This recipe is so basic, yet so delicious. Perfect to make ahead, leave in the fridge and reheat for lunches, dinners and even snacks. Plus, who doesn’t love parmigiana? This recipe was birthed out of the plethora of vegetables that come every year from my dad’s garden. This isn’t just any garden. It is mammoth and includes 100+ different varieties of tomatoes, squash, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, cucumbers, beans and more! Every year, my father works very hard to plant and care for his garden that provides fresh and organic vegetables for my whole family throughout the summer. It’s a labor of love, to say the least.
A few years back, my dad made his usual delivery of peppers, yellow squash, zucchini, tomatoes and eggplant. I was busy with work and the veggies began to ripen and soften. Fearing they would end up in the trash, I thought about grilling them all up to have in the fridge as a side dish for dinners during the week. As I fired up the grill, I thought about making all these veggies plus some mushrooms and fresh spinach I had in the fridge into a casserole. Thus, vegetable parmigiana was born.
I love this because it really works with any vegetables that you have in your fridge. It also provides a way to actually use the veggies that might go bad. The key to this recipe is slicing up the veggies thinly and uniformly so that you are able to layer them in a casserole dish and so that they cook at the same rate. For this recipe, I used the first batch of yellow squash from Dad’s garden, red onion, organic yellow bell peppers, and fresh basil from my herb box. I also used shredded mozzarella and Rao’s Tomato Basil Sauce. I typically make my own marinara, but I was short on time. Also, Rao’s sauce is on the expensive side, but a really delicious high quality marinara that I keep on hand in a pinch. This recipe is also fabulous with portobello mushrooms (really any mushrooms) spinach, and eggplant. Switch up the combinations based on what you have and what you like to find the perfect blend for you!
- 3 yellow squash (remove seeds and slice thinly)
- 2 yellow bell peppers (seeded and sliced in thick strips)
- 1 small red onion ( sliced in rings)
- Fresh Basil Leaves (julienned)
- 1 jar Rao’s Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce (or any good quality jarred or homemade sauce)
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella
- Pecorino Romano
- Olive oil
- Salt & Pepper
- Start by cleaning and chopping all the veggies to their desired sizes and thickness. Tip – I remove all the seeds from the squash and peppers for easier digestion.
- Place your veggies on a baking sheet and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
- Preheat your grill or grill plan so that its nice and hot. Begin grilling your veggies and make sure to get those beautiful grill marks!
- Once all of your veggies are grilled you can begin the assembly of the dish.
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
- Coat the bottom of a large casserole dish with tomato sauce.
- Begin by layering the heartier vegetables on the bottom (squash, mushrooms, eggplant). Cover this layer with tomato sauce, mozzarella and a few sprinkles of pecorino.
- The next layer should contain your peppers and onions. If you are using fresh spinach, add it here. Cover this layer with tomato sauce, mozzarella, pecorino and basil.
- Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the top is golden and bubbling.
- If you do not want to eat this immediately, it is even better the next day! Cover with foil and reheat in the oven or cut individual slices and heat in the microwave. Mangia 🙂