Slow-Cooked Zucchini-Vegetable Casserole Full of Garlic, Coconut Oil, Pine Nuts and More
If you’re tired of eating the usual casseroles, you should try this meatless casserole recipe. Pine nuts, zucchini, eggplant, and tomatoes make the perfect ingredients for this meatless casserole:
- Pine nuts, zucchini, eggplant, and tomatoes make the perfect ingredients for this all-vegetable casserole
- Tomatoes contain zeaxanthin, a phytonutrient that protects the eye and helps prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
- Zucchini is a great source of B-complex vitamins such as folate, B6, B1, B2, B3, and choline, which help maintain normal blood sugar regulation
- 1 eggplant, sliced into chunks
- 2 pounds zucchini, sliced into chunks*
- 1 red pepper, sliced into strips
- 2 medium onions, sliced
- 4 medium tomatoes, diced*
- 1 cup coconut oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- ½ cup pesto sauce
- 2 cups fresh basil or spinach
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- Blend all the pesto sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor.
- Heat coconut oil in a medium saucepan. Add eggplant, zucchini, red pepper, and onions. Sauté over medium heat in small batches, so there is enough coconut oil remaining for all the vegetables.
- Heat the oven to 350°Fahrenheit. Place the sautéed vegetables in a baking dish, leaving the oil used for the vegetables in the saucepan.
- Add the tomatoes to the oil in the saucepan, press the garlic cloves into the pan, and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour tomato mixture and pesto over the vegetables. Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or longer for a more crispy texture.
Pesto Baked Tomato-Vegetable Casserole Cooking Tips
Make sure you place your casserole in the middle of the oven to ensure that it bakes evenly. To achieve a crispy texture, do not cover while baking.
This healthy and delicious casserole tastes even better when made with basil pesto sauce. If you have basil in your garden, you can easily make fresh pesto sauce. You can make fresh pesto sauce in large batches and then freeze it to extend its shelf life. Frozen pesto sauce can be used for up to three months.
Eggplants provide the meaty texture for this meatless casserole. It is important to pick firm and glossy eggplants with bright green stems. When you push the flesh with your thumb, it should bounce back. If it doesn’t, it’s a clear sign that it may be overripe. Store your eggplants in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator to keep them fresh longer.
For zucchinis, I recommend keeping their skin intact when cooking as it contains most of their antioxidants and fiber.
Look for fresh tomatoes that are bright red and do not have any cracks, wrinkles, bruises, or soft spots. It is also better if you avoid using metal pans and storage containers to prevent dangerous aluminum being absorbed by the tomatoes and your body.
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