The key is to just have a variety of colours, particularly if you are serving it to other people, so it looks nice and pretty. Allow a bit of time to chop everything but then once it’s in the oven you just sit back and wait (and/or clean up all your cutting boards) and when it comes out, you’ve got a huge pan of vegetables to divide up however you like (see suggestions at the end of this entry)!
Summer vegetable bake (adapted from Pinch and Swirl)
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling (the original recipe called for a lot but obviously I ended up not using that much)
- 1 pound / 0.5 kg of small potatoes – Yukon Gold or red would be good – you don’t want the big ones since you want to slice them thinly
- 1 head garlic, cloves peeled and coarsley chopped – I didn’t have this so just used some garlic in a tube and spread it thinly on the appropriate layer
- ¼ cup fresh thyme leaves, divided – fresh is better, but you can used dried spices if you want
- 1 medium eggplant, sliced ¼ inch thick (peel it if you prefer, but I didn’t)
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced, divided
- 2 ounces grated Pecorino Romano cheese, divided – I used a bag of shaved parmesan which I thought was fantastic
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 2 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 2 zucchini, sliced ¼ inch thick
Preheat the oven to 350 F / 180 C. Coat a large rectangular pan (I used a 9 by 13 inch one but you could go bigger) with cooking spray or olive oil. Spread the potatoes over the bottom in an even layer. Sprinkle chopped garlic and ½ of thyme leaves over the top; drizzle with oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Then, spread the eggplant slices in an even layer over the garlic and thyme. Spread ½ of onion slices, separated into rings, in an even layer over the eggplant; sprinkle ½ of the grated cheese; drizzle with oil and season lightly with salt and pepper.
You’re probably getting the hang of this by now. Next, arrange red pepper slices in an even layer over the onion. Repeat with tomato slices; drizzle with oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. (Drizzle with oil as much or as little as you want – I think I only drizzled with oil a few times throughout the layering process as opposed to after every layer). Arrange remaining onion slices, separated into rings, in an even layer over the tomatoes. (As you’ll see from my photos, I didn’t have circular slices – I just had thin strips of onion everywhere). Top onion with zucchini in an even layer; drizzle with oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Sprinkle remaining cheese and thyme over the top. (I actually didn’t have fresh thyme so just sprinkled some dry spices over it.)
- Cover the dish with foil and bake for 1 hour. If you have a weird convection oven like mine, it will probably take less time. Keep an eye on it and check it after about 30 minutes. When you can see that the veggies are getting tender, increase
- the oven temperature to 220 C / 425 F. Uncover the pan and bake for about 20 minutes longer, until the vegetables are tender and lightly brown on top. Let stand 10 minutes and serve warm. It’s very easy to apportion up the leftovers and put in containers and then reheat in the microwave several days later.
The final product before going into the oven (layers of red pepper and tomato have been added before the zucchini but you can’t really see them) – and then there is olive oil and more parmesan sprinkled on the top
This was absolutely delicious and worth the upfront investment of cutting everything into little circles. Once everything is cut, it’s really as simple as layering it all in a pan and sticking it in the oven for a while. It would be a great dinner for a group, or just for yourself with ample leftovers for lunches. I used about two-thirds of it for a couple lunches and one Sunday night dinner, and the remaining third I actually put into it’s own baking pan (cold) and mixed it with an egg/milk combination to get a vegetable frittata which I then had for lunch for the remainder of the week. It’s so versatile and I love what you can do with all the leftovers (the original website provides great ideas). Even though I don’t like cooking too much in the heat, this is a perfect summer recipe since you don’t have to be labouring over a stove or anything. I highly recommend this one!
One year ago: Panettone muffins