Let’s talk about picky eaters; and just to be clear, adults picky eaters not preschoolers.
It’s a fact that everyone prefers some foods over others; but some adults take this tendency to an extreme. Or better yet, some adults act as if they’re still toddlers; eating only foods such as plain pasta, pizza, French fries, burgers, grilled chicken, sweets etc. No veggies, no fruits, nothing that is not familiar or that has a strong taste.
I know quite a few people belonging to this not so rare specie. The, “I’m past 30 but I still don’t eat veggies, fruits or anything that I haven’t tried before!”
One in particular pops into my mind: my cousin Stephen. You see, this guy - who just turned 30 - still eats very few veggies and almost no fruit, at all (I once offered him a strawberry and he gave me the most repulsed face ever!)
With such a narrow dietary spectrum, he drives his poor girlfriend Elena nuts.
She likes to eat healthy food, but with a guy like that around her, she has to work extra hard to do it.
Picture this, every night she has to cook two meals: One for her (with veggies) and one for him (without veggies). I know, nightmare on Elm Street.
So, when the other day she sent me the recipe for a vegetables casserole packed with broccoli and zucchini, claiming that “...even Stephen ate it and he actually loved it!” I was all over it.
If the King of picky eaters, digged this casserole, then it must be winner.
Turns out, it REALLY IS!
I like to call this dish casserole, but you might as well label it as a crustless tart or quiche (as Elena does). You can eat it with your hands, it holds together pretty well.
It all starts with broccoli and zucchini, sauteed and properly seasoned. The filling is beaten eggs, a splash of milk and some basil. Super simple.
It may look like I used a ton of cheese. I really didn’t. It’s merely 3 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. No biggies.
Needless to say it, I truly love this casserole. It’s that good.
Trust me, even the most picky eater will fall in love with it. And before you’ll know it, you’ll have a veggie eater in your family. Just like Stephen now claims to be...
¾ lb / 12 oz / 350 gr broccoli florets (about 4 cups)
2 medium zucchini, sliced into ¼-inch thick rounds
½ medium onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
¾ teaspoon fine grain sea salt, divided
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
A pinch of red pepper flakes
3 free-range organic eggs
½ cup / 115 ml milk (any choice of milk)
A handful of fresh basil, chopped
A pinch ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C), place a rack in the middle. Line a 8x8-inch baking dish with parchment paper and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and a pinch of salt and saute for about 2 to 3 minutes until translucent. Add broccoli florets, zucchini rounds, black pepper, ½ teaspoon of salt, red pepper flakes and about ¼ cup of water.
Cover with a lid and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes stirring every so often. The vegetables should brown a bit and must be thoroughly cooked, but still retain some of their crunchiness. If needed add more water, a couple of tablespoons at a time. Turn off the heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
In the meantime, in a large bowl whisk eggs, milk, ¼ teaspoon of salt and nutmeg for a couple of minutes until fluffy. Finally add chopped basil and stir to combine.
Add the vegetables to baking dish and spread them on an even layer. With the back of a spoon press them down gently.
Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
One serving yields 140 calories, 5.75 grams of fat, 14 grams of carbs and 12 grams of protein.