The peak of the backyard gardening season makes it easy to eat lots of fresh produce, but the onslaught of an abundant harvest can also lead to culinary fatigue.
If you’re not into canning or don’t have the extra freezer space, you’ll need some creative ideas to keep all that food from going to waste. The first step is to look for new dishes and times (such as breakfast) to add vegetables to the menu.
An omelette loaded with diced tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and onions is an obvious choice. But there are plenty of other options, too.
Try making an open-faced breakfast sandwich by topping a piece of toast with sliced tomato, melted reduced-fat cheddar cheese and even an egg, if you like. The amount of vitamin C in tomatoes rivals that of the traditional glass of orange juice.
Grilled slices of eggplant have a smoky flavour that makes them a perfect stand-in for bacon in a lightened version of eggs Benedict.
This egg-topped summer vegetable casserole calls for plenty of tomatoes and zucchini. The recipe serves eight, so it’s well suited for a brunch with friends, but also makes a great supper for a warm summer evening.
Egg-Topped Summer Vegetable Casserole
1 kg (2 lbs) plum tomatoes (12 to 15 tomatoes)
10 ml (2 tsp) olive oil
15 ml (1 tbsp) minced garlic
500 ml (2 cups) chopped yellow onions
1 l plus 250 ml (5 cups) diced zucchini (1 1/2 pounds)
1 l (4 cups) sliced button mushrooms
50 ml (1/4 cup) tomato paste
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
8 large eggs
250 ml (1 cup) grated Parmesan cheese
Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil.
Cut an “X” in the base of each tomato, slicing just deep enough to break the skin. Add half of the tomatoes to the boiling water and simmer until the skins split, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer them to a plate to cool and repeat with the remaining tomatoes.
When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them, discarding the skins. Coarsely chop the tomatoes and set aside.
In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high, heat the oil. Add the garlic and saute until golden, about 30 seconds. Add the onions and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes more.
Add the zucchini, mushrooms and tomatoes, then saute until softened and juicy, about 10 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium-low, stir in the tomato paste, then simmer, stirring often, until the juices are thickened, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper.
Place a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat it to 200 C (400 F).
Transfer the vegetable mixture to a 23-by-33-cm (9-by-13-inch) or other shallow 3 l (3-quart) baking dish (the vegetables also can be divided between individual ramekins or other smaller baking dishes), spreading them in an even layer.
With a spoon, make 8 deep depressions in the vegetable mixture. Crack an egg into each. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are bubbling and the eggs are beginning to set.
Sprinkle the cheese over the eggs. Bake for another 5 minutes, or until the eggs are set.
Nutrition information per serving: 220 calories; 91 calories from fat; 10 g fat (3 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 190 mg cholesterol; 15 g carbohydrate; 18 g protein; 4 g fiber; 482 mg sodium.