Eating vegetarian can be a good idea a few days a week because the meal can be loaded with good-for-you foods, while containing a few ingredients that say “comfort food” like cheese or dairy of some sort. Vegetarian skillet meals excite me because after being baked in the oven, the top always get super crunchy, while the ingredients beneath stay warm and cheesy. A simple combination of tomatoes, summer squash (yes summer), cheddar cheese and rice turns this skillet into one fabulous dinner.
The entire skillet is started on the stove so the vegetables begin to sweat, and the rice gets a mild suntan. The other ingredients are layered on top and stirring swiftly together, and baked in the oven until perfectly cooked, and an outrageous crust forms on top. Another sprinkling of cheese and herbs and you’re all set to eat.
I think it’s a meal in itself, but a grilled or broiled piece of fish on the side makes this dish pretty tasty too. I served it straight from the skillet because family-style meals are so much fun, just be careful not to touch the handle when it’s hot out of the oven, like I did.
1 tablespoon butter
1 small white onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 medium summer squash or zucchini, sliced into small pieces
1 cup white rice, any variety
1 small tomato, diced
1 cup half & half
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 cup soft herbs – parsley, cilantro, basil
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a oven-proof skillet over medium heat, add butter and onion. Sauté for 2 minutes, add garlic, stir.
- Add squash and stir. Cook for 3 minutes, add rice and stir. Cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally.
- Add tomatoes, half & half, 1 cup cheddar cheese, and 2/3 cup warm water, stir to combine.
- Place in oven to bake for 35-40 minutes, or until top gets golden brown. Remove and top with remaining cheese and fresh herbs, if desired. Enjoy!