Endless Summer Vegetable Strata With Cilantro-Lemon Pesto Recipe


  • 12 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 tsp. salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 12 cups chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 cups chopped fresh parsley
  • 6 cups cooked white beans, drained and rinsed if canned
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 6 Vidalia onions, chopped
  • 6 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 6 yellow bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 18 cups cubed day-old French or Italian bread, crusts removed
  • 9 lbs. zucchini or yellow summer squash, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 6 large russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 24 ripe plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. toasted chopped almonds, breadcrumbs, or grated soy parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a food processor, combine the garlic and 1/2 tsp. of the salt and process until the garlic is minced. Add the cilantro and parsley and process until well-minced. Add the beans, 2 Tbsp. of the olive oil, the lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and vegetable stock and blend until smooth to make a pesto. Set aside.
  2. In a large sauté pan, heat the remaining 1 cup of oil over medium heat. Add the onion and bell peppers, cover, and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
  3. Spread the bread cubes on the bottom of a lightly oiled hotel pan and layer half the zucchini or squash
    slices on top. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Spoon about 1/4 of the pesto on the zucchini or squash and top with 1/2 of the potato slices. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and layer with 1/3 of the tomato slices. Layer 1/2 of the onion-and-bell-pepper mixture evenly across the tomato slices. Top with a layer of the remaining zucchinislices. Season with salt and pepper and top with 1/4 of the remaining pesto. Continue layering in the same order with the remaining ingredients (excluding the almonds, breadcrumbs, or cheese). Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Cover and bake about 45 to 50 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Remove the cover and top with the almonds, breadcrumbs, or cheese and return to the oven for about 10 minutes, or until the top is browned.
  • Makes 24 servings

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