Ratatouille is a French vegetable casserole. Mine varies a bit from the original. The one thing that is the same is that I cook each vegetable in batches, separately. In this way you maintain the flavor and structure of each vegetable before combining them together with onion, garlic and tomato paste. Ratatouille traditionally contains eggplant which I do not include in my recipe. I love eggplant but not in this dish for some reason. Feel free to add it to your Ratatouille.
For my clients, I served ratatouille with lamb chops. It’s a great accompaniment to any protein, but on its own with brown rice, and topped with toasted sunflower seeds it makes a lovely, fiber rich, meat free entree. You can put it on a pizza or in an omelette or crepe. I even it cold as a snack!
My recipe was inspired by a dish I used to get in Los Angeles years ago at a vegetarian restaurant called The Source. Interestingly, I found out much later, the restaurant was owned and operated by members of a cult. Fortunately, they were a happy, free loving type of cult, not a murderous one.
It’s from their dish that I add the sunflower seeds. They add a nice crunch, and they’re rich in healthy fats, vitamins and minerals with 5 grams of protein per 1/4 cup. The squash offers the dish folate, potassium and Vitamin A. One medium sized red bell pepper provides 169% of the RDI of Vitamin C.
As with most of my recipes, the ingredient amounts are built around what I had on hand. Feel free to adjust your recipe accordingly. Add or subtract ingredients; make it more traditionally French by flavouring with 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme, or 1 tsp dried instead of basil.
- 4 cups zucchini (approximately 3 medium) cut into bite sized chunks
- 4 cups yellow squash (approximately 3 medium) cut into bite sized chunks
- 4 cups mushrooms, quartered
- 3 cups red bell pepper, stemmed and seeded, cut into bite sized pieces
- 2 cups onion (1 large) diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 Tbl Tomato paste
- 3 Tbl Chiffonade of basil. (Stack leaves, roll and thinly slice)
- Toasted sunflower seeds, optional
- Parmesan cheese, optional
- 1½ tsp salt, divided
- Olive oil
- Heat 1 Tbl (or more) olive oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat.
- Add zucchini in a single layer and toss so oil coats vegetables.
- Cook for for 2 minutes on one side until lightly browned, sprinkle liberally with salt, then toss until cooked through but still firm approximately 4-5 minutes. This will depend on the size of your chunks.
- Remove zucchini and set aside.
- Add another Tbl of oil to pan and cook yellow squash as you did the zucchini.
- Remove squash and set aside
- Add another Tbl of oil to pan and cook mushrooms in a single layer, 2 minutes on the first side, sprinkle liberally with salt and toss until tender. Approximately 2-3 minutes
- Remove Mushrooms and set aside
- Add more olive oil if necessary and add the red pepper chunks.
- Cook, tossing occasionally for 8-10 minutes.
- Remove red pepper and wipe out pan
- Lower heat to medium low and add diced onion
- Cook for approximately 5 minutes, tossing and stirring until transclucent.
- Add garlic and cook for an additional 1 minute
- Add tomato paste and stir into the onion and garlic until slightly darkened.
- Add all the vegetables back to the pan, including any juices that have accumulated.
- Increase heat to medium and toss until vegetables are lightly coated with tomato paste and heated through.
- Remove from heat and mix through 2 Tbl of basil.
- To serve, sprinkle with remaining basil and toasted sunflower seeds and grated parmesan.