Vegetable Gumbo

3 Tbsp. olive oil
8 oz. container chopped celery, onions, green peppers
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 large bay leaf
¼ tsp. dried thyme
36 oz. vegetable broth
1 lb. sliced zucchini
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 can baby corn, drained
1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 lb. peeled, cubed butternut squash
1-1/2 cups Arborio rice
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

Heat oil in a large soup pan over medium heat. Add celery, onion, and green pepper mixture along with garlic. Cook for 7 minutes. Add bay leaf and thyme and cook for 2 more minutes. Add vegetable broth, stir and bring to a boil. Add zucchini, tomatoes, baby corn, and squash. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in rice.

Simmer covered for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally so rice doesn’t stick to bottom. Mix in beans and parsley and cook for 5 minutes more. When rice is done, serve hot. Serves 6 to 8.

Cauliflower Couscous

½ cup dried apricots, cut into quarters
1 lb. cauliflower rice
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ package baby spinach
1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
½ cup walnuts, chopped
½ cup green onions, sliced

In a small bowl, put the apricots and cover with boiling water for at least 10 minutes. Drain before using.

In a large pot or skillet, heat 1Tbsp. olive oil and 1Tbsp. butter. Add onion and cook until wilted. Add garlic and stir. Add cauliflower and cook for several minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix in apricots, spinach, chickpeas, chopped nuts, green onions. Stir in remaining olive oil and butter. Heat and serve. Serves six.

Zucchini Egg Bake

2 Tbsp. olive oil
8 oz. diced onion
15 oz. can sweet corn, no salt added
2-16 oz. containers sliced zucchini
8 oz. diced tomatoes
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
1 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp. dried oregano
12 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
6 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the vegetables and sauté until softened. Remove from heat and stir in seasonings, about 2/3 of the cheese, and the eggs. Mix thoroughly. Transfer into greased casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Top with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake 10 minutes more or until browned and bubbly. Serves 6-8.

Vegetable Lasagne

12 no-cook lasagna noodles
12 oz. shredded Italian blend cheeses

Vegetables
2 medium zucchini, sliced
2 cups broccoli florets
2 large carrots, julienned
2 red bell peppers, julienned
2 tsp. chopped garlic
¾ tsp. dried thyme
¼ cup olive oil

Sauce
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups small Portobello mushrooms, sliced
2 tsp. chopped garlic
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2-28 oz. cans no salt crushed tomatoes
3 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil

Filling
1-1/4 cups ricotta cheese
8 oz. package cream cheese, room temperature
1 egg
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Put first seven ingredients into a bowl and mix to blend. Spread over two greased baking sheets. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes or until tender. Set aside.

In a Dutch oven, sauté onions, mushrooms, and garlic in 2 Tbsp. olive oil until tender. Then stir in crushed tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and fresh basil leaves. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Combine filling ingredients in a separate bowl. In a greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish, spread 1 cup of sauce on the bottom. Then layer with noodles, cheese filling, vegetables, and sauce. Sprinkle shredded Italian cheeses on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until bubbly.

Serve as a one-dish meal or with garlic bread and salad. Serves 6-8.

*Note: I don’t add salt to my recipes, so you might want to add salt to taste. Also, I use pre-sliced vegetables as a shortcut when possible.

Eggplant Rollatini

1 large eggplant, peeled and cut lengthwise into half-inch slices
2 cups tomato basil sauce
½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
1 tsp. minced garlic
4 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese

In a microwave-safe dish, lay out eggplant. Microwave on high for 6 to 8 minutes until pliable. Transfer to plate and drain liquid from baking dish. Pat eggplant slices dry. In a separate bowl, combine ricotta and Parmesan cheeses, egg, and minced garlic. Mix together.

Starting at the wide end of each eggplant slice, spread a teaspoon or so of the cheese mixture. Roll up each piece and lay seam-side down in greased microwave-safe baking dish. Pour sauce over all. Cover and microwave on high for 15 minutes or until eggplant is tender. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top. Microwave until cheese melts, about 2 more minutes. Optional: sprinkle on oregano or chopped basil leaves before cooking. Serves 4.