Fregola salad

Fregola salad with raisins, skinny green beans and peas (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune)

2. Finely grate the zest from the lemons into a small bowl. Juice the lemons into the bowl. Stir in the olive oil, garlic and salt.

3. Heat two large pots of salted water to a boil. Add the beans to one of the pots; boil uncovered until tender-crisp and bright, about 5 minutes. Drain; let cool. Add the fregola to the other pot; boil, stirring often, until al dente, about 10 minutes. (Alternatively, cook couscous or orzo according to package directions.)

4. Meanwhile, put raisins and peas in bottom of a large mixing bowl. Drain the pasta well when it's done; pour it over the raisins and peas. Let stand a few minutes without stirring to let the heat of the pasta warm the raisins and peas.

5. Pour the lemon juice dressing over the pasta; toss well to mix. Stir in the cooked beans and herbs. Toss to mix. Sprinkle with the toasted nuts. Serve while still warm.

Nutrition information:
Per serving: 438 calories, 14 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 70 g carbohydrates, 11 g protein, 483 mg sodium, 7 g fiber.

Grilled vegetable gratin with olives and basil

Prep: 45 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Servings: 6


1 ½ pounds small potatoes, scrubbed clean

1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

3 pounds medium eggplant, small zucchini or yellow squash (or a combination)

2 medium red onions

3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil

4 large ripe tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick

1 cup sliced pitted green olives, such as Castelvetrano, or fresh, cured green ripe olives

1 cup loosely packed, thinly sliced fresh basil, plus more basil, chopped, for sprinkling

5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1. Prepare a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill to medium. Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water until nearly tender, about 15 minutes. Drain. When cool enough to handle cut into 1/4-inch thick slices; salt them lightly.

2. Slice the eggplants and/or zucchini lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick slabs. Cut the onions into 1/4-inch wide slices. Put the slices onto a baking sheet (taking care to keep onion slices intact). Brush vegetables on all sides with olive oil; sprinkle lightly with salt.

3. Grill the sliced vegetables, working in batches if necessary, in a single uncrowded layer directly over the heat, turning once, just until they are golden and tender, 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet to cool.

4. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Reserve enough tomato slices for a top layer. Layer the remaining tomato slices, potatoes and grilled vegetables in the baking dish. Sprinkle some of the olives, sliced basil and garlic between the layers. Finish with a layer of the reserved tomatoes.

5. Bake until piping hot and tender, about 45 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the chopped basil. Cut into squares; remove carefully from the pan with a flexible spatula. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Nutrition information:
Per serving: 259 calories, 10 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 41 g carbohydrates, 6 g protein, 380 mg sodium, 10 g fiber.