Solar Black-Eyed Pea Salad

cats and Sun Oven

As the weather heats up cold salads made with solar cooked ingredients will keep your kitchen cool and your belly full.

Refreshing Black-eyed Pea Salad


3 cups previously solar cooked black-eyed peas

2 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper to taste


In a medium non-non metallic bowl, toss together the black-eyed peas, tomatoes, bell peppers, onion, and parsley. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar and oil; season with salt and pepper. Pour the vinegar mixture over the black-eyed peas. Toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours.

Makes 8 servings.

Sun Baked Scalloped Potatoes

Two Baking Pans

This recipe makes use of celery leaves, another part of a vegetable that often gets tossed away.

Solar Scalloped Potatoes with Cheddar Cheese


6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch slices

1 onion, thinly sliced

1/4 cup celery leaves

1 tablespoon dried parsley

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 cuan evaporated milk

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

1/2 teaspoon paprika


Set Sun Oven out to preheat. Spray a baking pan with cooking spray.

Layer the potatoes and onions in the prepared pan, starting and finishing with a layer of potatoes and overlapping the potatoes slightly. Use a blender or food processor to combine the celery leaves, parsley, butter, flour, salt, pepper, and cheese until smooth. Pour the cheese mixture over the potatoes and onions. Sprinkle with paprika. (can be prepared ahead up to this point. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 24 hours. Bring to room temperature before continuing) Use a second baking pan to cover as a lid and transfer to the Sun Oven. Bake until the potatoes are tender and bubbly, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Makes 6 servings.

Rich and Creamy Sun Oven Scalloped Potatoes


Cheesy, creamy solar baked potatoes. What’s not to like.

Sun Oven Scalloped Potatoes with Ham


1 cup evaporated milk

1/4 cup milk

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

2 pounds russet potatoes, scrubbed (or peeled), sliced into 1/8-inch rounds

8 ounces cooked ham, chopped

4 ounces Gruyere or Swiss cheese, shredded

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Set Sun Oven out to preheat. Grease a baking pan; set aside.

Arrange half of the potatoes in the prepared baking pan, overlapping slightly. Sprinkle the ham over the potatoes. Pour half of the milk mixture over the ham; sprinkle with half of the Gruyere (or Swiss) and Parmesan. Arrange the remaining potatoes over the cheese. Add the remaining milk mixture followed by the remaining cheeses. Cover with a second baking pan or tin foil and a dark dish towel. Transfer to the Sun Oven and bake until the potatoes are tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.


Solar Slow-Roasted Potatoes

Small Oval Roasting Pan

These solar roasted potatoes go well with grilled meats.

Sun Oven Roasted Potatoes


1 pound fingerling or small new potatoes, washed and scrubbed

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces


Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Combine the potatoes, garlic, paprika, salt, and pepper in a baking or roasting pan; toss to coat. Dot with butter, cover and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until the potatoes are soft, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the potatoes to a serving dish, cover to keep warm. Stir 1 to 2 tablespoons of water into the pan drippings until well blended. Pour sauce over the potatoes and serve.

Makes 4 servings.


Solar Baked Stuffed Tomatoes with Herbs


Use an assortment of different colored tomatoes for this pretty side dish that goes well with roast meats and poultry.

Aromatic Sun Baked Stuffed Tomatoes


4 large heirloom tomatoes, halved crosswise, seeds removed

1/3 cup panko bread crumbs

3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 teaspoons herbes de Provence

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil


Set Sun Oven out to preheat. Spray a baking pan with cooking spray.

Arrange the tomato halves in a single layer, cut side up, in the prepared baking pan. In a small bowl combine the panko, parsley, Parmesan cheese, herbs de Provence, garlic, and salt. Top each tomato half with a spoonful of the bread crumb mixture. Drizzle each tomato half with olive oil. Cover the baking pan with a second pan or aluminum foil and a dark dish towel. Bake the tomatoes in the Sun Oven until lightly browned, about 45 minutes.


