I have finally made peace with food. I have learned to eat intuitively!

Kayla, Age 26

Veggie Overload

July 20, 2012  |  Leave a Comment

For many summer time equates to lots of planting and fresh veggies in the garden. With this you may be left with a plethora of tomatoes, eggplant, peppers or squash and you don’t know what to do with it all.  I found this article by Kim Kash with Beachbody that offers great ideas on how to utilize that extra produce.

For example, most people produce a lot of tomatoes during the summer time months. You don’t have to stick to plain tomato sauce.  Here are some great ideas for using them that won’t bore you.

Blender tomato sauce. Fill your blender 3/4 full of cored, quartered tomatoes—should be about a half dozen or so. Throw in a few cloves of garlic, a generous handful of basil leaves, and a small onion or a small bunch of green onions or scallions. Salt and pepper to taste, and blend with a little bit of olive oil, tasting and adding up to 1/2 cup to get a smooth but not oily consistency. When you stir this into fresh, hot pasta, the sauce will warm up just enough.

Roasted tomatoes. Slice tomatoes in half or in big chunks. Arrange on one or more baking sheets. Add big handfuls of basil, cilantro, or spring onions, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until tomatoes are wrinkly and soft, and herbs are completely wilted and disintegrating. Put into a bowl, and be sure to scrape all the oil and bits of herb off of the baking pan. Makes a great pasta sauce, bruschetta topping, or chunky topping for chicken, fish, or another cooked vegetable.

Tomato salad. Mix a variety of colors and types of tomatoes, throw in some herbs, and add a simple oil and vinegar dressing and a bit of salt and freshly ground pepper. Just because it’s salad doesn’t mean it has to have lettuce in it.

When it comes to summer squash, there are a number of different ways to prepare it.

Grilled squash.  Thickly slice squash lengthwise and roast on the grill. 

Summer squash bake.  Slice or roughly chop a combination of summer squashes, enough to fill a baking dish. Add fresh herbs if you have them. Grate a layer of cheddar, jack, or even mozzarella on top, and use your fingers to sift a little bit of the cheese down into the vegetables. Sprinkle whole-grain breadcrumbs on top if you wish. Bake in a 350-degree oven until the vegetables are soft and the cheese is beginning to brown. Cover with foil if the cheese or breadcrumbs are browning too quickly. If the finished dish is a bit watery (some summer squashes are more watery than others when cooked), serve with a slotted spoon.

  • For an Italian spin on the summer squash bake, add tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese.

Curried summer squash bake. Same as squash bake above, only omit the cheese and add a drained can of chickpeas, maybe some fresh greens, and 1 to 2 tablespoons curry powder to taste, depending on the quantity of squash you’re baking.

Grate and freeze. Use later for zucchini fritters, zucchini bread, in frittatas, as a thickener for spaghetti sauce, or a filler in any kind of vegetable bake or casserole.

To make the best use of your basil make pesto! You can use pesto on bruschetta, add it to salads as dressing, use it as a pasta sauce or sandwich spread, or top your grilled or roasted chicken fish and vegetables with it.  And pesto is easy to store.  Just put it in the refrigerator in a tightly closed jar. 

Bell peppers can be eaten with any meal.  Oven roast or grill them and store them in a tightly closed container.  When you’re in the mood you can use them in a pasta dish, on sandwiches, or even in an omelet. 

With all the eggplant this summer, instead of making eggplant parmesan try something different like roasting or grilling it.  Here are two recipes you can use roasted eggplant in –

Baba ghanoush.  Slash one or more eggplants in several places and bake on a pan in a 425-degree oven until very soft. This can take an hour or more, depending on the size of the eggplants. Cool, then peel off the skin. Throw the soft interior into a food processor. For each eggplant, add 2 cloves of garlic, 1/4 cup of tahini, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and the juice from one lemon. Blend just until incorporated, leaving the texture a little rough. Salt to taste. To serve, make a little well on the top of the baba ghanoush and pour some olive oil into the depression. Sprinkle parsley over the top. (Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison.)

Roasted eggplant salad. Roast eggplants as above, peel and roughly chop. Serve in a large salad bowl with toasted pine nuts or walnuts, lots of parsley, and mint. If you have too many tomatoes, chop and add a few of those. Dress with either light vinaigrette or with a bit of whipped yogurt.

After reading this I’m sure you won’t run out of ways to put your veggies to use this summer!

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