What I'm about to say is going to sound a little odd, especially since part of my job is writing recipes, buuuut......I almost never follow a recipe (don't worry, I do test all the recipes that make it onto this blog). I have a folder full of recipes that rarely get touched, magazines that only get browsed through, and cookbooks that are used for decorative purposes. About 95% of what I cook, I just wing. I throw in a little of this, a little of that, and a pinch of this (I rarely measure things either) and it just works. This is how I've cooked most of my life as has my Mom. I do get inspiration from magazines and cookbooks, but the recipes that inspire me are ones that I usually follow more as guidelines than as an actual recipe. Obviously, then, for me to say I found a recipe that I like and follow almost to a 'T' is a big deal. Such is the case with this zucchini casserole recipe. My Mom found this recipe a while back and started making it all the time. When I moved out, it was one of the recipes I made sure to take with me. Mr. RC and I now have it on a pretty regular basis. It's healthy and light enough for summer but comforting enough for cold winter days. And in case you're worried about satisfying the carnivores in your life, you'll be happy to know Mr. RC loves his meat but is constantly requesting this dish. Whether you follow recipes or you don't, this is one I highly suggest you add to your arsenal.
- 3/4 cup bulgur (I've also use quinoa and brown rice)
- 3/4 cup boiling water
- 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups sliced onions (about 1 1/2-2 medium-sized onions)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
- 6 cups thinly sliced zucchini or summer squash (about 3 small or 2 medium/large zucchini)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- A dash of black pepper
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup feta cheese crumbles (5 ounces)
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- 1/4-3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (depending on tastes preferences)
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese (3 ounces)
- 2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced (or a handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of sesame seeds (optional)
In a small bowl place the bulgur and the boiling water. Stir and set aside until the water has been absorbed.
In a medium-sized skillet, sauté the onions and garlic in the oil until the onions are just translucent. Add the zucchini, dried herbs, and black pepper and continue to sauté on medium to low heat until the zucchini is tender. I sometimes cover the pan with a lead to help the veggies cooke faster.
In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs, then mix in the cottage cheese and feta cheese.
To the bulgur, add the tomato paste, soy sauce and parsley and stir until combined.
To assemble the casserole, grease a 9x9" pan. Then layer the bulgur mixture on the bottom, the sautéed vegetables in the middle, and finish with the feta mixture. Top with the cheddar and the tomatoes.
Cover with foil then bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. I usually take the foil off after about 30 minutes so that the top gets crustier.
Remove from the oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes for easier serving. Store leftovers tightly covered in the fridge for up to 5 days.
This pairs nicely with a tossed salad, some crusty bread and a nice glass of red wine.
To bake this in a 9x13" pan, I only double the bulgur mixture.