Hey guys! Hope the weekend treated you well. I spent a great four days with the boy, and now I’m gearing up for some power packing. I loved your responses to my spinach burgers; they’re well worth making, and I’d love to hear about it if you try them! In the meantime, I’m excited to share my first truly summery recipe of the summer: a summery vegan tomato and zucchini gratin.
This dish is a perfect tribute to summer’s bounty. There are the tomatoes and the zucchini, but there’s also some eggplant in here, as well as plenty of creamy Daiya cheese. Of course, you can use another non-dairy cheese of choice (there are SO many options nowadays!), or you can use cashew cheese instead. It won’t be quite as melty, but it’ll be delicious.
The key to the gratin turning out well is that you salt and pat dry your vegetables before you bake them: they’re all very watery, and it’s important to both season and dry them out with salt before you assemble the gratin, lest it end up a watery mess. Sounds annoying, but it really makes a difference.
The other key is that you pre-cook each ingredient before cooking them together. Again, this is a bit of a pain, but it ensures that the finished gratin isn’t at all mushy or watery. Instead, each ingredient is perfectly seasoned and cooked, and they all come together in the most delicious of ways.
Zucchini and Tomato Gratin
Recipe Type: entree, side dish
Cuisine: vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free
Author: Gena Hamshaw
Serves: 6 servings
2 average sized summer squashes, sliced lengthwise into 1/4 inch thick slices (a mandolin makes this easy)
1 large eggplant, sliced lengthwise into 1/4 inch thin slices
1 cup unsweetened soy or almond milk
1 cup vegan breadcrumbs (gluten free if desired)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 beefsteak tomatoes
1 1/2 cups Daiya cheese (or another melty vegan cheese of choice)
3 cups finely chopped, fresh basil
Salt and Pepper
Sprinkle the eggplant and the tomatoes generously with salt and let them sit in a colander for about 30 minutes.
Set your oven to broil. Place the squash slices onto a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil till they’re nearly crispy, but still a little moist (5-7 minutes). When they’re done, set them aside. Reduce oven heat to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with foil or parchment.
Pat eggplant and tomatoes dry with paper towels, removing all excess moisture. Mix the oregano and the bread crumbs in a wide bowl or on a plate. Dip your eggplant slices in the almond or rice milk, then dredge them in the bread crumbs. Transfer them to one lined baking sheet, then transfer the tomato slices to the other baking sheet.
Place the tomatoes and eggplant in the oven. You’re baking the eggplant slices for 30-35 minutes, or until crispy, flipping them at the 15-minute mark. The tomatoes will probably be soft and browning after 15 or 20 minutes, so be sure to check on them and remove them before the eggplant. When the vegetables are done, reduce oven heat to 350F. Lightly oil a 7 x 11 baking dish.
Mix the Daiya and basil together in a bowl. Layer 3-4 slices of the eggplant into the bottom of your baking dish. Top with about 1/3 of the Daiya mixture. Top this layer with the summer squash, then a layer of tomatoes. Top the tomatoes with another third of the Daiya mixture. Finally, layer 3-4 slices of the eggplant on top, and then cover that layer with the remaining third of Daiya/basil mixture.
Bake the gratin for 15-20 minutes, or until the Daiya is totally melted. The vegetables will be slightly crispy from the baking, the Daiya will be creamy, and your tastebuds will be over the moon!
Leftover gratin will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge, and it should be reheated in the oven before serving.
What a nice way to celebrate early summer. And now that my finals are over, summer really is here—in spite of the slight upheaval that’s ahead of me.
What are you most excited to cook this summer? And what’s the first thing you tend to make when you’re in the mood to go above and beyond the usual?
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I just made this for dinner with a couple of edits. Ah-mazing. 🙂
I’ve really come around to enjoying eggplant – I’ll have to give it a try. Here’s a raw dessert idea to complement your main meal – berry tartlets. Enjoy!
Oh yum – I love this idea. My husband is not a Daiya fan, but I might try this with a cashew cheese between the veggie layers and then top my side with Daiya. Yum.
Just recently learned of your blog and am quite impressed. However I was wondering about your opinion of the whole “nightshade” veggie controversy? Do you think the alkaloid content of vegetables such as eggplant is something to be concerned about?
Would love to know your thoughts on this topic!
that looks amazing but do you think it would be ok without the cheese? does that un-gratin it haha?
It would be great, but do use the basil. Not quite the same, and I might suggest a nut cheese…but it wouldn’t suffer too much!
Wow, the gratin looks wonderful, beautiful pics. Awesome job and thanks for the recipe!
When I feel like something special, I usually go for a monster salad with a complicated dressing or something that requires baking time.
Looks yummy. I’ve never had daiya, or brown rice crumbs, but love that this can be gf and vegan.
I’m so excited to be getting a dehydrator and am most looking forward to using it this summer!
Good luck packing.
Thanks, darlin. It is very vegan and very gluten free!
This looks beautiful! Are all of these veggies in season yet? Whoaaaa! I’m so happy for you that everything is going well, and it’s great that M likes your vegan fare too! I’ll try this when it’s a little bit warmer weather out, but it is quite tempting!
