You can make a garden fresh vegetable side dish to die for in just 10 minutes. It all comes together in just one pot, and it’s a great way to use up some of that excess zucchini that’s coming out of your garden at this time of year!
My sister taught me how to make this dish years ago. I’ve been making it every summer, all summer long, ever since. I never get tired of it!
I’ve taught so many women to make this dish. Each one of them loved it. And you will too.
It pairs extraordinarily well with just about anything. And because it takes just a few minutes to cook up on the stove, it’s a great way to keep the kitchen nice and cool on a hot summer evening.
If you grill up a little chicken, steak, or pork on the bbq grill outside, and serve it with this dish on the side, you’ve got a really great meal. It’s simple, easy, and so quick to get on the table.
Ingredients For This Dish
The two main ingredients used for this dish are garden fresh zucchini and tomatoes.
Other than that, all you’ll need is a little olive oil, a bit of salt, some pressed garlic, a good amount of dried basil, and a light topping of mozzarella cheese.
It’s really a pretty basic dish. When I have fresh basil from the garden I use that instead of dried. But today, I’m intentionally using dried basil because I recognize that not everyone has fresh garden basil at their fingertips.
However, if you do have it available to you, use it. And be sure to use plenty of it.
Substitute Other Garden Fresh Vegetables For The Zucchini In This Dish
Over the years I’ve substituted several different vegetables for the zucchini in this dish. Yellow summer squash is the most obvious choice as a zucchini replacement. But there are definitely other good choices to be made.
I’ve successfully used chunked eggplant in the past. This is especially delicous when you’re serving this dish as a side for your favorite pasta. I’m particularly fond of serving it this way with fettuchini alfredo. There seems to be a special connection between the flavors of this light summery vegetable dish and the deep, decadent, richness of cheesy alfredo sauce.
It’s also very easy to substitute your favorite peppers for the zucchini in this dish. Bell peppers are the obvious way to go. But if you have another favorite mild pepper, that you grow in your garden, it will work just fine.
Peppers obviously don’t cut into chunks, so when I use them in this dish I cut them into strips. And then, in the interest of creating a dish that has similarly shaped/sized vegetables (a general cooking principle), I also cut the tomatoes in strips, think thin wedges.
It is probably best to keep the tomatoes as a main ingredient in this dish. I’ve never tried to substitute them for any other vegetable. They are definitely a key component of the overall flavor profile.
Can I Substitute A Different Cheese In This Dish?
When it comes to cheese in this dish, the sky’s the limit!
The recipe calls for mozzarella cheese, and it is beyond the shadow of a doubt my favorite cheese to use in this dish. BUT, I’ve substituted plenty of others when I’ve found myself with all of the other ingredients on hand and no mozzarella in the fridge.
Here’s just a few that have worked well for me in the past …
- Blue Cheese
- Monterey Jack
How To Make This Garden Fresh Vegetable Side Dish
Once you have the vegetables cut up for this dish, whipping it together takes just minutes. So, the first thing you’ll do is chop up the veggies and gather the other ingredients. It goes quickly from there so it’s best to have them ready to go.
- Chop 2 medium garden fresh zucchini and 3 medium garden fresh tomatoes into chunks.
- Sautee the zucchini in olive oil with salt, pressed garlic, and plenty of dried basil, until it is cooked to your personal desired consistency.
- Remove the pan from the heat and quickly toss in the tomato chunks. Do not cook them.
- Top with a light portion of mozzarella cheese and cover the pan.
- Allow to sit for 5 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy.
It’s that simple! It’s hard to believe that something so simple can taste as good as this dish does. But it does. It’s really a fantastic dish!
Does This Dish Store Well In The Refrigerator?
This dish stores well in the refrigerator, in the respect that it doesn’t spoil quickly. However, one of it’s main ingredients is tomatoes and tomatoes do not store well in the refrigerator.
I usually make a portion just large enough for dinner on the evening I’m serving it. And when there are leftovers, I leave them sit on the stove until someone polishes them off. It’s very rare that they sit there more than a few hours. And almost guaranteed that they will be gone before the evening is over.
Please note: According to food safety standards leaving the dish to sit on the stove for long periods of time is not a safe practice. It is up to you to make your own call on whether or not you decide to follow this practice.
If you prefer to ‘play it safe’ and put your garden fresh vegetable side dish in the refrigerator it will change the texture of the tomatoes upon reheating it. BUT, that isn’t necessarily bad. Just different.
If you decide to try this dish out I’d love to hear how it goes. So let’s meet in the comments and chat all about it!
Did you use zucchini? Or some other substitute? What kind of cheese did you use? Do you have any tips for me that you discovered while making this dish?
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