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Vegetarian Comfort food

  • Yield: 6 servings


  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped Tasso or spiced ham
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 cup chopped bell peppers
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 1/2 pound)
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 1/2 pound)
  • 1 medium yellow squash, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 1/2 pound)
  • 3 cups chopped, peeled, and seeded fresh tomatoes, or 3 cups chopped canned tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme


  • Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the tasso and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add the onions, bell peppers, celery, salt, cayenne, and black pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes, or until the vegetables are slightly wilted. Add the eggplant and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until slightly tender. Add the zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, garlic, basil, and thyme. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the mixture is a little soupy. The vegetables should have a little crunch to them.   Serve warm or it can be cooked a day ahead. It gains in flavor when reheated.