Monday, August 23, 2010

Meatless Monday | Mediterranean Vegetable Casserole

Let's be honest, Fall is just around the corner. I am getting my first head of cabbage this week (didn't I just finish eating that stuff?). Not that I am complaining, but the summer produce is about be a faint memory. I think Americans love summer produce. In fact, I know it. Because every recipe I find tucked away in Winter magazines has corn, green beans, or tomatoes in it. Whenever have you been walking around in December and come across fresh tasty tomatoes? (Sub-tropical areas don't count!) Modern day agriculture has created the ability to have seasonless meals. I've tried to enjoy tomatoes (from the grocery store) in January, they just aren't that great.

So because sometimes I can't keep up with all the produce in my box, I am freezing a lot of it to enjoy later. I've frozen batches of Corn Chowder, Stuffed Peppers, green beans, and squash. All of which will be eaten with delight later. On top of that, I made something called Mediterranean Vegetable Casserole. It's from the Weight Watcher's cookbook Turn Around. I imagine eating it in December over some couscous with grilled fish or roasted chicken. But for now, it's frozen into small portions to be enjoyed by two at a later date.

It takes a while to make and isn't something I would make on a weeknight, but this would make an excellent Saturday evening side or vegetarian entree. However, if you know how to slice vegetables and turn on an oven, you'll be fine and dandy. I used dried herbs instead of fresh. I don't remember how much of each, but there are conversions somewhere on the Internet. I also used green bell peppers and double yellow squash instead of zucchini.

Post prep work.

Cooled and ready to go into the freezer.

Mediterranean Vegetable Casserole
(Makes 6 Servings)

1 small eggplant (about 3/4-pound) eggplant, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch slices
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 large yellow squash, cut into 1/4-inch diagonal slices
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch diagonal slices
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1 onion, very thinly slices
3 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tomato, thinly sliced

1. Heat oven to 400F. Spray 2 nonstick baking sheets and a 1-quart casserole with nonstick spray.

2. Combine the eggplant and a 1 teaspoon of the oil in a bowl. Transfer to a baking sheet and arrange in a single layer. Repeat, first with the squash and then with the zucchini, tossing each vegetable with 1 teaspoon of the oil and arranging in a single layer on the second baking sheet. Bake the vegetables for 12 minutes. Turn the vegetables over and bake 8 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350F.

3. Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the bell pepper, onion, and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, until softened. Cover the skillet and cook, shaking the skillet occasionally, about 5 minutes.

4. Combine the tomato paste and water in a small bowl. Combine the parsley, basil, thyme, salt, and pepper in another small bowl.

5. Arrange half of the eggplant in the casserole and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the herbs. Continue layering with half of the tomato, half of the sauteed vegetables, and half of the squash and zucchini, sprinkling 1 teaspoon herbs between each layer. Repeat the layers, ending with the squash and zucchini. Pour the tomato-paste mixtures over the top. Cover and bake until the vegetables are tender, 50 minutes. Uncover and bake until browned, about 15 minutes.


  1. This looks yummy! I think you're on a Mediterranean kick. You gotta post about the Greek meatballs! They were delish.

  2. Don't worry! I am working on that post.