Artichoke hearts and olive oil bring a taste of the Mediterranean to eggplants, zucchini and red bell peppers. (Linda Gassenheimer)

Artichoke hearts and olive oil bring a taste of the Mediterranean to eggplants, zucchini and red bell peppers. (Linda Gassenheimer)

Mediterranean summer stir-fry a colorful vegetarian meal

Markets are filled with eggplants, zucchini and red bell peppers because they’re at the peak of their season.

By Linda Gassenheimer / Tribune News Service

Summer vegetables are at the peak of their season and markets are filled with eggplants, zucchini and red bell peppers. I’m always tempted to buy them all at once, but I want to use them immediately. My answer is to use them in a stir-fry. This is a colorful vegetarian meal.

Artichoke hearts and olive oil bring a taste of the Mediterranean to the summer vegetables. A light tomato sauce finishes the dish to make a perfect topping for angel hair pasta.

Helpful hints:

■ For easy stir-frying, place all of the prepared ingredients on a cutting board or plate in order of use. Then, you won’t have to look at the recipe after you start to cook.

■ Make sure your wok or skillet is very hot before adding the ingredients.

Countdown:

■ Place water for pasta on to boil.

■ Prepare vegetables and stir-fry.

■ Cook pasta and serve.

Shopping list:

To buy: 1 small bunch fresh basil, 1 medium eggplant, 1 small zucchini, 1 small red bell pepper, 1 jar canned artichoke hearts, 1 package whole wheat thin spaghetti, 1 can reduced-sodium crushed tomatoes, 1 bottle minced garlic, 1 bottle cayenne pepper, 1 small piece Parmesan cheese, 1 can olive oil spray.

Staples: olive oil, onion, salt and black peppercorns.

Mediterranean summer vegetable stir-fry

For the sauce:

1½ cups canned reduced-sodium crushed tomatoes

3 teaspoons minced garlic

⅛ teaspoon cayenne

½ cup chopped, fresh basil

For the stir-fry:

Olive oil spray

1½ cups sliced onion

1½ cups eggplant cubes with skin, (about ½ inch)

¾ cups zucchini cubes, (about ½ inch)

¾ cup red bell pepper cubes, (about ½ inch)

4 canned artichoke hearts, quartered (about 1½ cups)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To finish the dish:

¼ pound whole wheat thin spaghetti

3 teaspoons olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Place a large saucepan filled with 3 to 4 quarts of water on to boil.

Reserve 1 tablespoon basil for garnish. Mix together crushed tomatoes, garlic, cayenne and ¼ cup basil. Set aside.

Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat and spray with olive oil spray. When wok is hot, add onion, eggplant and zucchini. Toss 2 minutes. Add bell pepper and artichoke hearts. Stir-fry 4 to 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss and remove to a bowl. Pour sauce over vegetables.

Add pasta to boiling water and cook 8 minutes or according to package instructions. Drain.

Add olive oil to wok. When wok is smoking, add drained pasta. Toss well for about 2 minutes — the pasta should be crisp. Divide pasta between two dinner plates. Spoon vegetables on top. Sprinkle with reserved basil and Parmesan cheese.

Makes 2 servings. Nutrition per serving: 530 calories (35% from fat), 20.4 grams fat (3.1 grams saturated, 5.6 grams monounsaturated), 9 milligrams cholesterol, 17.3 grams protein, 76.1 grams carbohydrates, 15.6 grams fiber, 575 milligrams sodium.

Linda Gassenheimer is the author of over 30 cookbooks, including her newest, “The 12-Week Diabetes Cookbook.” Listen to Linda on www.wdna.org and all major podcast sites. Email her at linda@dinnerinminutes.com.

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