Mushroom and Zucchini Mozzarella Bake: A Perfect Vegetarian Summer Dinner / by Kelsey Vlamis

mozzarella bake, vegetarian dinner, summer dinner, heirloom tomatoes

For those of us that are passionate about food, one of summer's greatest joys is all the fresh produce. But that doesn't mean we're all trying to eat raw salads everyday, nor does cooking your farmer's market finds waste their freshness. Fresh, in-season produce has a superior taste to it's out-of-season versions, both when enjoyed fresh and when cooked.

And so, this dish is really the perfect celebration of that superior taste, relying mostly on summer squash and heirloom tomatoes -- both of which are literally bursting with flavor this time of year. It's also crazy simple and totally healthy (I suggest making it on a Sunday and eating the leftovers during the week!). I served it over quinoa and lentils, because I liked the textural and nutritional differences each provided, but feel free to use one or the other, or something entirely different. I think the heartiness and chewiness of farro would go amazingly with this. And you certainly wouldn't go wrong pairing it with some crusty sourdough bread, a great option for a casual, backyard dinner shared with friends.

This recipe was adapted from Half Baked Harvest's Tomato and Zucchini Halloumi Bake. I altered it by making it vegetarian, and subbing mozarella for halloumi, because $$. Enjoy!

mozzarella bake, vegetarian dinner, summer dinner, heirloom tomatoes
mozzarella bake, vegetarian dinner, summer dinner, heirloom tomatoes

Mushroom and Zucchini Mozzarella Bake

serves: 4-6
active time: 20 minutes
cook time: 10 minute simmer, 15 minute bake
total time: 45 minutes

ingredients
1 yellow onion, diced
8 oz mushrooms, chopped (I used baby bellas)
2 small zucchinis, thinly sliced into rounds
4 tomatoes, roughly chopped
salt + pepper
1 tbsp cumin
1.5 tbsp paprika
1/2 c red wine
1/4 c fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 c basil, chopped
8 oz mozzarella, sliced into rounds
handful heirloom cherry tomatoes (optional)

suggestions

Cook quinoa and lentils (or grain/legume of choice). Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Heat olive oil over medium heat in oven-safe skillet. Add onions and sauté until soft, about 4 min. Add mushrooms and sauté until soft and beginning to brown, about 6 min. Add zucchini and sauté until soft, about 4 min. Add chopped tomatoes, cumin, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste. Add wine and parsley. Cover and simmer until tomatoes are soft and have released their juices, ~10-15 minutes, removing lid halfway to let mixture reduce.

Add basil and mix well. Cover with even layer of mozzarella slices. Sprinkle with cherry tomatoes if desired. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until mixture has thickened somewhat and mozzarella has browned, about 15-20 min.

Let cool slightly before serving. Garnish with more fresh parsley and basil, and fresh cracked pepper. Plate quinoa and lentils, and top with the mozzarella bake.


mozzarella bake, vegetarian dinner, summer dinner, heirloom tomatoes