I think most people make casseroles in the winter, but my season for casseroles begins in the summer. The reason? In the summer, my fridge is completely full of farm-fresh vegetables and making a casserole is the easiest way to empty the fridge to make room for my next farmers’ market trip.
You might ask, Who wants to turn on the oven in the summer? My secrets: I use my toaster oven, and I precook the sturdier veggies (steam, blanch, or microwave) so that baking time is shorter.
Here is my easy process for using the summer bounty:
- Chop the vegetables you’ve chosen so they are all about the same size. Include some that give off liquid during cooking (tomato, mushrooms, greens, zucchini or other summer squash) or add a little liquid (water, wine, vinegar, soy milk, etc.) right before baking.
- Add savory ingredients, such as herbs, spices, leftovers, pesto, hummus, salsa, beans, nuts, seeds, cheeses, soy products, and so on.
- Oil a casserole dish, pour ingredients into the dish, and cover.
- Bake at 375° until soft and bubbling, up to 1 hour. Uncover and bake 10–15 minutes to toast the top.
A few recent summer casseroles:
- Spinach, fresh tomato, cooked rice, leftover grilled vegetables, fresh basil, scallions, jalapeño, goat cheese, pesto on top
- Shredded potato, shredded zucchini, broccoli, chard, chickpeas, sunflower seeds, spring onion, salsa
- Romano beans, corn, mushrooms, cauliflower, fresh tomato, pumpkin seeds, olives, herbes de Provence, pesto mashed potatoes on top
I’d love to hear what casseroles you dream up.