I’ve been looking for a recipe like this, thanks!!
Holy-Mother-of-Yum. Can’t wait to try this! Three cheers for the end to a looong winter and the return of good local produce!!
I’m excited to play with raw foods from my dad’s garden this summer! I’ve wanted to experiment with raw food for awhile and I feel like summer’s the perfect time, because I don’t feel like cooking, I like cold foods in the summer and there’s tons of amazing produce around.
That looks goood! I like introducing my bf to yummy vegan foods since he generally is a fan, but doesn’t know how to put things together in the kitchen, so he sticks with what he knows and what is easily accessible (not always super healthy). My point: I’d love to show him this one 🙂
I sort of random question: where did you get certified for clinical nutrition?
Good luck with your move. I hope it goes as smoothly as a move can!
Very tasty. I know my daughter and I would love this one. Sounds like a good dish to bring to a family gathering. Thanks.
My diet tends to be boring lately, too, but it’s what I like best. Most of it is green.
That looks amazing! Daiya cheese is really growing on me.
I’m not super excited about ‘cooking’ anything this summer, but I am stoked for watermelon season!
Oh Gena, this looks like such a delightful combination of delicious veggies. I recently learned out to properly cook eggplant and can’t get enough. My heart also aches for zucchini season to arrive…
Mmmm. This looks delicious! I love this kind of meal! Warm, crispy, and full of veggies.
Thank you Gena! Now that I work full-time I cherish quick and nutritious meals, but sometimes on the weekend I want something to spend time pottering over in the kitchen. This looks just the ticket, except I’ve yet to find a good vegan cheeze here in Canberra 🙁
I love this! It’s summery and light, but it also reminds me of a casserole – warm and comforting. aka the perfectly balanced meal! yet another wonderful concoction, Gena!
You know who would love this? Me. Maybe I do want you to cook for me…
oh, that recipe looks amazing! i still need to try that kind of Cheeze.
Mmm, I am looking forward to summer fresh eggplant! This looks great. I have a similar foundational diet although I do admittedly include more chocolate. I mean, it’s a superfood, right?
Nothing better than some grilled veggies on the bbq in the summer. Yum, yum. Just got all our patio stuff up and running again.
This looks so amazing. I have almost too much of an obsession with Daiya. I bet a 4 day weekend with the boy was wonderful! No time at all and you’ll be moved down there and get to see him whenever you darn well please! 🙂
Perfect summer dish!
This post makes me so excited for all the fresh produce this summer!
“This means mostly raw food, lots of chia pudding, lots of nutrient dense salads, lots of blended salads, lots of wraps and spreads and sushi rolls and grain bowls. That’s about as complex as it ever gets. “–
Omg that is so me! I just got done pre-drafting a post for tomorrow about eating and being on vacation (b/c I’m in Aruba right now) and am discussing that even though I like to check out local fare, I will not be eating any smoked pork ribs or fried fish. I will save the adventurous-ness for the local desserts 🙂 And that fresh, raw, simply prepared is where it’s at for me.
And I love this gratin recipe! I’d almost call it a veggie lasanga, the way many raw-ish lasagnas are, i.e. no noodles, just veggies and perhaps some vegan cheeze.
Love the post and will be linking you back in the a.m.
so i attempted to make this and for some reason or another it just didn’t work out. the bread crumbs weren’t sticking, the tomatoes were cut to thin, i didn’t have a proper pan I think, to lay all this stuff out, anyhow i decided to throw the daiya on there, let it melt down and all though mushy, it tasted real good. Then i got this idea to throw everything in the cusinart and make a gooey sauce. WOW, this is amazing. I plan on throwing this on some buckwheat or quinoa. really nice flavors going on here. The brown rice bread was a nice treat as well. Thanks again Gena!!
I use the salting technique to make “raw stir fries” (sounds better than “salt wilts”) I salt everything, let it wilt, and then give it a good rinse. A little sesame seed, cashew and ginger and its a delicious meal!
Also, I found out something I couldn’t wait to share! In addition to coconut aminos for a gf/soy free option, there’s both chickpea tamari and azuki tamari from the south river miso company! I haven’t tried them yet but
This looks totally stunning and exactly like something I’d love to eat..soon! Thanks for the recipe.
I can understand what you mean about bending yr eating habits a little bit around a boyfriend. When my bf and I first started going out cooking together was one of our favorite things to do – except his tastes were a little different from mine (more pasta heavy especially) but now that we live together I think we’ve both grown nicely into each other’s food habits. He’ll drink a smoothie in the morning with me now, and I’ll cook up tofu more often for him – while he still has his cereal supplements and sometimes I’ll forgo baking for just a big salad for myself.
I hope you and M work wonders in the kitchen together and I hope, Gena, that you are still able to eat your vibrant, nourishing fresh chia puddings or bowls of raw greens. I love both sides of it for you!
YUM! A perfect vegetable gratin!
your eats when you are busy sound similar to mine 🙂 haha