Solar Braised Greens

There’s no excuse for not eating your veggies if you have a Sun Oven. Most vegetables come out great with just a little oil and sunshine.

Sun Oven Braised Baby Bok Choy


4 baby bok choy, quartered lengthwise

1 tablespoon sesame seed oil



In a dark, lightweight pot, toss the bok choy with the oil. Season with salt. Cover and cook in the SunOven until soft, 30 to 4o minutes.

Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Purée

This lovely purée goes well with roasts but could also be served with a salad for a light, vegetarian lunch.

Sunny Sun Oven Sweet Potato Purée


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 pound total) peeled and chopped

1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin

1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon curry powder

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Vegetarian Solar Stew with Kale

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Solar Roasted Squash Soup


Butternut squash and sage go together splendidly, and this simple, satisfying soup is perfect for this time of year. The squash can be roasted early in the day when sunshine is abundant while the rest can be done stovetop later in the day after sunset.

Sun Oven Butternut Squash Soup with Sage


1 (2 1/2 to 3 pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and sliced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 leek (white and pale green parts only), sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 fresh sage leaves or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried

3 cups broth, chicken or vegetable

1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional)

salt and pepper to taste


Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Coat two baking pans with cooking spray.

Arrange the squash in single layers in the pans and coat with cooking spray.  Sprinkle kosher salt over squash. Cross stack the pans in the Sun Oven and cook until the squash is just soft, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from Sun Oven and cut into chunks.

While the squash is cooking heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and leak and cook, strirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sage and continue cooking for another minute. Add the roasted squash to the pot with the broth. Return the pot to the Sun Oven and cook until the squash is very soft, about 1 hour.

Remove the sage leaves (if using fresh) and discard. Using an immersion blender puree the soup until smooth. Stir in the cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Makes 4 servings



Sun Oven Tuscan Soup

This classic Italian soup is served in almost every home and restaurant in Tuscany. Traditional Tuscan bread is called “pane sciocco” and is made without salt. I’ve never found real, salt-free, Tuscan bread outside of Tuscany. Not even in other regions of Italy.  A crusty sourdough is a good substitute for this Sun Oven version.



1/2 pound dried cannellini beans, previously cooked, cooking liquid reserved

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for serving

2  onions, chopped (about 2 cups)

3 carrots, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)

3 stalks celery, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 can (28 ounce) Italian plum tomatoes in puree, chopped

4 cups shredded savoy cabbage

4 cups coarsely chopped kale

1 bay leaf

1 sprig rosemary

Vegetable broth

Good quality crusty bread, (preferably 1 day old), sliced

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving


Set Sun Oven out to preheat. Remove leveling tray and place a rack or trivet on the floor of the cooking chamber.

In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the carrots, celery, garlic, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Add the cabbage, kale, bay leaf, rosemary, and 1 cup broth. Cover and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until the vegetables are tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the pot from the Sun Oven. Leave the Sun Oven out. Discard the bay leaf and rosemary sprig. Put about 1/3 of the cooked vegetables into the bowl of a food processor and puree until smooth. Return the puree to the stockpot.

Drain the beans, reserving their cooking liquid. Put half of the beans in a food processor with a little of their liquid and puree until smooth. Add enough vegetable broth to the bean’s cooking liquid to measure 7 cups. Add the whole and pureed beans along with the vegetable broth mixture to the stockpot and stir to combine. Put the stockpot back in the Sun Oven and continue cooking until heated through, about 45 minutes. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.

Ladle a little soup into each serving bowl. Line each bowl with the sliced bread. Cover with more soup. Sprinkle each serving with Parmesan cheese and drizzle with olive oil.

Makes 8 servings.




Penne with Solar Roasted Veggies

The winter months are challenging for solar cooks in more ways than one. Even on sunny days the window of opportunity is smaller and if you don’t get your food in early you might miss it. A hot dinner straight from the Sun Oven to the table is pretty much impossible. Still, with a little planning, at least part of your evening meal can be cooked in the sun then completed, or warmed up, at dinnertime. Roasting a batch of vegetables early in the day will give you a head start on dinner.

Sun Oven Pasta with Roasted Vegetables


2 zucchini, halved and cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch slices

1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips

1 red onion, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon olive oil

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Solar Soup with Autumn Flavors

This soup has all the colors and flavors of fall. Serve it with some nice bread and a side of kale or other dark leafy greens for a wholesome vegetarian meal.

Autumn Sun Oven Red Lentil Soup


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon cumin

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Clean Fridge, Full Sun Oven

As I mentioned in a previous post, stuffed squash is one of my favorite solar cooked fall lunches.

The possible combinations for fillings are endless. Don’t have squash? Bell peppers are good for stuffing too. And they cook faster. Today I used both – and accomplished two good things. First, we enjoyed a satisfying, tasty lunch, and second, I saved some tomatoes, peppers, and cheese from turning into science projects in my fridge.

Today’s stuffing consisted of couscous, canned chickpeas, tomatoes, and goat cheese. Just mix everything together, add a little hot water, stuff the veggies, cover and pop it in the Sun Oven. The only tricky part is figuring out how much water to add. It depends a lot on what’s in the filling. But don’t let that stop you. I underestimated the amount today and was able to remedy the situation by adding a little more, very hot, water about 45 minutes into the cooking time. The peppers were ready with another 5 minutes of cooking. The squash took a little longer, but not much.

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 Soup Time

I’m not a big fan of parsnips but every now and then I just have to give them another chance. I can’t think of any other food I do this with. So far this soup is the best parsnip recipe I’ve found.

Sun Oven Parsnip Soup

(Adapted for the Sun Oven from Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution)


2 tablespoons olive oil

2 carrots, peeled and sliced

2 celery stalks, sliced

2 small onions, chopped

1 1/2 pounds parsnips, peeled and chopped

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