A Simple Solar Side Dish

Solar braised carrots go great with grilled chicken or fish. For extra flavor, toss them with drained capers or chopped black olives when they come out of the Sun Oven.

Garlicky Sun Oven Braised Carrots


2 tablespoons olive oil

12 carrots, peeled and sliced

12 cloves garlic, sliced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper


Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Toss all the ingredients in a dark, light-weight pot. Cover and place in Sun Oven. Cook until the carrots are tender, 30 to 45 minutes. Adjust for salt and serve.


Solar Baked Potato and Carrot Mash

As the days get shorter and the weather less predictable I tend to do more hybrid cooking. I’ll start a dish out in the Sun Oven and finish it stove top or in the conventional oven. This recipe lends itself perfectly to dual heat sources. The carrots and potatoes can be solar roasted early in the day, then if the clouds roll in, or you want to eat after sunset, the assembled dish can be baked in your indoor oven at dinnertime.

Sun Oven Potato and Carrot Bake


6 tablespoons butter, divided

2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, scrubbed

1 pound carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1-inch pieces

3/4 to 1 cup milk, warmed

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Put the carrots in a shallow pot, add 1/3 cup water, and dot with 2 tablespoons of the butter. Cover and transfer to the Sun Oven. Arrange the potatoes around the sides of the pot and on the lid if they don’t all fit. Cook until carrots and potatoes are tender, about 2 hours. Leave the Sun Oven out. Press the carrots and any cooking juices through a ricer into a large bowl. Cut the potatoes in half, scoop out the flesh, and press through the rice into the bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat in the remaining 4 tablespoons butter, cheese, and gradually add the milk until reaching the desired consistency. Season to taste with salt. Butter an oval roasting pan or baking dish. Spread the potato mixture out in the pan (Can be made one day ahead. Cover and chill). Cover and bake in the Sun Oven until heated through and browned, about 45 minutes. (For conventional ovens, preheat to 350˚F and bake uncovered).

Solar Roasted Asparagus

I finally got a chance to use my new baking dishes with the silicone lids and I’m very pleased. So pleased that I might have to make a non-birthday trip to Ikea to get the larger ones. I didn’t make anything fancy.

I drizzled a bit of olive oil on some asparagus, snapped the lid on, and popped it in the Sun Oven. The lid fits so snuggly that I was afraid it would trap too much moisture and the spears would be soggy, but after an hour or so in the Sun Oven on a partially cloudy day they came out just fine.

The black lid does make it pretty much impossible to see what’s going on, however, I knew they were ready by the tell-tale condensation build up on the cooking chambers glass door.


Summer Solar Veggie Bake

Here’s an easy to make (although slightly time consuming to assemble) vegetable side dish that makes good use of the abundance of summer squash from the garden. Stack the pot on top of one with your main dish and you’ve got yourself a fully solar cooked meal.

Sun Oven Summer Vegetable Tian

(adapted for the Sun Oven from Ina Garten’s Barefoot in Paris)


2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1/2 yellow onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 zucchini squash, halved lengthwise and sliced

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Red Hot Solar Sweet Potatoes

Chipotle chiles give these whipped sweet potatoes a smokey, spicy kick. Add them a little at a time until the heat is right for your taste.

Spicy Sun Oven Whipped Sweet Potatoes

(adapted for the Sun Oven from epicurious.com)


2 1/2 to 3 pounds sweet potatoes, scrubbed

1 to 2 chipotle chile in adobo, minced to a paste

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon salt


Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Put the sweet potatoes in a large roasting pan, cover and bake int the Sun Oven until very soft, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Leave the Sun Oven out. Let the potatoes cool enough to handle then cut in half and scoop out the flesh into a bowl. Beat the potatoes, minced chiles (to taste), butter, and salt with an electric beater until smooth. Spread the mixture out in a greased baking dish. Cover the dish with tin foil, then a dark tea towel and bake in the Sun Oven until hot, 35 to 40 minutes.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Solar Glazed Squash

This sweet and savory side goes well with porcini risotto, pork, or poultry. You can use any kind of winter squash, butternut is the easiest to peel.

Sun Oven Maple-Glazed Squash


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

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Squeezing in a Side Dish

No meal is complete without at least one side dish. Luckily, even when you’re using a large roasting pan, there’s almost always enough room in the Sun Oven to squeeze in some veggies. These roasted carrots are the perfect accompaniment to the Chicken Masala recipe in a previous post.

Roasted Carrots


4 medium carrots

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


Spread carrots out on a small (toaster-oven sized) rimmed baking sheet. Toss with oil, cumin seeds and salt. Roast, uncovered, in Sun Oven until soft, 30 to 45 minutes.


Easy Solar Side Dish

When I lived in Italy my best friend’s mother (who was the best cook I’ve ever known) would always apologize if she served fewer than three vegetables at any given meal. She’d probably count this as one, but in my book anything that contains cauliflower, broccoli, and spinach can count as three.

Sformato di Broccoli e Calvolfiore (Baked Broccoli and Cauliflower)


2 cups cauliflower florets

2 cups broccoli florets

12 ounces baby spinach leaves

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Easy Solar Side or Dessert

This fruit sauce makes a good side for pork chops, or can be topped with whipped cream for an easy dessert. It’s also good on vanilla ice-cream or on it’s own as a snack. Pretty much any kind of apples or pears can be used so get the ones that are on sale.

Solar Apple-Pear Sauce


2 pounds Jonagold apples, peeled, cored, and chopped

2 pounds Anjou pears, peeled, cored, and chopped

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 cinnamon stick

1 pinch kosher salt


Set Global Sun Oven out to preheat.

Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Cover and cook in Sun Oven until fruit is softened, about 1 hour. Remove cinnamon stick and mash fruit with a potato masher.

Makes 6 cups.

Sun Baked Stuffed Squash

Solar cooking can be a little frustrating for visual people. No watching the roast brown through the oven door or peeking under the lid to see if the soup is simmering.

Most of the time the only thing you have to look at is a speckled black pot sitting on the leveling tray and the only way you know your food is done is when condensation starts forming on the glass door. But a squash, or a pumpkin, can be used as its own pot if you hollow it out and stuff it and you’ll have something to look at while it’s cooking. Depending on what you fill it with, it can be served as a light lunch or a side dish. The mixture below is reminiscent of Swiss fondue but your imagination is the limit when it comes to fillings.

Solar Baked Stuffed Squash

1 kabocha squash or pumpkin, about 3 pounds

Salt and pepper

4 sliced stale bread, (about 4 oz.), cubed

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