Tomato Pesto Summer Casserole
By Ginger Hultin MS RD LDN
Casseroles are sometimes associated with cold winter months, but using fresh summer vegetables creates a lighter dish appropriate for hot temperatures. This large casserole makes convenient leftovers for healthy lunches and dinners. Packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, this would be a great dish to make after a trip to the local farmers market. Combine both fresh and canned tomato ingredients for maximum vitamins, minerals and antioxidants!
2 large, unpeeled Yukon Gold potatoes cut into ½ inch rounds
2 teaspoons salt, divided
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper, divided
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large yellow onions, peeled and sliced into thin rings
2 large zucchini squash, cut into ½ inch rounds
2 large fresh tomatoes cut into ¾ inch rounds
1 batch of Tomato Pesto (see recipe below)
4 cups diced tomatoes (use canned varieties)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (or nutritional yeast for a vegan dish)
Heat oven to 350 degrees
Boil potato rounds in a medium saucepan for 10 minutes, until al dente. Drain and season with salt and pepper.
While potatoes are cooking, warm oil over medium heat in a large skillet and sauté onions for 10 minutes or until browned.
Combine all tomato pesto ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth and creamy.
In a glass 9×13 pan, place a layer of zucchini evenly on the bottom. Season with salt and pepper and spread a layer of tomato pesto on top. Add a layer of zucchini, season with salt and pepper and spread a layer of tomato pesto on top. Add a layer of potato rounds and spread another layer of tomato pesto on top. Repeat until veggies are used up in layers.
Top entire casserole with fresh tomato slices and then onions. Season once more with salt, pepper or other fresh herbs from the garden such as basil, thyme, or rosemary as desired.
Bake casserole uncovered for 30 minutes. Let set for 10 minutes and sprinkle with additional parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast before serving.
Ginger Hultin is a Chicago-based dietitian and freelance writer who believes in an unprocessed, plant-based diet. She serves as President for the Chicago Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and works at the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment. You can find her @GingerhultinRD, on her blog becomingginger.blogspot.com, and on Pinterest .