Vegetarian Cooking in a SUN OVEN®
by Jennifer Stein Barker
author of the Morning Hill Solar Cookery Book
Vegetarian dishes come out sweet, nutritious, and delicious in a SUN OVEN®! Temperatures in a SUN OVEN® rise slowly and evenly. This makes SUN OVENS® perfect for cooking legume, grain and vegetable-based dishes.
You can cook anything in a SUN OVEN® that you cook in a moderate oven (~225 to 350 degrees), or in a slow cooker. Your SUN OVEN® is perfect for baking whole-grain breads and cakes, roasting vegetables, and simmering casseroles. Try the sample recipes on this page, and see how easy it is to create a nutritious, delicious vegetarian meal in a SUN OVEN®.
In a SUN OVEN®, mass equals cooking time (heavy, wet dishes like casseroles will take longer to come up to cooking temperature than light, airy ones like breads and cakes).
Remember, the basic rule in a SUN OVEN® is, “Cook it till it’s done!” For more detailed information on vegetarian SUN OVEN® cookery, including tips and links check out Jennifer’s Solar Cooking Page.
To order Jennifer’s Morning Hill Solar Cookery Book click here.
Menu and recipes for a vegetarian SUN OVEN® Meal:
Your favorite Bread recipe
Risotto (recipe below)
Chocolate-Mint Ricotta Mousse
An Easy Meal:
OK, now lay out your day before starting this: Make dough for one large loaf of your favorite crusty bread first thing in the morning and set it to rise. Then make the mousse, and set it to chill for dessert. Bake the bread when it’s risen, then take a few hours off. Come back early to mid-afternoon (the shorter the days, the earlier you must get your cooking done) and make the Risotto for dinner. Sounds like a long day, but the sun is doing most of the work for you!
This is a baked rice dish in the Italian style. If you cannot get fresh oregano and lovage, follow the substitutions for “winter risotto”.
1-2/3 cups raw brown rice
2 Tbsp. lentils
1-1/2 cups chopped or ground tomatoes
2-2/3 cups stock or water
1 small onion, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small turnip, coarsely grated
1/3 cup chopped fresh oregano
2 tsp. finely chopped fresh lovage leaf
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. tamari
for the fresh oregano and lovage, substitute:
2 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
1/2 tsp. fennel seed, crushed or ground
Combine ingredients in a 2 liter or larger casserole. Stir to mix. Bake, covered, in sun oven until all liquid is absorbed. The rice and lentils should be tender (if not, add more liquid next time). When it is done, the herbs will be on the top. Stir everything together before serving.
Serve with a crusty bread and green salad.
Chocolate-Mint Ricotta Mousse
A velvety-smooth mousse with a secret!
2-1/2 squares unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup honey
1-15 oz. container low-fat ricotta cheese
1/4 cup spearmint leaves, packed
Measure the honey in a heatproof cup. Break up the chocolate squares and add them to the honey, pushing the chocolate down so it is covered. Heat honey and chocolate in a solar oven just until the chocolate melts.
Scrape the honey and chocolate into a blender. Add the ricotta cheese and mint leaves. Blend until liquid and smooth. You may have to stop the blender frequently and scrape down the sides, pushing the cheese down onto the blender blades.
When smooth, pour into a serving dish or individual cups. Chill for at least two hours before serving. Garnish with fresh mint leaves.
A Few of my Favorite pans:
When creating dishes with a SUN OVEN®, using appropriate pans makes the food cook more quickly and evenly. Here are a few of my very own favorites: dark-colored non-stick baking pans, green enamel “granite-ware,” and an amber-colored covered glass 2-quart casserole.
Hot Tip: The more mass you put in your SUN OVEN®, the longer the dish will take to come up to cooking temperature. For example, a two-quart casserole may take 90 minutes to begin to simmer on a fully-sunny day. However, once it begins to simmer, it has reached cooking temperatures and will finish in the usual amount of time.