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Delicious Recipes That Make Vegetables the Main Dish

My husband and I recently came home from a week of traveling. I enjoy boarding an airplane for destinations far and wide, and switching up my routine every now and then. In this case, my trip also included several lunches and dinners in restaurants, grabbing meals on the road and eating to-go sandwiches at 10 p.m. on the way back home. It was nice to take a break from cooking, but I found myself craving greens and fresh food by the end of the trip. Don’t get me wrong — I chose to eat the burger and pasta and creamy soups, eschewing the salad portion of the menus completely. But now that vacation is over, I want my veggies.

Perhaps you’re like me, and you struggle to make vegetable recipes the centerpiece of your meal. Vegetables are meant to be side dishes to meats and starches, right? However, it’s totally possible to put the focus on vegetables — whether you try to make vegetarian meals often or if you’re looking to freshen up your diet a bit. If you’ve already made eggplant Parmesan and feel clueless, here are a few to try.

1. Summer-Vegetable Casserole

Tomatoes and zucchini baked with cheese

Tomatoes and zucchini baked with cheese Squash bake | iStock.com/nixki

This baked dish from Food & Wine relies on summer produce like zucchini, plum tomatoes, and bell peppers for roasting, but potatoes serve as a base to make this a satisfying meal. Fresh Parmesan, dried herbs, garlic, and onion add the perfect seasonings to this relatively simple recipe. All you need to do is chop some vegetables, and layer them in a pan.

Ingredients:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • ½ pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced ¼ inch thick
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • ½ pound plum tomatoes, sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 2 small zucchini (½ pound), sliced on the diagonal ¼ inch thick
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

DirectionsPreheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat a 9-inch baking dish with olive oil. Spread the potatoes in the dish in an even layer; drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. In a bowl, combine the bell pepper, onion, garlic and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Arrange two-thirds of the bell pepper mixture over the potatoes and drizzle with oil. Top with the tomatoes and the zucchini; drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover with the remaining bell pepper mixture and sprinkle with the cheese.

Cover the casserole with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees. Uncover the casserole and bake for about 20 minutes longer, until the vegetables are tender and glazed on top. Let stand for 10 minutes. Serve warm.

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