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This article is republished with permission from our friends at Mercola.com.

Casseroles are so convenient and one of the best slow-cooked meals. They’re simply delicious, and if there are any leftovers, you can store them in the refrigerator and just reheat them later.

If you’re tired of eating the usual casseroles, you should try this vegetable casserole recipe. Pine nuts, zucchini, eggplant, and tomatoes make the perfect ingredients for this meatless casserole:

Did You Know?
  • Pine nuts, zucchini, eggplant, and tomatoes make the perfect ingredients for this vegetable casserole

  • Tomatoes contain zeaxanthin, a phytonutrient that protects the eye and helps prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD)

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  • Zucchini is a great source of B-complex vitamins such as folate, B6, B1, B2, B3, and choline, which help maintain normal blood sugar regulation

Ingredients

  • 1 eggplant, sliced into chunks

  • 2 pounds zucchini, sliced into chunks*

  • 1 red pepper, sliced into strips

  • 2 medium onions, sliced

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  • 4 medium tomatoes, diced*

  • 1 cup coconut oil

  • 2 garlic cloves

  • ½ cup pesto sauce

Pesto

  • 2 cups fresh basil or spinach

  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced

  • 2/3 cup olive oil

  • ¼ cup pine nuts

Directions

  1. Blend all the pesto sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor.

  2. Heat coconut oil in a medium saucepan. Add eggplant, zucchini, red pepper, and onions. Sauté over medium heat in small batches, so there is enough coconut oil remaining for all the vegetables.

  3. Heat the oven to 350°Fahrenheit. Place the sautéed vegetables in a baking dish, leaving the oil used for the vegetables in the saucepan.

  4. Add the tomatoes to the oil in the saucepan, press the garlic cloves into the pan, and add salt and pepper to taste.

  5. Pour tomato mixture and pesto over the vegetables. Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or longer for a more crispy texture.

(From Healthy Recipes for Your Nutritional Type)

 *Editor’s note from Family Life Goals: Instead of slicing the zucchini into small chunks and dicing the tomato, you can slice them into thin circles. In addition, if you want to add even more flavor and texture to your casserole, layer some dairy-free cheese on top.

Pesto Baked Tomato-Vegetable Casserole Cooking Tips

To have one of the best slow-cooked meals, make sure you place your casserole in the middle of the oven to ensure that it bakes evenly.1 To achieve a crispy texture, do not cover while baking.

This healthy and delicious casserole tastes even better when made with basil pesto sauce. If you have basil in your garden, you can easily make fresh pesto sauce. You can make fresh pesto sauce in large batches and then freeze it to extend its shelf life. Frozen pesto sauce can be used for up to three months.2

Eggplants provide the meaty texture for this meatless casserole. It is important to pick firm and glossy eggplants with bright green stems. When you push the flesh with your thumb, it should bounce back. If it doesn’t, it’s a clear sign that it may be overripe. Store your eggplants in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator to keep them fresh longer.

For zucchinis, I recommend keeping their skin intact when cooking as it contains most of their antioxidants and fiber.

Look for fresh tomatoes that are bright red and do not have any cracks, wrinkles, bruises, or soft spots.3 It is also better if you avoid using metal pans and storage containers to prevent dangerous aluminum being absorbed by the tomatoes and your body.

Why Is Pesto Baked Tomato-Vegetable Casserole Good for You?

This vegetable casserole is a perfect addition to your wholesome diet as it contains the following healthy ingredients:

Zucchini

Zucchini is often classified as a vegetable even though it is actually a fruit. It is low in calories, but is abundant in fiber. It helps slow down aging and prevents disease through the help of its many flavonoid antioxidants such as zeaxanthin, carotenes, and lutein.

Zucchini is a great source of B-complex vitamins such as folate, B6, B1, B2, B3, and choline, which help maintain blood sugar regulation. It also offers minerals such as iron, manganese, and phosphorus.

Eggplant

Eggplant may be one of the most underrated vegetables in the US, as the average American only consumes less than one pound of it per year, but it is actually beneficial to include in your diet. Eggplant is rich in various vitamins and minerals such as fiber, folate, potassium, manganese, copper, thiamin, niacin, and vitamins C, K, and B6.

It also contains nasunin, an anthocyanin phytonutrient that fights free radicals and prevents brain damage by protecting the lipids (fats) in your brain. Nasunin provides iron-chelating mechanism, which is beneficial if you are suffering from iron overload.

Tomato

Tomatoes are known to be beneficial for your health as they contain vitamin E, thiamin, niacin, folate, magnesium, vitamin B6, phosphorus, and copper. They are also an abundant source of manganese and vitamins A, C, and K.

Take note that canned tomatoes can be a health hazard. Many cans linings are contaminated with bisphenol A (BPA), which can transfer to the tomatoes (or any food). BPA negatively affects the brain, behavior, and prostate glands in infants, children, and even in fetuses.

Tomatoes contain zeaxanthin, a phytonutrient that protects the eye and helps prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Tomatoes also provide the antioxidant lycopene that protects the skin from ultraviolet damage. Lycopene also helps lessen oxidative stress and lower the risk of osteoporosis.

Pine Nuts

Pine nuts are rich in monounsaturated fat, protein, iron, and magnesium. They also provide vitamins E and K as well as manganese, which are efficient in maintaining a healthy heart. Another component of pine nuts is pinolenic acid, which supports healthy cholesterol levels.

Pine nuts have a wide range of antioxidants that help combat free radicals and protect your cells from reactive oxygen species (ROS). Pine nuts are also rich in lutein that reduces your risk of AMD (just like tomatoes) and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

If this vegetable casserole isn’t one of the best slow-cooked meals you’ve ever had, we don’t know what is. Enjoy!

 

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Joseph Mercola
Health Expert
I am an osteopathic physician who believes that proper nutrition, not medicine, is the key to good health. I seek to treat the whole person, not just the symptoms. I offer you practical health solutions without the hype. Founded Mercola.com in 1997 which is now the most visited natural health site on the web with 1.5 million subscribers. My site is grounded on providing the latest health information and providing practical health solutions. The strategies I present in my newest book, “Fat for Fuel,” are just too valuable for your well-being. That’s why you should not pass up this chance to ensure your copy! Order here .