Cornbread Casserole with Stewed Tomatoes

Though it sounds complex, this recipe takes about 15 minutes of prep work, then bakes for about an hour, leaving plenty of time to step away and (hopefully) relax before dinner’s on the table.

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Cornbread Casserole with Stewed Tomatoes

For the cornbread casserole:
3 3/4 cups (900mL) fresh corn kernels
2 1/4 cups (520mL) vegan “buttermilk” (see Note)
1/4 cup (60mL) nondairy buttery spread, melted
2 tablespoons (30mL) coconut oil, melted
1 tablespoon (15mL) agave nectar
1 cup (240mL) stone-ground cornmeal (I use Bob’s Red Mill, which is made in their GF facility)
3 tablespoons (45mL) arrowroot flour
1 tablespoon (15mL) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon (2mL) fine sea or Himalayan salt

Stewed Tomatoes
3 pounds (3161g) roma tomatoes, peeled (optional), and chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
Handful fresh basil
Sea or Himalayan salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste

If desired, peel the tomatoes before using. To do this, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Insert the tomatoes and boil for 2 minutes. Put a colander in the sink and pour the tomatoes into the colander to drain. Rinse briefly with cold water. The skins will slip right off.

Put the chopped tomatoes, green pepper, onion, and basil in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium-low heat and simmer until vegetables are cooked through and the mixture has slightly thickened, about 30 minutes. If preparing with the casserole, I just simmer the mixture until the casserole is finished.

Note: To make the vegan buttermilk, put 2 tablespoons (30mL) cider vinegar in a measuring up. Add nondairy milk to total 2 1/4 cups (520mL). Let stand 3 minutes, until curdled.

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Roasted Pumpkin and Tomato Soup

When tomatoes are edging out of season and pumpkins are making their way in, take advantage of the crossover while you can. Roasting the ingredients before putting it in the pot brings out the most flavor, with a caramelized undertone of the sweet vegetables. It also can be made in advance—and tastes better as the flavors meld—making it an easy dish to add to the dinner table.

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Roasted Pumpkin and Tomato Soup

1 medium sugar/pie pumpkin (about 3 pounds)
Olive oil
1 tablespoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Sea or Himalayan salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 pound/454 grams tomatoes, quartered
2 small yellow onions, peeled and quartered
1 red pepper, preferably poblano, seeded and quartered
4 to 5 cups (960mL to 1.2L) water or low-sodium vegetable broth

Preheat the oven to 425F.

Cut the pumpkin in half, then half again, to create four wedges. Scrape out the seeds. Put the wedges on a lined baking sheet and brush with olive oil, then sprinkle with some of the thyme, rosemary, oregano, salt, and pepper. Bake for 25 minutes.

Put the tomatoes, onion, and pepper in a small baking dish. Toss with olive oil, the remaining herbs, and salt and pepper. (If you have too many herbs, just save them to add to the soup). Roast for another 15 to 20 minutes, until all the vegetables are releasing juices, browned on the edges, and very fragrant. Remove from the oven.

Scrape the vegetables and herbs into a large pot, making sure you get all the juices. Add the water or broth, along with any herbs that didn’t make it on the vegetables. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer, cover, and let cook about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool approximately 10 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth or let cool to room temperature and blend it in batches in a food processor or blender, adding water or broth if needed. Reheat before serving, seasoning with additional herbs, salt, and pepper to taste.

Tip: For a creamier version, add a few heaping tablespoons of cashew butter in the mix before blending. I like using roasted cashew butter to add to the underlying smokiness of the roasted vegetables in the soup.

Late Summer Oven Ratatouille

Though the actual assemblage of this dish is more akin to a tian, it delivers a pretty presentation and tastes great, too. Like most amazing things, it is excellent the next day, too. I’ve included photographs inside the recipe for putting it together. If this makes it difficult to print, let me know, and I’ll adjust it.

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Late Summer Oven Ratatouille

For the sauce:
2 cloves garlic
7 Roma tomatoes, seeds removed
1/2 cup loosely packed basil leaves
1/4 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper (or to taste)
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

For the rest:
1 medium eggplant, sliced 1/16 to 1/8-inch thick (try to find one with a smaller diameter)
1 yellow zucchini/summer squash, sliced 1/16 to 1/8-inch thick
1 green zucchini, sliced 1/16 to 1/8-inch thick
1 red onion, sliced 1/16 to 1/8-inch thick
1 to 2 red peppers, cored and sliced in rings 1/16 to 1/8-inch thick
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Additional sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil an 9-inch square baking dish.

Put the garlic in the food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Add the Roma tomatoes, basil, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Pulse until combined and almost pureed. Pour the mixture into a fine mesh sieve and drain the excess water.

Pour the tomato mixture in the bottom of the dish. Line the eggplant, yellow and green, zucchini, onion, and red pepper upright in a pattern, starting around the perimeter of the dish and working your way to the centre.

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Brush with remaining olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

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Cover the vegetables, loosely tucking into the inside of the dish with foil or parchment paper. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until vegetables are softened but not mushy. Uncover and let cool at least 30 minutes before serving.

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