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Meatless Monday: Zucchini tomato goulash

This hearty goulash creates a lively side dish or vegetarian meal.

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For the record, this isn’t a true goulash. It’s lighter and less saucy than traditional goulash, and it doesn’t contain meat. And as Marion points out, it doesn’t have any paprika.

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Zucchini Tomato Goulash
Serves 4 as a side

1/4 cup olive oil
2 medium zucchini
1 medium yellow summer squash (or more zucchini)
1 medium red onion, quartered and sliced
2 jalapeño peppers, sliced into rings (see Kitchen Notes)
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 medium tomatoes, cut into big chunks (see Kitchen Notes)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, loosely packed
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup ricotta cheese (optional – see Kitchen Notes)

Slice zucchini and yellow squash in half lengthwise, then cut into 1/2-inch-thick half moons. Heat olive oil in a large, lidded nonstick skillet over medium-high flame. Add the zucchini, yellow squash, onion and jalapeño peppers and sauté until just beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent burning.

Add garlic and cook until just fragrant, about 45 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and basil, and cook for 3 minutes. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook for another 4 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper. Spoon ricotta in dollops on the top of the goulash. Cover pan and let rest undisturbed for about 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Kitchen Notes

Adjusting the heat. The jalapeño peppers don’t just add a very modest amount of heat – they add peppery flavor. If you want less heat, remove the seeds and whitish ribs, but still use the peppers. As a heat-free alternative, you can substitute some red or green bell pepper.

The best tomatoes are the ones you have on hand. No question about it, the nice mix of Chef Silva’s heirloom tomatoes added something extra to the goulash we all shared at the farm. You can mix cherry tomatoes and other varieties in this dish (you want about 1-1/2 to 2 cups of chopped tomatoes total). But whatever tomatoes you have available will work well. And include the seeds and whatever juices – the goulash can use the liquid.

Cheese? No Cheese? The ricotta cheese adds a nice, creamy finish to the dish. But if you want to lighten it up, you can leave the cheese out and still have plenty of flavor.

To see photos of Terry's trip to Los Cabos, click here.

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