Solar Soup and Homemade Pesto

cats and Sun Oven

Homemade pesto is easy to make and tastes much better than the store-bought stuff and if you have an herb garden you probably have a lot of basil this time of year. Traditional Genoese pesto is made with pine nuts, but walnuts will work too.

Sun Oven White Bean Soup with Pesto

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large sweet onion, finely chopped

1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped

3 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and chopped

3 cups previously solar cooked white beans, (cannellini, Mayacoba, or navy)

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup pesto (homemade* or store-bought)

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until just softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the bell pepper, tomatoes (both kinds), beans, and broth. Season with salt and pepper, cover, and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until the vegetables are soft and the flavors have blended, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Stir in the pesto just before serving.

*Pesto

Ingredients

1 clove garlic, peeled

1/4 cup pine nuts (or walnuts)

2 cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves

1/3 cup olive oil

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preparation

Combine the garlic and nuts in a blender or food processor; pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the basil and continue processing until a paste is formed. With the machine running, add the olive oil by pouring it in a fine stream through the feed tube. Transfer the pesto to a bowl and stir in the cheese. The pesto will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator, stored in an airtight container and topped with a thin layer of olive oil.

Solar Chickpea Coconut Curry

Chickpea Coconut Curry

The coconut milk makes this curry creamy and delicious.

Sun Oven Chickpea Coconut Curry

Ingredients

1 tablespoons coconut oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced

1 tablespoon garam masala

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

3 cups previously solar cooked chickpeas

1 (26-0unces) carton Pomi chopped tomatoes, (canned diced tomatoes work too)

1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk

1 cauliflower, cored and cut into florets

salt and pepper to taste

1 cup frozen green peas, thawed.

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until just softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and ginger followed by spices and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, and coconut milk, stirring to combine. Add the cauliflower. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until the cauliflower is soft, 1 1/2 t0 2 hours. Stir in the peas and continue cooking until heated through, about 10 more minutes. Serve with rice.

Makes 6 servings.

 

Salty, Crunchy, Solar Snack

Roasted Chickpeas

Here’s a sun baked crunchy snack that healthier and more filling than chips. This batch was made with chili powder, but different seasonings would also work. Keep an eye on them or they could burn, mine were rescued just in time.

Sun Roasted Chickpeas

Ingredients

2 cups previously cooked chickpeas, drained

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Pat the chickpeas dry with paper towels. Combine the oil, chili powder, and salt in a baking pan. Add the chickpeas and toss to coat. Spread the chickpeas out in a single layer and cook in the Sun Oven, uncovered, until golden and crunchy, 2 to 3 hours.

 

Solar Tomato Soup

Sun Oven in WC

 

For a vegan version of this soup use unsweetened almond milk and omit the Parmesan cheese.

Four Tomato Soup

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 cup vegetable broth

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with their juices

1 (14-ounce) crushed tomatoes

1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup whole milk, heated

1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1 to 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces

1 cup small yellow tomatoes, grape or cherry, quartered

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Heat the oil in large pot over medium-high heat, add the onions and cook, stirring often until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic followed by the tomato paste and brown sugar. Add the broth, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, and sun-dried tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until the flavors have blended, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  Remove from Sun Oven. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the pot. Stir in the hot milk, cheese, and basil. Adjust for salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and garnish with quartered tomatoes.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Solar Veggie Chips

Zucchini Chips

This is the time of year that zucchini are abundant; sometimes too abundant. These chips make a great, healthy snack and, in addition to using up some of the zucchini from your garden, they can be made on a partly cloudy day when the Sun Oven might not reach the highest temperatures.

Sun Baked Zucchini Chips

Ingredients

2 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/8-inch rounds

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon herbs de Provence

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat. Line 3 stackable baking racks with parchment paper or silicone mats.

In a large bowl, toss the zucchini slices with the oil, salt, and herbs. Spread the slices out in single layers on the prepared baking racks. Stack the racks in the Sun Oven. Keep the Sun Oven focused to keep the temperature between 200 and 250F. If condensation begins to build up unlatch the door to allow steam to escape. As the zucchini cook and shrink they can be consolidated onto few racks. Continue cooking until browned, removing any that may brown faster as they cook, about 2 hours total.

 

Curried Chickpea Solar Stew

Veggie-Curry-300x199

 

Serve this vegetarian stew with plenty of basmati rice to soak up all the velvety sauce.

Sun Oven Chickpea and Cauliflower Curry

Ingredients

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced

2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger

1/4 cup mild red curry paste

1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks (about 2 cups)

2 cups cauliflower florets, broken into small pieces

2 1/2 cups previously solar cooked chickpeas

1 (14-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes

1 (14-ounce) can vegetable broth

1/2 cup coconut milk (regular or lite)

salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2 cup (lightly packed) spinach leaves

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onion, apple, and ginger; cook, stirring often, until just softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the curry paste. Add the sweet potato, chickpeas, tomatoes, and vegetable broth; stir to combine. Cover and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until the vegetables are soft, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Stir in the coconut milk and spinach, replace lid and continue cooking until heated through, about 20 more minutes.

Makes 8 servings.

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

Ingredients

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

Preparation

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

Ingredients

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

Preparation

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.

Solar Simmered Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Soup

 

A solar cooked hearty bean soup always makes for a good dinner.

Sun Oven Cuban Black Bean Soup

Ingredients

1 pound dried black beans, picked over, rinsed, soaked overnight, and drained

12 cups water

1/3 cup olive oil

3 onions, finely chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 bay leaf

4 teaspoons red wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

salt and pepper to taste

Sour cream for serving (optional)

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

In a large soup pot, combine the drained beans and the water. Cover and cook in the Sun Oven until the beans are tender, 1 t0 1 1/2 hours. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead up to this point. Refrigerate beans in their cooking liquid and bring to room temperature before continuing) While the beans are cooking, heat the oil in a wide pot or skillet. Add the onions, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook the vegetables, stirring often, until just softened, about 3 minutes. Place 1 cup of the cooked beans (leave the Sun Oven out) in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Add the pureed beans to the vegetables; mix well. Return the bean and vegetable mixture to the soup pot along with the thyme, oregano, bay leaf, vinegar, cumin, salt, and pepper. Return the pot to the  Sun Oven and cook until the beans are very soft and the flavors have blended, about 1 hour. Remove bay leaf. Ladle soup into bowls and top with a dollop of sour cream if using.

Makes 8 servings.

Sun Braised Tofu

New Sun Oven

The miso and tamari sauce infuse the tofu with flavor as it cooks. It can be served with rice as a main course or wrapped in rice paper with your choice of fresh vegetables.

Miso-Braised Tofu

(adapted for the Sun Oven from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker)

Ingredients

3 shallots, thinly sliced

1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained, cut into 1/2-inch slices

2 tablespoons miso paste*

2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon water

Preparation

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

Spread the shallots out over the bottom of the pan. Arrange the tofu slices over the shallots in a single layer. In a small bowl, whisk together the miso paste, tamari, oil, and water. Pour the miso mixture over the tofu. Cover the pan, transfer to the Sun Oven and cook for about 1 hour.

*miso paste can be found in the Asian foods section of most supermarkets

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