The Recipe: Tourlou Tourlou may be a tongue twister – I dare you, try saying it five times in a row – but it's also a real tongue pleaser. Tourlou Tourlou is a big pile of different vegetables, cooked all together Greek-style for a long time – would you believe two hours? With such a long time in the oven, the vegetables take on a roasted quality, just better. Now, you know that the "veggie evangelist" – that's me – loves nearly all vegetables. But Tourlou Tourlou is something quite special, I hope you love it half as much as I do.
The Conversation: How serendipity introduced me to Tourlou Tourlou. Have you tried it before or is it new to you, too?
Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real.
If ever there’s a story of vegetable serendipity, this is it. Back in 2012, I wrote a story for my restaurant-recipe column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that featured Olympia, a long-time favorite Greek restaurant here in St. Louis.
Back in the kitchen, I spied a couple of prep cooks chopping huge piles of vegetables. The “veggie evangelist” had to know more!
Turns out, the vegetables were for a Greek baked vegetable dish called Tourlou Tourlou – and every few months ever since, I’ve worked to perfect my own “master recipe” for Tourlou Tourlou, something that is seriously-seriously good. Opa!
Tourlou Tourlou is especially useful for folks who belong to a CSA or whose eyes get bigger than their refrigerators at the farmers market.
It’s a great party dish – prep it ahead of time, even the day before. I make a huge batch – 24 cups of vegetables (almost 6 pounds) fills a big stainless bowl right to the “line” and then I use two Corning casserole dishes for baking, one with feta and one without.
People really love Tourlou Tourlou! Earlier this month, I took a big dish to a Mediterranean-themed picnic. You should have seen those foodies go crazy, full of compliments and wondering how it was made.
– GREEK BAKED VEGETABLES
Oven time: 2 hours
- Red onion * (don’t skip)
- Asparagus *
- Eggplant *
- Fennel bulb *
- Green beans *
- Leeks *
- Mushrooms *
- Okra *
- Potato * or turnip
- Red bell pepper *
- Sweet corn *
- Sweet potato * or butternut squash *
- Tomato or grape tomatoes *
- Yellow squash *
- Zucchini *
- (Avoid broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts)
For every 1 cup baked vegetables, you’ll need 2 cups chopped uncooked vegetables. Aim for at least five different vegetables, more are better. Six cups chopped uncooked vegetables weighs about 1lb/450g. Personal favorites * for Tourlou Tourlou.
TO TOSS – per 6 cups (about 1lb/450g) vegetables
- 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil (sorry, no skimping here)
- 1 ½ tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 ½ tablespoons water
- 1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Salt & pepper to taste but be generous!
Heat oven to 375F. Lightly oil an oven-safe casserole dish.
Prep the vegetables, cutting into large pieces, aim for bite-size after shrinkage and for different shapes with each vegetable. Toss really well with olive oil, tomato paste, water, dill, parsley and salt and pepper.
Transfer vegetables into the casserole dish. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 2 hours, yes that’s right, two hours.
Serve hot from the oven, warm or at room temperature.
TOURLOU TOURLOU FOR SLOW COOKERS Because I knew you’d ask, because I wanted to know myself, I made one batch of Tourlou Tourlou in a slow cooker and oh my, what a disappointment! That batch was so bland and watery, I couldn’t believe the difference. If you insist on using a slow cooker, at least skip the water, that might help. But sorry, to my taste, Tourlou Tourlou really must be cooked in the oven, not a slow cooker.
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