I heard this argument on the news the other day about whether the summer season kicks off with Memorial Day weekend or the calendar, which would put it starting “officially” later this week.
I don’t know if I really care about being Camp Memorial Day or Camp Calendar. All I know is that it’s spicy-hot around here, and I’m living for watermelon and craving summer vegetables. That tells me it’s summertime.
In just a few short weeks, gardens across the nation are going to be overloaded with summer squash and zucchini. And there’s only so much zucchini bread and a certain–ahem–very especially healthy cake (there is zucchini in it, you know) a person can eat. I love zucchini this way best these days–roasted until tender and beautiful with other like-minded vegetables, and pulled together with a little fresh basil.
As most of my recipes are these days, this is more a method than an actual recipe. I love the vegetable combination–squash, zucchini, onion, bell pepper, mushrooms–but you can change this up any way you like. You could add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or a drizzle of balsamic vinegar to pair with the basil, or you could swap out the basil for some fresh dill (lovely) or rosemary (divine). And–lucky you–if cheese is in your life, some good-quality Parmesan would be amazing.
These can go alongside just about anything–eggs, potatoes, fish, chicken, sausages, steak, etc. As for the leftovers, I’ve been eating them for breakfast paired with a simple scrambled egg and a bit of green chile sauce. For lunch or dinner options, you could mix them into a frittata or quiche, or toss the leftover veggies with some pasta. Whatever you decide to do with them, you’ll want to make friends with this method fast. Zucchini is coming.
One quick tip: do try to cut the vegetables roughly the same size. They’ll roast more evenly this way.
2 zucchini squash, cubed
2 summer squash, cubed
2 red bell pepper, large dice (sized to match the squash)
1 small red onion, large dice (sized to match the squash)
8–12 oz button or baby bella mushrooms, halved or quartered (if large)
salt and pepper, to taste
3–4 Tbsp fresh basil or cilantro minced
Place all vegetables in a large bowl. Toss with a drizzle of olive oil (you just need enough for everything to barely shine). Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and toss again.
Pour vegetables out onto 1-2 baking sheets. Use 2 baking sheets if your pan is quite crowded; you don’t want the vegetables to steam.
Roast at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or until tender and liquid is evaporated from baking sheet. Toss warm veggies with basil and add any additional salt and pepper necessary.
Variations: 1. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or a drizzle of balsamic vinegar to pair with the basil 2. Substitute fresh dill or a bit of fresh rosemary (use less) for the basil 3. If not dairy free, add a little fresh Parmesan on top after roasting