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Summer Ratatouille

Summer Ratatouille // Karista's Kitchen


I posted this decadent Summer Ratatouille photo on my Instagram page last week. I also thought I had posted the recipe here.

Maybe I had thought about posting it but I never followed through. I usually have excellent follow through but this delicious recipe definitely slipped through the cracks. I can only blame my busy schedule and although I have the best of intentions, sometimes I miss a few things. My apologies if you searched for this recipe and couldn’t find it!

This photo got a lot of love on my Instagram page and for good reason. It’s a beautiful dish, easy to prepare and completely delicious. I made this Summer Ratatouille at least 20 times last summer.

Because I was late getting my seeds started last summer, I went to my local farm and found loads of beautiful new starts. I wanted to plant a lot of cucumbers so I could use them in salads, do a bit of canning and then make some pickles. So I purchased 6 cucumber plants and 1 zucchini plant. That should be enough. Because zucchini plants can quadruple in size and produce a mountain of zucchini, I only bought one plant. Or so I thought.

Zucchini starts look almost identical to cucumber starts. Apparently, someone also thought the same and put all the zucchini starts with the cucumbers. I ended up with 5 zucchini and 2 cucumber starts. So by the end of summer I had way more zucchini than I could use and started giving them out to the neighbors and friends, freezing zucchini noodles and shredded zucchini, I canned a few and the rest went into various zucchini recipes like this Summer Ratatouille.

I certainly didn’t mind making this ratatouille. It’s truly one of my favorite ways to enjoy summer squash, zucchini, tomatoes and eggplant. The combination of flavors combined with aromatics and fresh herbs makes this dish light and lush all at the same time. 

It makes a lovely presentation and pairs beautifully with grilled meats, fish and poultry or doubles as a delicious vegetarian entrée. I could eat this alone with a glass of white wine and be completely happy. 🙂

Cheers to a delicious summer!

Loads of Love,


Summer Ratatouille

Serving Size: 6-8

Summer Ratatouille

This lovely vegetable dish is beautifully flavored with herbs and aromatics and looks impressive when placed on the dining table.


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 ½ cups tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 zucchini, sliced thin, but not paper thin
  • 1 yellow squash, sliced thin
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 Japanese eggplant, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan
  • ½ cup crème fraiche for garnish
  • 9 or 10 - inch baking dish, either round, oval, square or rectangular


  • Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
  • In a skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the onion and sauté until soft and wilted. Then add the garlic and sauté for one minute longer. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the tomato sauce, wine, chives, parsley and smoked paprika.
  • Pour the tomato mixture into the bottom of the baking dish. Beginning at one side of the baking dish, alternate slices of zucchini, yellow squash, roma tomato and eggplant until the baking dish is filled. I usually get about 3-4 rows of vegetables in my baking dish.
  • Drizzle the vegetables with the 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and then the grated parmesan.
  • Cover loosely with foil and place the baking dish in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes and then remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes. If you’d like the top a little toasted, I let the ratatouille sit under the broiler for a few minutes before I take it out of the oven.
  • Remove the baking dish from the oven and let it cool for about 5-10 minutes. Serve warm with dollops of crème fraiche and extra grated parmesan.
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    Jammy Roasted Tomatoes

    Jammy Roasted Tomatoes on an egg and biscuit // Karista's Kitchen

    These days, my kitchen counter looks more like a market produce bin.  Which is why I’ve got these lush jammy roasted tomatoes incorporated into almost every meal this season.  I honestly thought I was a bit modest in planning my summer garden this year – it appears I may have over estimated yet again.

    I’m sure my exuberance was due to the long winter and my yearning for fresh tomatoes and zucchini.  I certainly got my wish.

    Every morning Tank and I walk out to the garden boxes and pick produce, pull weeds, water the plants and then stand around and lovingly admire all the work. I never fail to walk back into the house with a smile on my face and usually a small cherry tomato in Tank’s mouth.

    Tank the Terrier and the tomato bowl // Karista's Kitchen

    This summer, I’ve prepared every fresh tomato recipe my family likes to eat as well as every zucchini and poblano recipe I can think of making.  One of my favorite ways to use the fresh zucchini and tomatoes is to small dice the zucchini and combine them with diced tomatoes, summer corn, torn basil and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  This is one of my family’s favorite summer salads… it’s a bit like this salad, only with the addition of diced zucchini.

    These jammy roasted tomatoes are my attempt to do something different with all the summer tomatoes other than make a salad, sandwiches or tomato pie.  I adore the sweetness of roasted tomatoes and I love to toss them into pastas, wilted greens, smear onto sandwiches or breakfast biscuits.  I like to add them to summer soups and stews, homemade pizza and of course spread them over goat cheese crostini.  I’ve canned these jammy roasted tomatoes but I also like to freeze small packages for use this winter in my sauces and stews.

