The other day, a dear friend knocked on our door bearing some beautiful veggies from his garden. He’s an avid gardener and grows pretty much anything you can think of! Lucky for us, he’s extremely generous! My “garden envy” does kick in though every time he sends something over. My “garden” consists of a scattering of pots on the deck. I won’t go into why I don’t have a garden…let’s just say I’m hoping my husband reads this. And hoping he might feel inspired to go do some digging out back. And maybe even put a fence around it. That would be nice. End of story.
I’ve been dreaming of this recipe all summer. Especially with all of the zucchini in season. I hoped it would be as good as I imagined…and it is. The bits of veggies surrounded by cheesy cubes of toasty bread and herbs. How can that be bad? This makes such a great side dish! Add any veggies you may have on hand or whatever is in season. It comes together fairly quickly and pretty easily. You can make this ahead of time too!
So, if you have a garden of your own…sigh…go on and harvest the last bits of the season! You finally have a recipe that will use up all of those veggies!
Savory Vegetable Bread Pudding
1 baguette, day old, cut into 1 – 2 inch cubes
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 onion large dice
2 stalks celery diced
1 red pepper
8 ounces baby bella mushrooms
1 medium zucchini
1 large tomato
2 large cloves garlic, sliced thinly
4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed and stems discarded
3 1/2 cups non fat milk
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups Gruyere cheese, grated
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
In a 12 inch skillet over medium high heat, add 2 T. of the olive oil then the onions, celery, red pepper. Sauté for about two or three minutes then add the mushrooms, eggplant and zucchini. Continue cooking for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomato, garlic and thyme and cook for just another minute. Season with just a pinch of salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside to cool a bit.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Spread the cubes of bread on a large baking sheet. Drizzle 1 T. (or a bit more if needed) of the olive oil over the cubes. Toss to coat. Toast them up a bit in the oven for about 20 minutes, tossing them every so often. When golden, remove from the oven and allow to cool a bit on the sheet.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs then whisk in the milk, salt pepper and nutmeg.
In your largest casserole dish, butter the bottom and sides a bit and spread the cubes of bread throughout. Add the veggie mixture and pour the egg mixture over the top. Now, sprinkle the Gruyere in and give it all a little toss to get the cubes coated and to spread the love.
At this point, you can cover the dish up with wrap and put it in the fridge for later. Just remember to take the casserole out at least 20 minutes before baking.
If you are ready to bake, place the dish in the preheated oven and bake for about 45 minutes.
Remove from the oven, sprinkle on some fresh parsley (and some fresh thyme if you’ve got some left over) and serve!
- This dish would make a great holiday side dish! Consider adding cranberries and nuts or whatever seasonal ingredients you can think of!
- If you don’t care about keeping this vegetarian, this would be delicious with pancetta!