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.
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.
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
Adapted from July/ August 2010 issue of EatingWell (yes, I’ve been saving recipes for a while!)
- 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
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bake the vegetables for 1 hour.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
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?