It may be fall, but the deep heat I experienced on both the east and west coasts last week was no indication. A football tailgate spent seeking shade rather than warmth has thankfully delayed the inevitable seasonal shift in mindset.And since summer produce remains readily available at the farmers market, the hearty squashes can be nudged out for a bit longer as far as I’m concerned. Soon enough.
Try to fit this colorful, flavorful veggie casserole in before the turn. You get the joy of layering but without the heavy prep of lasagna. And you can delete, substitute or add just about any vegetable which is a great way to use things up you have on hand. Any way you stack it, it’s simple to throw together and delicious to go along with any meat, poultry or fish.
Zucchini, Mushroom and Tomato Roasted Casserole
- 3-5 Zucchini, sliced lengthwise or in rounds (amount depends on variety/size)
- 15 Mushrooms (sliced)
- 5 Scallions (sliced up to dark green stalk)
- Tomatoes (one basket cherry or 4 -5 sliced whole *)
- 1 Tablespoon Salt (Herb, Large Grain or Kosher)
- 3/4 Tablespoon Black Pepper, preferably freshly ground
- 1 Tablespoon Thyme (Dried)
- 1 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1/2 Cup or more Parmesan Cheese
Note – Measurements are approximate.
* If using whole tomatoes, slice and place on a paper towel while prepping other ingredients to soak some of their liquid.
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Arrange 1/3 of the vegetables on the bottom of an oiled or buttered medium baking dish.
- Sprinkle with 1/3 of the salt, pepper, thyme, and red pepper flakes.
- Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil over and sprinkle with 1/3 of the parmesan cheese.
- Repeat three times.
- Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.
When it comes to side dishes, I gravitate to the quick prep/undisturbed cooking options because pre-dinner, a multitude of other interferences insist attention. Weeknights don’t tend to be the time for fuss. The default is to gather a variety of potatoes and/or veggies, toss them onto a baking sheet, glug on some olive oil and sprinkle with herbs and a seasoning salt before setting in the oven. Although the results hit the high mark sometimes more than others, you’ll get a tasty and reliable side staple regardless.
But something about this sweet potato recipe has me hooked. I made it three times last week. Like the stand-by, preparation is simple and there is no need to monitor, but it has a winning flavor and perfect bite every time.
Reheated leftovers are just as worthy. Or try with poached eggs! (see recipe below)
As an added benefit, this tuber vegetable side dish will up the nutrition quotient of your meal:
- Saturated Fat
- Glycemic Index
- Dietary Fiber
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Magnesium and Vitamin C
Sweet Potato or Yam?
Surprisingly, both of the above are sweet potatoes. Those yams we think we’re eating at Thanksgiving are more commonly harvested in West Africa are very rarely found in our supermarkets. These two have a slight consistency and taste difference but both work well in this recipe.
Conventional or Organic?
Sweet potatoes are on Environmental Working Groups Clean 15 List so are considered less likely to be contaminated by pesticides. Their strong outer layer would seem to provide a sufficient boundary, but this video-gone-viral of a little girls’ science experiment could give you pause next time you purchase them. She attempts to grow roots in jars using non-organic, conventional organic and local organic sweet potatoes. I think I’ll be adding a plus one to EWG’s Dirty Dozen List.
For more information on the experiment and Bud Nip, click here.
Savory Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- 3-4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into uniform sized pieces
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place sweet potatoes in a baking dish or on a sheet pan. Lining with foil will minimize clean up.
- Melt butter either in a microwave safe measuring cup or in a small saucepan.
- Add rosemary, garlic,
salt and pepper. Toss to evenly coat potatoes and spread
into a single layer.
- Drizzle with olive oil and top with parmesan cheese.
- Add water to baking dish.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes or until tender when pricked with a fork.
Adapted from It’s a Keeper
Poached Eggs and Bacon/Spinach Over Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- Roasted Sweet Potatoes (Leftover)
- Bacon (optional)
- Spinach (optional)
- Begin heating a few inches of water in a frying pan.
- While waiting, start bacon and/or spinach. See instructions here for cooking bacon in the microwave or oven or on the stovetop. See instructions here for sautéing spinach.
- Add about 1/2 teaspoon of white vinegar to the water which helps to keep the eggs intact.
- Break the first egg into a small bowl.
- Just as the water is starting to lightly simmer but before it comes to a full boil, turn down the flame to keep it minimally bubbling.
- Begin swirling the water with a spoon and gently slide the bowl into the water letting the egg slip out. Add the remaining eggs to the bowl one at a time and repeat the process. (If the white seems to be spreading significantly, you can gently push toward the yolk with a spoon or spatula.)
- When done placing the eggs to the water, set the timer for 3 minutes and line a plate with a paper towel.
- After 3 minutes, check the eggs. Remove when the whites have set, up to 1 minute more.
- Gently remove from the water with a slotted spoon onto the paper towel. If not serving immediately, remove the eggs at 3 minutes when they’re slightly underdone (whites aren’t floating and are close to set.) Place in a bowl of cold water, cover and put in the refrigerator. Reheat for a minute in lightly simmering water.
- Heat the potatoes in a microwave or oven. Place on a plate, top with bacon and/or or spinach, slip poached eggs on top.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Hot House Tomatoes
Seasonal change is creating excitement at the farmers market. It was packed today. A pleasant surprise was the arrival of summer squash. And big leafy bunches of basil. And even tomatoes. One farm produces a great variety from the hot house and provides an early taste of summer every year. Unfortunately, only the seconds were left at the late hour we arrived, but this sauté recipe showcases their great flavor.
Cut zucchini in wedges
Use any variety, or a mix, of onion
Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook Time: 20 mins | Servings: 3-4
- 8 medium zucchini
- Good olive oil
- 2 large yellow onions cut in half and sliced 1/2 inch thick
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Remove the ends of the zucchini and, if they are large, cut in half lengthwise. Slice diagonally in 1/2-inch slices.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large (12-inch) saute pan and add the onions. Cook for 10 minutes on medium-low heat until they start to brown.
- To keep in one layer, add half the zucchini, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to the pan and cook, tossing occasionally, for 10 or until just cooked through. If zucchini is crowded, you’ll steam rather than saute it so two batches might be necessary.
- Put zucchini and onion on a plate, scraping bits from the bottom of the pan so they don’t burn.
- Add second half of zucchini and 1/4 teaspoon salt and fresh ground pepper.
- When done, add zucchini and onion from plate and sprinkle with parmesan.
- Cook for 30 seconds more.
- Serve immediately or keep in the stove and heat up when ready.
* All Star Organics Salts and Sugars are available at the Sunday Farmers Market in San Rafael, specialty retailers and online.