Foodie Friday celebrates vegetables that are available year round or frozen like squash, tomatoes and other goodies. And, it's healthy, packed full of vitamins and no fat!

Summer Vegetable Stew (prep. time: about a half hour for cutting up the vegetables. 4 hours in the slow cooker)

1 red or yellow onion

1 can diced tomatoes plus any fresh ones you want to use before they go bad  (Only slightly drain the canned tomatoes.)

1 can Great Northern or cannellini beans

Any summer garden vegetables you want, diced into bite sized chunks:

1 zucchini

1 yellow squash

Asparagus

1 bell pepper

1/2 yellow onion, sliced

2 cups button mushrooms

1 large carrot

Kale or spinach, sliced

2 cloves garlic, diced

1 C. brown rice

2 Tb. Fresh or dried basil

2 Tb. Fresh or dried oregano

¼ tsp. red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper to taste.

I link Italian style vegetarian sausage cut into chunks (can use meat sausage, broken into chunks and browned first or you can leave the sausage out altogether. )

Cook the brown rice as per package instructions and set aside. Put all the vegetables, 'sausage' and herbs in the slow cooker, cook on high for around 4 hours. The stew, of course can be cooked longer on low and kept warm.  You can either stir in the rice or serve the stew on top of a mound of rice.  Instead of rice, the stew could also be served over pasta.

You can keep it totally vegan and fat-free if you are not using meat sausage, or you could top it with a nice sprinkle of parmesan cheese and serve with a slice of crusty bread.