This post is for Molly and Tom, who “went vegan” for the month of April! I’m so proud of you! Here’s something you might like even as you go forward. It can be a “spread” or a sauce, as follows:
- For Roasting:
- 1 zucchini, washed (unpeeled) and cut into large chunks
- 1 large-ish tomato, topped and seeded (squeeze the seeds into the sink and discard)
- 1 green bell pepper, washed, de-seeded and cut into large chunks
- 1 jalapeño pepper (or other small, hot pepper), washed, cut in half length-wise and de-seeded
- 1 onion, skinned and cut into large chunks
- 1 head of garlic, topped (Leave the skins on. See pictures below.)
- Add ins:
- 1 cup pitted, black olives
- 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt (omit if you like)
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- Red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Prepare the vegetables in the ingredients list.
- Place the roasting ingredients in an 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish. No oil. No salt. Just plain. Nestle the garlic head in with the other vegetables. Cover the pan with tin foil.
- Place in the oven for 45 minutes, checking after 20 minutes to make sure the house isn't burning down or some other odd occurrence, such as maybe you forgot you put your keys in the oven. (Listen! It happens!) Assuming everything's OK, the vegetables will be sufficiently cooked after 45 minutes, no sticking or burning! Yay.
- Let the cooked vegetables cool for at least 20 minutes. (I like to do this step a day ahead and I keep the cooked vegetables in the refrigerator overnight, doing the rest the next day. That's just how I am.) Once it's OK to handle, pick out the garlic head and give it a squeeze. The roasted garlic will pop out and you can let it fall into the pan with the rest of the vegetables. Discard the skins.
- Throw all the ingredients in a food processor or high-speed blender and puree to your desired consistency.
- Serve on toasted, sliced bread (as you would a bruschetta) or on top of a multi-grain cracker or pita chip.
2. Use the leftover spread, stretching the quantity by adding a jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce to it. This will make things saucy and then you can serve it over zoodles (zucchini noodles) or pasta!! I love doing this. My choice: zoodles. This is the best topping for them!
A Little Advice (with pictures)
Don’t worry too much about cutting the vegetables up prettily; they’ll be pureed eventually anyway. There is also no need to grease the pan. Yay! Saved steps will leave you more time to sit around with your feet up.
For the garlic, simply cut off the pointy tips, leaving the stem holding everything together.
Nestle that garlic head amongst the other vegetables. (Every now and then, I like to say “amongst” rather than “among” because it just seems right that way.)
Here is a picture of the vegetable dish covered with tin foil (just in case you don’t know what a tin-foil-covered dish looks like):
When it’s all cooked and cooled a bit, pick up that garlic head and give it a squeeze. The roasted garlic will pop right out. (Squeeze the garlic into the pan for now and discard the skins.)
Here’s the finished product.
I like to add a jar of spaghetti sauce to stretch any leftovers, then serve it as a sauce over zucchini noodles. Yum! I usually add red pepper flakes, because it’s best spicy in my opinion!