Sun Oven Braised Endive

Braised Endive

My weekly vegetable box delivery comes with a page of fun tidbits about the produce and the farms that grow it. This week I learned that Belgian endive is grown either indoors or underground to keep it from turning green. It also informed me that braised endive is delicious, but I already knew that.

Solar Braised Belgian Endive


1 tablespoon butter

2 Belgian endives, cut lengthwise and quartered

1 tablespoon dry white wine or water

salt to taste

pinch of sugar (optional)


Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Melt the butter in an 8-inch cast iron skillet. Add the endives, turning to coat. Splash with wine or water, season with salt and pinch of sugar (if using). Cover and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until the endive has slightly browned, about 1 hour.

Makes 4 servings.

Solar Squash Gratin

Squash Gratin

This colorful side dish goes well with chicken, pork, or even eggs. If you sauté the onions it the baking pan while you peel and cut up the squash you’ll have fewer pans to wash – and that’s always a good thing.

Sun Baked Squash Gratin


2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 small butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

4 teaspoons chopped fresh sage, divided

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

3/4 cup corn meal

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Pour 1 tablespoon of the oil into a baking pan and toss with the onion. Cover with a second baking pan and cook in the Sun Oven until the onion begins to soften, about 20 minutes. Peel and cut the squash while the onion is cooking. Add the squash, 1 tablespoon of the sage, salt, and pepper to the onions. Toss to combine. In a small bowl, mix together the corn meal, Parmesan cheese, and the remaining teaspoon of sage. Sprinkle the mixture over the squash. Replace the cover and continue cooking in the Sun Oven until the squash is soft, 1 t0 1 1/2 hours.

Makes 6 servings.

Solar Roasted Cabbage

Roast Cabbage

I’m still working my way through last week’s box of vegetables. Today I sliced up the cabbage, roasted it in the Sun Oven, and enjoyed it with lunch. Now all that’s left are the beets and the butternut squash. I’m ready for another box.

Sun Roasted Green Cabbage

(adapted for the Sun Oven from Martha Stewart)


1 head green cabbage

1 teaspoon olive oil

kosher salt

freshly ground pepper

freshly squeezed lemon juice


Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Cut cabbage into 8 wedges. Brush both sides with olive oil. Arrange the slices on a baking rack or in a baking pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast, uncovered, in the Sun Oven until edges are brown, about 45 minutes. Squeeze lemon juice over the cabbage and serve.

Solar Sweet and Sour Onions


These would take just as long to cook stovetop as they do in the Sun Oven. But in the Sun Oven, not only do you save on fuel, you don’t need to constantly monitor them as you would stovetop. If you can’t find cipolline onions (I had to go to three different stores to find mine) use small white onions. They go great with any kind of roast or braised meat.

Sweet and Sour Onions

(adapted for the Sun Oven from Marcella Hazan’s Classic Italian Cookbook)


2 pounds cipolline onions or small white onions

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper


Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

To peel the onions, bring a large saucepan of water to a boil and immerse the onions for about 30 seconds, drain. Remove the outer skin and the dangling roots only. Use a sharp paring knife to score and cross in the root end of each onion. Spread the onions out in a single layer in a large pot. Dot with butter. Add enough water come about half way up the side of the onions. Add the vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. Cover and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until very soft and have absorbed most or all of the liquid, about 3 hours.

makes 4 to 6 servings.



Root Vegetables with Herbs


Rutabagas are often overlooked at the grocery store. So much so that you’ll probably have to tell the cashier what they are.

Sun Roasted Root Vegetables


2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks

2 medium red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into chunks

1 small rutabaga, peeled and cut into chunks

2 shallots, peeled and quartered

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

salt and pepper to taste


Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Spread the vegetables out in a large roasting pan. Pour the oil over the vegetables. Sprinkle with the rosemary and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat the vegetables evenly. Cover the pan and roast in the Sun Oven until the vegetables are tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Makes 4 servings.

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