    Jammy Roasted Tomatoes // Karista's Kitchen

    I also adore these jammy roasted tomatoes dolloped into the center of cheesy polenta or served as a sort of sauce for grilled or pan seared fish, chicken or pork.  They’re so good,  sometimes I snag a spoonful out of the jar for a snack.

    Besides thinking of new ways to prepare my plethora of produce, I’ve been busy working on a fun project that I know you’re going to love!  A View to Delicious is the autumn food issue that is written by me and published by VRAI Magazine.  It’ll include new seasonal recipes, stories and photos of the Pacific Northwest, reader questions, cooking tips and techniques and more.  I’ve put my heart into this issue and I hope you’ll read it and love it as much as I do.  It’ll launch September 26th! So stay tuned.

    In between work and gardening, family vacation and getting my sassy gal ready for college, I also took a little time to visit the parents. My youngest gal and I went to the local farmers market with pop, had a lovely crepe prepared by Chef Tarek for breakfast and shopped for the weekly produce under the warm summer sun.

    Chef Tarek making crepes at the Temecula farmers market // Karista's Kitchen

    It was a quick visit but it was fun for the grandparents to visit with their granddaughter and see her witty but somewhat eccentric style.  Yep, as you can see, this one always thought she was a mermaid.  While touring an art museum she found a mermaid chair and claimed it as her throne.

    Amelia and her Mermaid Chair // Karista's Kitchen
    Today I’m back in the office (kitchen) working on new, exciting and of course, delicious, recipes for the fall and winter seasons.  The kiddos are back to school and soon the weather will carry a chill in the air and it’ll be time to put a simmering pot of soup on the stove again.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!


    Jammy Roasted Tomatoes

    Jammy Roasted Tomatoes


    • About 5-6 cups coarsely chopped tomatoes, drained as much as possible (enough to spread in a single layer on a lined baking sheet)
    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
    • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil


  • Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
  • Line a baking sheet with foil and then toss the chopped tomatoes with the brown sugar, garlic, salt, pepper, Italian herbs and olive oil.
  • Spread them in a single layer on the lined baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove them from the oven and let them cool before using, canning or freezing.
  • Notes

    I make two or three batches of these jammy roasted tomatoes. One batch stays in the fridge, one goes in the freezer and the other one is used for dinner. Delicious!

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    Summer Zucchini Cakes with Cilantro Lime Crema

    Summer Zucchini Cakes with Cilantro Lime Crema // karista's kitchen

    It’s zucchini week in my kitchen.  This delectable Summer Zucchini Cake recipe is just one of many zucchini recipes I’ve been preparing lately.

    You could say I’m extremely well stocked with zucchini this summer.  I have to admit, it wasn’t my intention to plant four zucchini plants.  My plan was to plant two zucchini this summer.  Because you know how zucchini plants grow in the warm weather and last year they took over my garden.

    So this year I decided to plant two zucchini and four cucumber plants – because I wanted to put up pickles this summer.

    Instead, I unknowingly purchased four zucchini and two cucumber plants.  Obviously my pickling plans are on hold. 🙁

    When zucchini and cucumber plants are starts, they look similar.  At least they look similar to me.  I’m also guessing one of the high school garden area workers at my local garden store thought the same and mis-labeled the zucchini as cucumber.

    Summer Zucchini Cakes with Cilantro Lime Crema // Karista's Kitchen

    I suppose I could say “lucky you!” because I’ve got a few more zucchini recipes to post before the summer is over.  Despite my little rant, I do adore zucchini.  It’s my go to veggie in the summer because it pairs deliciously with just about anything.  It’s also fabulous diced raw and tossed into a summer corn and tomato salad with a balsamic vinaigrette.  It’s delicious in stir fry’s and just simply roasted, which is what I do with it most the time.

    These summer zucchini cakes are simple to make and can be served as a starter, snack or even light entrée.  Enjoy!

