Here’s another parve (meatless, dairy-free) recipe for the Nine Days, which begin tonight. I’m not so crazy about ersatz versions of real foods, but this really works. It is very rich (not my typical light, summer fare), and goes over well with people for whom the concept of parve (or vegan) is an anathema. Of course, bear in mind that the whole idea of the Nine Days isn’t to replace one luxurious item (meat) with another. It’s a time of mourning, reflection and correction. By the way, this is not a low-calorie dish if you’re heavy-handed with the olive oil.
3 lbs. ripe plum tomatoes, pureed in blender or 1 28 oz. can tomato sauce
2 teaspoons each: dried basil, thyme, oregano or 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning (Frontier Salt-free, Organic Italian Seasoning is a good choice)
Salt and black pepper
2-4 finely diced shallots or 4-6 large cloves garlic, minced
*Extra-virgin olive oil, to taste
4 very large zucchini, sliced in 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick slices
2 medium tomatoes (very ripe), sliced thinly
2 cups ground almonds or fine, whole-wheat bread crumbs or combination of the two
Preheat oven to 350°.
Mix tomato sauce with half the spices and salt and pepper to taste. Sauté shallots or garlic in about one teaspoon of olive oil. When translucent but not browned, stir into tomato sauce.
Mix the remaining spices with the almonds or crumbs. Line a medium lasagna pan with parchment paper. Spread about 1 cup of the seasoned tomato sauce onto the bottom of the pan. Lay zucchini down in one neat layer. Top with sliced tomatoes, and 1/2 cup of the seasoned almonds or crumbs and drizzle with olive oil. Spread 1 cup the remaining tomato sauce and top with another layer of zucchini. Spread 1/2 cup of the remaining almonds/crumbs over this layer, the remaining tomato sauce, and then drizzle with olive oil. Top with the remaining almonds/crumbs, and drizzle lightly with olive oil.
Bake covered for one hour or more. Remove cover—zucchini should be very tender and liquid-y. Bake an additional 45 minutes to one hour uncovered, until golden brown. Serves 8-12 as a main dish or up to 16 as a side dish.
* I use about 1 cup total. Although this is quite a lot of oil, and way more than I normally use, I serve small portions of the dish. It is very filling.