Colorful Roast Spring Squash – a great way to celebrate the colors of Spring!

Colorful Roast Spring SquashThis one takes a little work to assemble (:-) you’ve been forewarned), but is a fun project with kids and is REALLY pretty on the table. I actually like the non-casserole version better when served piping hot, but plenty of people disagree with me (and the casserole is crazy delicious when served cold) so here you go with both versions!

4 medium carrots
Spring zucchini and yellow squash – amount depends on size. I like the smaller spring versions, and buy about 20 of those, but if you have larger ones, the quantity is lower.
4 fresh garlic cloves, finely chopped or pressed
3/4 cup mushrooms, chopped, pick your favorite type
1.5 tbsp fresh thyme (I love lemon thyme in this, if you have it)
1 tbsp olive or coconut oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Additional for casserole version:
4 eggs
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup milk (any type, and optional)
1/2 cup cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 350.

Slice carrots into thick matchsticks or similar small pieces, about 2″ tall. Warm oil in oven-safe casserole dish (about pie-pan size) over medium heat. Add garlic, mushrooms, carrots, and 1 tbsp of the thyme. Cook slowly for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until carrots are warmed throughout, then remove carrots and spread them out to cool, leaving the mushrooms and garlic in the pan.

While the carrots are cooking and cooling, cut the zucchini into similar large matchstick pieces.

Now, the fun begins. Spread the mushroom mixture across the pan, and begin arranging the matchsticks upright over them. Kids love helping with this, it’s a game. I find it easier to start in the middle and move outward. If you’re feeling creative, make a pattern, like a flower, with the colors. Go all the way to the edges so that the pieces stay upright while baking. If you’re not making the casserole version, sprinkle the remaining thyme over the vegetables, add salt and pepper, and pop into the oven for about 20 minutes, or until veggies are soft but not mushy (use a fork to gauge readiness).

Casserole variation: before putting the veggies in the oven, whirl the eggs, plus the cheese and milk if you’re using them, in your blender on low, along with pinch of salt. Stir in the parsley, and pour evenly over the vegetables. Grind pepper over all. Bake until the eggs are set, and the vegetables are soft but not mushy – you can tell by using a fork. Let rest about 10 minutes before eating. This dish is also excellent served cold!

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