This technique for cooking vegetables will entice even the most veggie-hating people in your group to try them.
Greeks know how to cook vegetables – we’ve been cooking from our home gardens for thousands of years. This technique works especially well for the Spring and early Summer veggies like green beans, zucchini, cauliflower, and summer squashes.
You can cook them in the oven or on the stove – or even on that burner on the side of your barbecue grill. You can serve them hot or room temperature, and they only get better when they sit for a while. They turn out sweet and delicious with very little attention from the cook, and make a standout addition to any potluck. You will be very popular, and no one has to know how easy they are.
Basically, you cook the vegetables with tomatoes and onion, parsley and oregano, until they are tender and perfect. There is some debate on chopped tomato vs tomato sauce – use whatever you have around or whatever you like best. I like chopped tomato but my Aunt Freda likes tomato sauce – in the end they are all delicious but it gives us something to talk about. ‘Cause you know Greek women are often at a loss for words.
Here’s how to do it:
These amounts serve about six people as a side, adjust as you need to and you don’t have to be too fussy with the exact amounts, it all comes out fine in the end.
- Saute one large or two small onions in at least 2 Tbs of olive oil, until soft.
- Add either one 15oz can diced tomatoes or tomato sauce, or some chopped fresh tomatoes, whatever you have.
- Add your vegetables, I usually use about a pound of green beans, tipped and tailed; or summer squash, cut into bite size pieces.
- Add about 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano, salt and pepper – go easy on the salt, you can always add more later.
- Add enough water so tomato mixture almost covers the veggies, about ½ cup.
- Simmer, covered, either on the stove or in a 325 oven for about 20 minutes.
- Uncover and if its too soupy let some of the liquid cook off.
- Add fresh chopped parsley and salt and pepper to taste. The juice of half a lemon is a good addition too – it really brightens the flavors, although it isn’t traditional.
You can use frozen green beans or cauliflower here, but I wouldn’t use canned.
That’s it – so easy, and you will be amazed how good it is. These veggies make leftover roast chicken a whole new meal.
If you wanted something more substantial, you can add some small potatoes too, just add more tomatoes and a little more water and cook for an extra 10 minutes or so.
This can even be a stew, if you brown your meat, take it out of the pan, and then follow the technique above. Add the browned meat in with the green beans and other veggies and simmer until the meat is cooked through.
I hope you enjoy this as much as my family does!