At the peak of their season, eggplants, zucchini and red bell peppers are filling markets right now.

I’m always tempted to buy them all at once, but I want to use them immediately. My answer is to use them in a stir-fry. This is a colorful vegetarian meal.

Artichoke hearts and olive oil bring a taste of the Mediterranean to the summer vegetables. A light tomato sauce finishes the dish to make a perfect topping for angel hair pasta.

For easy stir-frying, place all of the prepared ingredients on a cutting board or plate in order of use. Then, you won’t have to look at the recipe after you start to cook.

Make sure your wok or skillet is very hot before adding the ingredients.

MEDITERRANEAN SUMMER VEGETABLE STIR-FRY

Servings: 2

For the sauce:

1 1/2 cups canned reduced-sodium crushed tomatoes

3 teaspoons minced garlic

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 cup chopped, fresh basil

For the stir-fry:

Olive oil spray

1 1/2 cups sliced onion

1 1/2 cups eggplant cubes with skin (about 1/2 inch)

3/4 cups zucchini cubes (about 1/2 inch)

3/4 cup red bell pepper cubes (about 1/2 inch)

4 canned artichoke hearts, quartered (about 1 1/2 cups)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To finish the dish:

1/4 pound whole-wheat thin spaghetti

3 teaspoons olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Place a large saucepan filled with 3-4 quarts of water on to boil.

Reserve 1 tablespoon basil for garnish. Mix together the crushed tomatoes, garlic, cayenne and 1/4 cup basil. Set aside.

Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat, and spray with olive oil spray. When the wok is hot, add the onion, eggplant and zucchini. Toss 2 minutes. Add the bell pepper and artichoke hearts. Stir-fry 4-5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss, and remove to a bowl. Pour sauce over vegetables.

Add the pasta to the boiling water, and cook 8 minutes or according to package instructions. Drain.

Add olive oil to wok. When wok is smoking, add drained pasta. Toss well for about 2 minutes — the pasta should be crisp. Divide pasta between 2 dinner plates. Spoon vegetables on top. Sprinkle with reserved basil and Parmesan cheese.

Nutrition information per serving: 530 calories (35% from fat); 20.4 g fat (3.1 g saturated, 5.6 g monounsaturated); 9 mg cholesterol; 17.3 g protein; 76.1 g carbohydrates; 15.6 g fiber; 575 mg sodium.

Mediterranean stir-fry a colorful vegetarian meal   | Lifestyle

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