How was your 4th of July?  Did you try my circuit workout?  Hopefully, you’re enjoying a long weekend, but even if you have to work today, I have a recipe for you to look forward to this weekend.  provencal summer vegetables close up

Two foods that “scream summer” to me are tomatoes and basil, and this dish includes both.  I get ridiculously excited each time I cut fresh basil from my vegetable garden (which, sadly, is not producing much else, given the extreme Texas summer heat and my inability to water it 4 days a week while I’m traveling), so I loved including it here.  vegetable garden

Kevin and I could practically survive off of tomatoes, and we often pop a handful of cherry tomatoes as a healthy snack.  You may have heard that tomatoes are high in lycopene – a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to slow growth of cancer cells, and even kill them.  But did you know that cooking tomatoes (and/ or serving them with a bit of heart-healthy fat, like olive oil) actually multiplies the amount of bioavailable lycopene, and makes it more easily absorbed by your body?  Research is still being done to determine the exact mechanism for this in humans, but all the studies I’ve seen show pretty encouraging health benefits (and this dish is so delicious you won’t even be thinking about the benefits!).  The dish is packed with vegetables and is very easy to make (but does require some cooking time).  I enjoyed it so much that I’ll definitely be making it again very soon (and by very soon, I mean tonight … so Mom and Katie – I hope it looks good, because you’ll be eating it in a few hours!) summer vegetable bake thelyonsshare

Summer Vegetable Bake

Serves 3

Adapted from July/ August 2010 issue of EatingWell (yes, I’ve been saving recipes for a while!)

Ingredients new recipes 6.23.13 001

  • 1/2T olive oil
  • 1 leek, diced
  • 1.5 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2t salt
  • 1/2t pepper
  • 3T dry white wine
  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 large zucchini, sliced
  • 1 medium eggplant, sliced
  • 4T freshly shaved parmesan cheese (I used about 3T fresh parmesan and 1T reduced-fat grated parmesan, just because I ran out of fresh)
  • 2T fresh basil, chopped
  • 1T dried marjoram

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Chop your leeks and slice your vegetables.  Did you know that leeks tend to collect dirt in between layers?  The best way to deal with this is to slice about 3/4 of the way through the leek, and spread the layers apart gently while running under water.  Then, shake out the excess water, and chop away. how to wash leekschopped vegetables
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add leeks, garlic, and a shake of salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring frequently, until soft and beginning to brown, about 6 minutes.  Add wine and cook about 1 minute more. leeks and garlic
  4. Transfer the mixture to a large baking dish.  Layer tomatoes, zucchini, and eggplant slices in an alternating shingle pattern over the leek mixture (they will overlap quite a bit).  Scatter basil throughout.  Sprinkle the vegetables with the remaining salt and pepper. layered vegetables for summer bake
  5. Bake the vegetables for 1 hour. after baking for one hour
  6. If you have an amazing husband like mine, he might just use some extra tomato slices, parmesan, and basil, and make you a little “appetizer” while you have to wait for your dinner in the oven! appetizer
  7. Remove from oven after an hour, and sprinkle cheese and marjoram over the top. Continue baking until the edges are browned and the vegetables are very tender, about 15 minutes more. Let cool for about 5 minutes before serving.  summer vegetable bake
  8. Dig in and enjoy!  I served mine (the first time) with a veggie burger and some roasted broccoli, but this is very versatile – tonight we’ll be having it with grilled, herbed chicken/ tofu and pasta. summer vegetable  bake dinner

If you make 3 servings, this recipe will have 141 calories, 5g fat, 15g carbs, and 6g protein.

I’m off to enjoy the last day of vacation (sniff!).  I hope you enjoy your day, too.  Now tell me in the comments… what foods “scream summer” to you?  Did you do anything healthy for this holiday weekend?

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9 Comments

  1. Karen on July 5, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    I’m the lucky Mom who got to enjoy this dish, and trust me, it was DELICIOUS !!!! It was a healthy flavorful lasagna type dish – YUM !!
    Thanks Megan. I will definitely try to make this at home.

    • Megan Lyons on July 5, 2013 at 9:50 pm

      Thanks Mom! Glad you liked it and thanks for letting me cook!

  2. Katie on July 5, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    It was so yummy! Thanks Megan!

    • Megan Lyons on July 5, 2013 at 10:53 pm

      Thanks for eating and sharing your sweet kids!

  3. Debbie on July 6, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    Another great recipe. Even before trying, I can smell the leeks sauteing in the pan….
    Will try it tonite actually!!! My cherry tomato plant is running over and we’ve had tomatoes every night for a week in different recipes….
    FYI Megan, we have a gym where we live, haven’t been. Yesterday we went!!!! But were told that we have to do the orientation so we are going today at 12:30!!!!!! I am very excited!~

    • Megan Lyons on July 6, 2013 at 12:12 pm

      Aunt Debbie, you have no idea how much stories like this completely make my day. I am thrilled that you’re taking such powerful steps toward a healthier life! Don’t overdo it at the gym- start slowly. Every minute you spend working out today is just another minute you’ll add to a healthier tomorrow :). I hope you like the recipe, and I’m very jealous of your tomato plants!

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