“I have no research to back this claim, but I’m convinced that when people eat from the same pot or platter, they share something more than food.” -Michael Pollan, Forward to The Pollan Family Table cookbook
One of the major themes of Alex and my work is how food brings us together. And not just literally, as in people gathering around the same table. It’s more than that: eating the same food together helps us bridges our differences, and creates a sense of empathy around a shared experience. Food is about connection and people. That’s what drew us to it and continues to keep our attention. It’s even more fun now that our family has expanded from two to three. Even though at 9 months Larson’s a bit too young to truly understand, when we all eat the same food, there’s truly something that stirs in me. This weekend ate this harvest vegetable bake together, and watching Larson love it so much (making the yum yum sound as he ate) was fulfilling in a way that I never dreamed.
It’s only fitting that this recipe is from a family who stands for this very thing: coming together around the table. It’s the Pollan family: mother Corky and sisters Dana, Lori, and Tracy. Brother Michael is well-known for his books and documentaries on food and eating. His mother and sisters have collaborated on a cookbook with the message that a culture of family dinners is transformative: for your physical health, mental well-being, and overall happiness. Not only is the dinner table a place for nourishing food, it’s a place for coming together and creating a shared communal experience.
We were lucky enough to have the Pollan family as guests on our podcast, and it stands out as one of our favorite episodes to date. Maybe it’s because we had four guests at once (yes, four!). But I think it’s because of the genuine warmth and sincerity with which these women recounted growing up at the table– and their own hopes for the next generation of eaters.
This harvest vegetable bake is a recipe from their The Pollan Family Table cookbook. It’s a vegetarian main dish the Pollans suggested we try, and my, does it deliver on flavor! It’s a combination of vegetables and baked tofu, topped with cheese and baked until bubbly. While it takes a bit of time to prepare, the flavor is savory and refined, almost meaty. We served this as a vegetarian main dish for dinner, but we think it would also be a fantastic savory bake for a brunch spread. It could even work at the Thanksgiving table! Another one of the things we love about the book is that each recipe contains a market list with just the ingredients that are needed from the store–not ingredients that would likely be in your pantry. Grabbing a quick photo on your phone makes shopping easy. Congratulations to the Pollan family on an incredible book: we can’t wait for the next one! And make sure to take a listen to their podcast episode: A Family Affair.
Order the book
It’s now on our shelf: here’s The Pollan Family Table cookbook
Looking for vegetable bakes?
We’ve got lots of vegetable bake recipes on our website: here are a few of our favorite vegetable bakes:
- Pumpkin Goat Cheese Baked Gnocchi
- Spinach Artichoke Red Rice Casserole
- Skillet Eggplant Marinara
- Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie with French Lentils
Did you make this recipe?
If you make this harvest vegetable bake, we’d love to hear how it turned out. Leave a comment below or share a picture on Instagram and mention @acouplecooks and @pollanfamilytable.
This recipe is…
Vegetarian and gluten-free.Print
- 12 to 14-ounce package extra firm organic tofu, drained and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup finely chopped shallot
- 4 cloves garlic (2 minced, 2 sliced)
- 1 tablespoon dry sherry (we used brandy in a pinch)
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup sliced cremini or baby bella mushrooms
- 1 cup peeled and sliced carrots, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
- 2 cups sliced zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds (we omitted)
- 2 1/2 cups 1-inch broccoli florets
- 2 cups packed stemmed and roughly chopped Swiss chard (we did 5 cups)
- 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Arrange the tofu in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, flipping once halfway through. Remove from the oven and set aside. Increase the oven temperature to 400F.
- Meanwhile, begin preparing the sauce and vegetables. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil, the shallot, and the minced garlic. Stir occasionally until they become translucent and begin to brown, about 8 minutes. Add the sherry and white wine and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the vegetable broth, soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Set aside.
- While the sauce simmers, pour the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil into a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the sliced garlic, the mushrooms, and carrots, and saute for 2 minutes. Raise the heat to medium high, add the zucchini and broccoli, and saute for 6 minutes. Add the Swiss chard and stir all the vegetables continuously for 2 minutes more, until well combined and the Swiss chard has wilted.
- Transfer the vegetables to a large casserole or baking dish. Add the tofu, pour the sauce over the casserole, and mix. Sprinkle the cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese on top. Bake uncovered until the cheese are browned and bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve hot.
Reprinted with permission from The Pollan Family Table: The Best Recipes and Kitchen Wisdom for Delicious, Healthy Family Meals by Corky, Lori, Dana, and Tracy Pollan
About the Authors
Cookbook Author and writer
Sonja Overhiser is author and recipe developer of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the “best vegetarian cookbooks” by Epicurious, and a recipe developer and healthy & sustainable food advocate behind the award-nominated food blog A Couple Cooks.
Cookbook Author and photographer
Alex Overhiser is photographer and recipe developer of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the “best new cookbooks” by Bon Appetit, and a recipe developer, photographer, and technical expert at A Couple Cooks.