Our dinner tonight included what just may be my favorite new side dish. Even better, it's totally vegetarian but doesn't taste like it, which is good news for meat eaters on a budget and better news for my vegetarian (or vegan) readers.
It's a riff on my new favorite condiment: homemade giardiniera, which I made roughly according to this recipe. I think my big changes were that I added whole peppercorns (bad idea!) and lots more garlic (good one). On Sunday, I whirred some of the giardiniera with canned tomato sauce to make pizza sauce, and there was still a lot left over. As we're trying to lower-carb our life, I didn't want to serve it with pasta. And there were zucchinis and chuchu (chayote) in the fridge, so I improvised.
The dish browned up wonderfully, all kind of crusty like lasagna gets on the sides of the pan, which will be murderous to clean. (Don't hate me if I admit I'm leaving it for the maid to do tomorrow. Please.) I'd left my giardiniera a bit on the chunky side, so the bits of olive and cauliflower and carrot merged into this thick mess at the bottom with a texture reminiscent of meat sauce. We polished off the entire pan at dinner tonight. Good thing I have more veggies in the fridge, because this might require a repeat performance next week!
Here's the recipe. Enjoy!
1 zucchini, sliced into rounds or long strips about 1/4-1/2 inch thick (per preference)
1 chayote, peeled and with the seed and white pith removed, sliced into strips
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 to 1 cup of giardiniera
Shredded Parmesan, according to preference
Throw the tomato sauce and giardiniera into the blender or food processor until smooth. Pour 1/3 of the mixture into the bottom of a small baking dish. Layer with vegetables and sprinkle with 1/3 of your cheese. Add another scoop of the sauce, then veggies and cheese. Finish with sauce and top with cheese (breadcrumbs would be a good thing here, too!) Drizzle with a little olive oil and throw in a hot oven until bubbly and the cheese is browned.
No need to thank me...you're totally welcome!