Monday, August 23, 2010

Summer Vegetable Naked Casserole

*Written for Clean Greens Farm & Market*

Vegetables!! Mmm-mmm. Fill your belly! So delicious and good for you!! You will feel a charge of wholesome energy after eating this and similar dishes.

serves 3-4 as a main course or more as a small plate

1 1/2 C brown rice, rinsed
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 C water

1/2 head cauliflower, chopped bite-sized
2 broccoli crowns, chopped bite-sized (save the stalk for soup base!)
½ bell pepper, cut into 1/2" thick strips
3 carrots, cut into 1/2" thick coins
½ head garlic, peeled & sliced 1/4" thick
½ pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
½ red onion, sliced thinly

½ bunch thyme, rinsed & picked off the stem
1/4 C olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
plenty of salt & black pepper TT

1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Cover the bottom of a casserole dish with the rice, the 1/2 t salt and the water, mixing gently to combine. Layer vegetables atop rice, preferably with cruciferous veggies (cauliflower & broccoli) at the bottom, bell pepper & carrots toward the middle, and tomato & onion on top. Season each layer with some garlic, salt & pepper as you build the casserole. If you try to season the whole thing at the end, from the top, there will not be enough seasoning and picky eaters may think to themselves, "You know what? Vegetables are bland and that's why I don't eat more of them." And we don't want that. Anyway, finish by sprinkle thyme across the surface and drizzle on the olive oil
3. Cover with foil and bake for approximately 1 ½ hours, making sure the rice on the bottom is cooked. Sprinkle the lemon juice on top, then serve hot or at room temperature. Pretty easy, right? Who said cooking from scratch was hard?

*Note: A "naked" casserole is just an assembly of delicious things baked together, as a casserole would be, but without a binding component such as eggs, flour, or cheese.

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