Cracked Wheat and Vegetable Casserole

By Margi Lenga Kahn

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp. coarse kosher salt 
  • 1 cup cracked wheat
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 large red pepper, stem removed, seeded, and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 3 medium zucchini, ends discarded and remaining zucchini sliced into ½-inch rounds
  • ½ tsp. dried oregano, or 1 tsp. minced fresh
  • ¾ tsp. dried basil, or 1½ tsp. minced fresh
  • ⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper, or more to taste
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup (5 ounces) feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup small curd cottage cheese
  • ½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce

Topping

  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs

Rinse cracked wheat in a fine mesh sieve until water runs clear. 

Bring 2 cups water and salt to a boil. Add the cracked wheat, cover, reduce heat, and simmer until the wheat is tender and the water is absorbed, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.

While wheat cooks, heat oil in a large skillet. Add onions, garlic, and red pepper and sauté for 5-7 minutes, or until onions are translucent. Add zucchini, herbs, and spices and continue to sauté until zucchini becomes just tender (not mushy), 8-10 minutes. Set aside.

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Combine eggs, feta cheese, and cottage cheese in a medium bowl. Stir in parsley, tomato paste, and soy sauce. Set aside.

 

To assemble and bake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or oil a 9×9 casserole dish. Evenly spread the cooked cracked wheat along the bottom of the dish. Layer all of the zucchini mixture on top, followed by all of the feta/cottage cheese mixture. Sprinkle the top with cheddar cheese and evenly arrange the tomato slices on top. 

Melt butter in a small skillet and add the breadcrumbs. Toss together until crumbs are moistened. Sprinkle crumbs on top of casserole. Cover dish with aluminum foil and set in oven. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes to crisp. 

Makes 4-6 main course servings.