    Summer Zucchini Cakes

    8-10 large cakes 10-15 small cakes

    Summer Zucchini Cakes


    • 3 cups shredded zucchini, squeezed
    • 1/2 cup almond flour (or sub with bread crumbs)
    • 1/2 cup or handful of sliced green onion
    • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    • 1 cup pepper jack cheese
    • 1 egg, lightly whisked
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    • Ghee or oil for pan frying
    • 1 cup sour cream
    • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
    • Juice of one lime
    • Splash of Sriracha or hot sauce
    • 1 tablespoon honey


  • In a medium bowl mix together the sour cream, cilantro, lime juice, hot sauce and honey until thoroughly combined. Hold in the fridge.
  • In a large bowl mix together the grated zucchini, almond flour, green onions, Dijon mustard, pepper jack cheese and egg. Just before making the cakes, stir in the salt and pepper.
  • Heat over medium heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a heavy bottom skillet. Once the oil is hot and almost smoking, for tablespoon sized zucchini balls and then drop onto the skillet pressing the top to make a little cake. You can also use muffin scoops to portion out the zucchini cake mix.
  • Brown the cake on both sides about 3-5 minutes each side depending on the thickness. Transfer the cakes to a paper towel lined plate or baking sheet. Sprinkle with just a bit more salt or parmesan cheese.
  • Garnish with additional green onion and serve warm with the Cilantro Lime Crema
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    Holly Bower’s Zucchini Bread

    Holly Bower's Zucchini Bread // Karista's Kitchen

    Anyone else have exploding zucchini plants?  I’ve made at least half a dozen loaves of my favorite zucchini bread over the past month and this particular batch may not be the last.  This is because I purchased what I thought were cucumber starters and later found out I’d planted zucchini.  :/

    Not that I don’t like zucchini, I adore zucchini!  I sauté it with garlic and shallots, I roast it with parmesan and olive oil, I stuff it with sausage and then slather it with homemade tomato sauce, I make zucchini cakes, zucchini fritters, ratatouille, grill it, dice it fresh and then toss it into an Italian chopped salad and obviously, I make zucchini bread.  The only thing I haven’t done is make zucchini noodles – which is on the list for the next batch of zucchini.

    But I’d really had my heart set on those cucumbers. I was going to make pickles all summer long!

    Now, I realized my mistake just as the starters began to grow because zucchini grows up and cucumbers grow out.  I feel like a failed farm girl wannabe.  Hence the wannabe part.

    So now I have all this zucchini that I’ve been passing out to neighbors, along with zucchini bread, making an assortment of recipes with my abundance of zucchini and including it in every meal.  I’m not kidding.  If I tell my family the side dish is zucchini one more evening, I may have a revolt on my hands.

    The upside to all this zucchini are the array of delicious recipes to be prepared.  I adore them all but one of my favorites is this lovely zucchini bread recipe.

    When we lived in Washington state we visited the San Juan Islands often.  Ranger Craig is a private pilot and he’d fly us over to the islands for the day or a long weekend.  Our girls grew up exploring the islands every other weekend during the summers and I absolutely cherish those sweet memories.  One summer we rented a home on Lopez Island and biked, hiked, explored, ate loads of yummy food and visited the local bakery, Holly B’s.  I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that this bakery visit was the highlight of the day.  Holly B’s bakery is well known around the islands and for good reason.  Her baked goods, pastries, sandwiches and soups are some of the most delicious in the area.   Everything is prepared with fresh, seasonal ingredients and as Holly says “with lots of butter and a warm heart”.  This is why her cookbook is called “With Love & Butter“.

    I’ve dogeared almost every page and there are stains, butter and batter splotches all over the book.  Well used and loved.  Holly B’s zucchini bread recipe is simple to make, fresh tasting with just a touch of clove and cinnamon and moist and lush and everything a perfect zucchini bread should be.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love (and Happy Baking!)



    Holly Bower’s Zucchini Bread

    1 medium loaf

    Holly Bower’s Zucchini Bread


    • 2 eggs
    • 1/2 cup mild tasting oil
    • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1 1/3 cups coarsely grated unpeeled, firm zucchini, packed
    • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
    • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
    • 2/3 cup walnut halves (optional)


  • Pre-heat the oven to 350F with the rack in the middle position.
  • This bread is very tender and baking parchment really helps keep the loaf together during removal from the pan. So, butter the loaf pan well, then line with 2 strips of baking parchment as follows: Fit one strip lengthwise covering the bottom and ends of the pan, and the second crosswise on top of the first to cover the bottom and sides. Don't worry about small spaces of pan showing through. Now butter the paper.
  • Mix together the eggs,oil brown sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl. Fold in the grated zucchini. In a separate bowl, mix together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, spices and walnuts if using. Stir thoroughly into the wet ingredients, making sure no flour lumps remain. The batter will be quite thin, so lumps can be a problem.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake another 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool in the pan 30 minutes, then turn out, remove the papers and set on a rack. Cool completely before slicing.
  • Notes

    Use a 4x8 inch loaf pan I've doubled this recipe for two loaves and it turns out great. I have also subbed the flour with Jovial Gluten Free pastry flour and it was delicious. Just keep the bake time to about 45 minutes versus 60 minutes.

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