July 17th, 2011

Gluten-Free Summer Cookin’


How’s your summer going?

Some writing projects, a bit of catering, and teaching teen cooking camp this month have kept my days very full; and like those lumbering yellow squash in the picture below, summer is fast getting away from me. I’ve been remiss at blogging.

But, I’m going to make it up to you today with not one, but two recipes: one is wonderfully healthful, the other a bit guilt-laden; both are gluten-free vegetarian dishes that revel in the glory of summer.


We’ll start with healthy: these herbed quinoa stuffed tomatoes are downright delicious. A variation on the Provencal style baked tomato that is topped with herbs, cheese, and breadcrumbs, I created these to suit a friend who needed a gluten-free menu for her guests.


You’ll want to select ripe juicy tomatoes for stuffing. These are Cherokee Purples–one of my favorites. But other heirlooms would be just as terrific: Bradleys, Brandywines, Mortgage Lifters…

Part of the heirloom is diced and cooked into the quinoa, further flavored with bits of onion and sweet basil.


Ah, the wonders of quinoa. Unusual in the plant kingdom, it possesses a balanced set of amino acids, making it a complete protein. ( A marvelous source, too, for iron, magnesium, phosphorous, and dietary fiber.)

Once stuffed, this versatile seed/grain takes on the sweetness and juices of our beloved tomatoes, and bakes up toasty and nutlike under a shower of parmesan cheese.


And now, for the guilt-laden…


I have a couple of urban gardens that I’m tending. One is tee-niny: my front yard patch of herbs, swiss chard, and tomatoes. The other, larger garden is located in the backyard of my brother’s office, where we are growing haricots verts, yellow wax beans, a variety of heirloom tomatoes, peppers, along with prodigious squashes: zucchini, butternut, and yellow crookneck. (I’ll post some pics soon.)

This is the time of year when people complain about zucchini overrun. In our garden, it’s been yellow squash.

This recipe is the right one for using some of those colossal squashes that somehow escaped your notice and went from barely emerging on the vine to baseball bats. Well, not quite that big, but you know how it goes.

An old school recipe, it’s one that I came across in 1984 when I was working for a large catering firm. It had been supplied by a client, and boasted a fancy-pants name: “Posh Squash Casserole.” Ingredients include eggs, parmesan cheese, and (shudder) Hellman’s mayo; I confess that I was leery of the recipe.

But, of all the squash casserole recipes I have ever made, this one is, without question, the best.


It’s great for cooking up a squash bounty. You can feed a crowd with thick bubbly casseroles, or “posh it up” with petite souffle scallops or ramekins. The recipe multiplies easily without compromising the outcome. We would extend the recipe to make it for parties over 200!

Throughout the years, it’s remained tried and true. Rich for sure. Despite that, it has a lightness, a compelling souffle-like quality.

Even people who claim to hate squash and casseroles love this one. And love it in all its forms.

From time to time, for variety’s sake, I’ve tweaked the recipe by using both yellow and zucchini squashes, or roasting the squashes and onions, or adding other veggies, like sweet red bell pepper, even steamed broccoli.


It’s okay to indulge in a little guilt, especially when it’s balanced by a lot of health. Here are some of summer’s best. Enjoy ’em soon, before they get away from you.



4 medium sized ripe Heirloom Tomatoes (cherokee purple)
1 small Onion, diced
6-8 Sungold Cherry Tomatoes, quartered (optional)
2 T. Olive Oil
Black Pepper
1/2 cup Quinoa
3 T. fresh Basil, chiffonade
1/4 c. grated Parmesan Cheese

Core tomatoes with a wide slice around the top, and deep enough to remove some of the inside. Dice the meaty tomato flesh from the coring, and place into a bowl with quartered sungold tomatoes.

In a medium saucepan, warm olive oil. Saute onion until translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in quinoa and let it get gently toasted in the saute–about 2 minutes or so. Stir in diced tomatoes and juices and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup water. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, until quinoa is tender, fluffy, but nutlike. Stir in basil chiffonade afterwards.

Rub casserole or oval ceramic dish with olive oil. Stuff cored tomatoes with quinoa mixture. Dust heavily with grated parmesan and bake for 25 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven.

Serves 4



2 lbs. Summer Squash, sliced into medium sized pieces
1 Onion, diced
2 Eggs
1 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 cup Hellman’s Mayo
1/2 t. Sea Salt
1/4 t. ground Black Pepper
1/4 t. granulated Garlic
1/4 t. Paprika

Boil squash until tender. Drain and cool. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, mayo, parmesan, and seasonings. Fold in diced onion, then fold in cooled squash.

Place mixture into individual ramekins, or a casserole dish. Bake in 350 degree for 20 minutes (if in ramekins) to 30 minutes (if in casserole dish) until puffed and golden.

Serves 4.


Posted in Casseroles, Gluten Free, Recipes, Rice/Other Grains/Legumes, Vegetables, Vegetarian Dishes

33 Responses to “Gluten-Free Summer Cookin’”
  1. Teresa/foodonfifth.com Says:

    Posh Squash is beautiful and as I have been going gluten-less for awhile this is right up my alley. Like your new “bite” pics as well. The squash and tomatoes are now abundant so these two recipes are a must. Thanks for these two goodies.

  2. Kitchen Belleicious Says:

    Love Love this meal. The squash is just screaming out my name! it is so southern and so delicious and I love how you put them in their own individual pans. genius and so chic. The stuffed tomatoes look divine- simply scrumptious!

  3. Epicurea Says:

    you already had me with those stuffed tomatoes but the gratin looks out of this world! and a quick question – how do you prevent the tomato fillings from being too liquid/ watery with all that water and tomato juice? have a great day!

