We're celebrating Meatless Mondays with balanced, delicious meal plans. We hope you'll join us -- whether you're vegetarian all the time or just here and there.
Today: When you crave belly-warming, feet-on-the-table sort of food during the summer months, do not be ashamed.
It's summer and you're supposed to eat food from the market. You just are. If you don't, it will soon be winter, that season when the farmers are only selling rutabagas and all you wear is head-to-toe fleece.
But, my friend, don't be ashamed to admit that even in this golden age, you still crave belly-warming, feet-on-the-table sort of food. You do not have to forgo local produce to satiate your appetite; walk proudly to your market's cheese stand and buy a block of sharp cheddar. Add it to rice, and bake it into a casserole. You can pay homage to the season by adding plenty of alliums, and by sautéeing a succotash while your casserole bakes. Mother nature will not be offended: Summer wants you to eat this way.
If there are vegans among you, good news: The succotash is dairy-free. Save some of the rice from the casserole, dress it with a creamy, vegan dressing, and add tofu or lentils for protein.
Serves 4, with rice for tomorrow (and the day after, too)
1 cup white rice (or more if you have it)
1 small white onion, diced
1 shallot, minced
2 cups zucchini, quartered and sliced
1 cup fresh, shucked corn kernels
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 to 3 bunches scallions
1 1/2 cups shelled lima beans; frozen lima beans, thawed; or edamame
1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil, divided (or butter, if you prefer)
2 cups grated sharp cheese, like cheddar
We’re assuming you already have butter, eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. If not, make sure to add them to the list.
1. Get the rice cooking, and prepare your vegetables and herbs in the meantime. For the succotash, slice the onion, mince the shallot, quarter and slice the zucchini, shuck the corn, and halve the cherry tomatoes; chop the basil until you have 3 tablespoons, and the chives until you have 2 tablespoons. For the rice, slice the white and light green parts of the scallions into rings, reserving the green parts. Chop the parsley so that you have 1 cup.
2. When the rice is cooked, heat half a stick of butter over medium heat in a wide pan. Add the chopped scallions and cook until they’re golden and just getting crisp. Remove from the heat, let cool slightly, and add the cooked rice. Stir to combine, then add in 2 beaten eggs (or 3 if the eggs are small or you’re using more than 2 cups of rice) and enough milk (1 to 1 1/2 cups) to form a thick batter.
3. Add the cheese and the parsley, plus a handful of the green parts of the scallions, minced. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the mixture into a buttered pie pan. Bake at 350° F for 45 to 60 minutes, until set.
4. Meanwhile, prepare the succotash. If you’re using fresh lima beans, boil them for 2 to 3 minutes; otherwise, heat a tablespoon of coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and the shallot and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook until soft, another 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the lima beans, corn, and tomatoes. Sauté for 5 more minutes, or until the tomatoes have released their juices and all of the vegetables are hot. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Turn off the heat and stir in 1/2 tablespoon of coconut oil, the chopped basil, the chopped chives, and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
Photos by James Ransom and Eric Moran