You guys, say hello to my new favorite quick and easy summertime, healthy-ish, cozy-ish dinner – the summer tomato and zucchini halloumi bake.
You know, you’d think that just one of these Mondays I’d give you guys a salad recipe, huh?
Ahh yeah, right. I guess that’s just not how I roll these days. No, apparently I am more into the cheesy stuff. But it’s totally cool, because we also have veggies in this dish, in the form of summer tomatoes, zucchini, and fresh spinach…you see, veggies! Aka, healthy food, aka Monday food. <–logical thinker over here…wink, wink.
Speaking of which, happy Monday!! And I say that in my most cheerful of voices. I am feeling much more positive today than I have been. My goal for the week is to stay focused on doing what I love (aka working, working, working, but again I love it and I am so grateful I get to do what I do everyday). I also want to spend a few minutes each day doing something non work related and totally letting my brain think only about things that are good in the world. BIG goals, but I’m going to try. So I’m starting things off with positive vibes for you all today. Fingers crossed that you can feel it through the computer screen!
In other news, we got twelve new chickens and a new little rooster over the weekend. They are about four months old and the sweetest little chickens. But um? They need to learn to go bed when it gets dark or that fox is going to get them. NOPE, not happening on my watch. I spent my Saturday night chasing around thirteen chickens and carefully placing them in their new, very safe, hen-house. Seriously, it was not fun, but I mean, gotta keep my egg layers safe!
OKok, let’s chat Monday food, which for me means this fun summertime bake.
Here’s the deal, I really don’t have the right words to describe just how good this recipe is because none of my usual words seem good enough at the moment. This is one of those dishes that is truly just melt in your mouth good. It feels slightly indulgent, but yet light and summery at the same time. It’s saucy with just a little bit of heat. The heat is balanced with a touch of sweetness from all those tomatoes and then the dish is finished off with a subtle salty flavor from the halloumi cheese.
Trust me when I say…it. is. so. good!
The recipe starts off with some spicy sausage. I used a lamb sausage from Whole Foods, but if you can’t find any lamb sausage, go for a spicy Italian pork sausage. Next comes all the tomatoes. Oh my excitement for tomatoes right now is pretty much through the roof.
My favorite heirloom tomatoes and heirloom cherry tomatoes have finally arrived back at my local farm stand and I am basically just jumping outta my skin with happiness. So many recipes to make, not enough days in the week.
Anyway, once the sausage is browned, the tomatoes get thrown in too, along with some spices, red wine (cause it’s Monday, duh) and spinach. Simmer it all for a few minutes until the tomatoes released their juices, then add some basil and layer on that salty halloumi cheese and a handful (or so) of cherry tomatoes. Bake for another few minutes, top with tons of fresh basil, and DIG IN. No utensils needed, just a side of toasted bread.
Veggie Option Alert: If you want to keep this vegetarian, I recommend adding one pound of mushrooms (or really any other veggie you love) in with the onions. Adding extra veggies will take place of the meat and bulk up the sauce for you. You could also add lentils for an extra protein boost!
Trust me when I say to you…this is what you need for dinner…tonight.
Summer Tomato and Zucchini Halloumi Bake
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound ground spicy sausage (lamb or pork is best)
- 1 small sweet onion, diced
- 2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced into rounds
- 4-5 medium heirloom tomatoes or regular, roughly chopped
- 2 teaspooons paprika
- kosher salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1-2 large handfuls fresh baby spinach
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
- 1 block halloumi cheese, sliced
- 1 cup heirloom or regular cherry tomatoes
- toasted ciabatta bread, for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Heat a large, oven safe skillet over medium high heat. Add the sausage and onion and cook until the sausage is browned all over, about 8 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook 2-3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and any juices left on the cutting board. Add the paprika and season generously with salt and pepper. Stir in the wine. Add the spinach, cover and simmer 5-10 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft and have released their juices. Stir in the basil.
3. Arrange the halloumi in an even layer over the sauce. Sprinkle the cherry tomatoes over top and transfer to the oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is golden and the sauce has thickened slightly. Serve warm topped with fresh basil and toast for dipping. Enjoy!
With toast and wine, Happiest Monday!