  4. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Hi! The quinoa continues to absorb the liquid as it cooks, and it wasn’t at all watery. But, there was some “tomato water” left in the casserole pan, after I lifted the stuffed tomatoes out. (it tasted really good, too!)

  5. Candy Cossuth Says:

    Help Please. What is CHIFFONADE after basil mean? New one for me.

  6. goodfoodmatters Says:

    I apologize, Candy. Chiffonade is a culinary term for the very thin, almost shred-like cuts. it is from the French, and means something like “little rags”
    You take the basil leaves, stack them one on top of the other, and roll them up tightly, into a cigar shape. Then you thinly slice through the layers, which gives you lots of fine shreds of basil. In this method, you can prep a good amount of herbs in a shortened time, with nice results.

  7. Faith Says:

    Both recipes look really delicious, Nancy! I’d love to try the squash recipe, but probably with zucchini since that’s what I’m inundated with.

  8. Fluffy Says:

    Great Gluten-Free Ideas!

  9. heather Says:

    Yep, Parmesan cheese makes everything taste good! I’m always on the outlook for new Quinoa and lentil recipes. Thanks Nancy.

  10. Nicole Says:

    These both look delicious! I’ve never really loved summer squash but I’m sure that with eggs and parmesan it would be rich and delicious. Would there be an acceptable substitute for the mayonnaise? Maybe sour cream?

  11. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Hi Nichole–while I haven’t tried this, I imagine that a non-fat yogurt or sour cream would work instead of mayo.

  12. Laural @ Being Healthier Says:

    i’m in love with these recipes! okay- I’m just going to predict that I’m in love with your blog too!! Those tomatoes look incredible as does the casserole – can’t wait to catch myself up on other posts!

  13. Angie@Angiesrecipes Says:

    I like both of them, the baked tomatoes look particularly delicious.

  14. Three-Cookies Says:

    All your recipes are really fresh and wholesome, I love it. Thats the kind of food I love to eat to balance the sweets that I sometimes have in excess:)

  15. Anna Johnston Says:

    Hot dang these look AMAZING. Can’t wait to try em. Healthy and hearty, actually the perfect dish for our cold wintery days. :)))

  16. Linda Says:

    Yumm… two great recipes! Love the quinoa in the tomatoes! Perfect for all the ripe summer tomatoes coming out and sounds like they would be a great leftover for lunch the next day. And that squash dish..oh my, I can just imagine that to be amazing! Love the tried and true recipes, sometimes a bit of richness is good!

  17. Juliana Says:

    Nancy, I love both recipes, and will definitely give them a try. How fun teaching teens cooking lessons…must be very rewarding.
    Hope you are having a fantastic week :-)

  18. Denise | Chez Danisse Says:

    Without a doubt, I know I’d love those stuffed tomatoes, and your posh squash casseroles browned up so beautifully. I just might have to make them side-by-side as you have. The timing is right.

  19. Barbara Says:

    Two super dishes, Nancy. I don’t cook a lot with quinoa but have made several salads. I’m looking forward to trying something hot like the stuffed tomatoes.

    I remember well having zucchini galore when I had my garden in Michigan. You get really creative with such a surplus! Love what you’ve put together for your yellow squash..I don’t call that particularly unhealthy, either. It’s a veggie, after all! :)

  20. Tracy Says:

    I can only say Mmmm and rub my tummy.

  21. Katie@Cozydelicious Says:

    My mom always makes a squash casserole so similar to this one. I love it! So creamy and yummy – a summer hit! And those tomatoes look fantastic. My garden hasn’t quite started to produce in excess yet, but I’m just waiting for the overrun of green beans and squash that is about to happen!

  22. kankana Says:

    Lets just say .. I am enjoying summer while it’s here :)I just finished too many squash on a soup yesterday.. should have saved some for this casserole which is looking so delicious.

  23. Joyti Says:

    Both of those gluten-free treats sound delicious. I really can’t wait until my favorite farm produces its Early Girls, then I’ll have to try your stuffed tomatoes.

  24. Anna and Liz Recipes Says:

    What a great meal! Love this and especially the stuffed tomatoes. Thanks !!

  25. Anna and Liz Recipes Says:

    What a great meal! and especially the stuffed tomatoes with the quinoa ..Fantastic Thanks !!

  26. velva Says:

    Both these dishes look delightful. Thanks for sharing them with us.


  27. Stephen Says:

    I am new to your site but found it through the Foodessa Fairy. The first post I saw was gluten-free. Many of my family members cannot eat glutens so I am always on the lookout for good recipes. This summer medley looks great. I will have to have you to my blog tracker to stay up with your new recipes.

  28. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Thanks for visiting, Stephen. If you peruse some of the my vegetarian, vegan, and the few meat listings in my recipe index, I think that you’ll find more.
    Seems like a good idea for me to create a new recipe category for gluten free. It has become so important in peoples’ diets today.

  29. Barefeet In The Kitchen Says:

    Oh my goodness, those tomatoes look amazing! I am always looking for more quinoa recipes. Thanks for the ideas.

  30. Maggie Says:

    Hi Nancy! I can attest to your squash casserole being amazing! So, I’ve got lots of squash now and am wondering if the casserole would freeze well??

  31. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Hey Mag–Sadly, this casserole does not freeze well—I have tried. It breaks down in the thawing/reheat. :(

  32. Maggie Says:

    Nancy, that’s good to know – you would hate to ruin this fabulous dish!

  33. Meredith Says:

    Thank you for this recipe! I enjoyed meeting you last night and sampling your delicious squash.

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