I am always looking for new and varied ways to eat veggies.
I absolutely love eating pasta, but sometimes, well… You just feel like something else!
This recipe is the perfect one to make when you crave pasta, but without pasta.
For those not familiar with Ratatouille, it is a «French Provencal stewed vegetable dish» (thanks Wikipedia) using Tomatoes as a foundation and all sorts of Mediterranean vegetables and herbs. You find many different recipes depending on countries, region or just family tradition.
I personally use four ingredients as a base: Tomatoes, Onions, Eggplants and Zucchinis.
Then simply add whatever is in the fridge… This time, it was Red Capsicum and Carrots.
In French Cuisine, “Ratatouille” is traditionally used as a side dish or “accompagnement” (French word of the Day), but I like to make it the (vegetarian) star of the plate.
Yesterday, I used some leftover Rice with it, but have also tried to mix it with Quinoa and it was delicious! You can also use it as a sauce with pasta, of course, or more simply as a side dish with meat, poultry or fish.
The recipe below is for a “Sauce” use, as it is more liquid. To make it a side dish, just let it simmer until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
I made a big batch, a froze half of it. It is always great to have something like that in the freezer for lazy days!
«Almost a Tomato Sauce» Ratatouille:
- 1 diced Eggplant (medium or large)
- 2 diced Zucchinis (small or medium)
- 1 chopped Brown Onion
- 2 chopped Carrots
- 1 diced Tomato
- 1 diced Red Capsicum
- 2 cans of diced Tomatoes (I like to make my own tomato sauce, but you can also use some pre-made tomato sauce from the supermarket)
- Chopped Fresh Basil leaves (to taste), plus a few full leaves for presentation
- Spices: Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Stock Powder (or cube), Cumin, Dry Oregano
Use the spices that you have, and like; this is only an indication!
- Pour Olive Oil (about 2 tablespoons) to a large saucepan on a medium heat.
Add 1 tbsp. of Stock Powder (or 1 cube) and 1 tbsp. of Garlic Powder.
Let it infuse in the olive oil for a few seconds, then add the chopped Onion.
- When the Onions start becoming translucent (about 2 min), add the chopped Eggplant. Let it simmer for a few of minutes, then add the chopped Carrots.
Tip: It is important to follow this order if you want all the veggies to be cooked nicely, as they all require different cooking times. You want some of them to be soft and others to be still crunchy!
- Pour the two Cans of Diced Tomatoes in the saucepan, and mix well.
Tip: I like to use cans of dices tomatoes (or cans of full tomato, blended) because it contains a lot of tomato liquid and the tomatoes are already soft; perfect to make a tomato sauce! You can also use pre-made tomato sauce instead.
- Add half of the Chopped Basil Leaves, Salt, Cumin, Dry Oregano and more Garlic Powder – or any other spice you choose.
Tip: Pepper tends to become a bit bitter if put in too early, so keep it for later!
- Lower the heat and let it simmer for about 10 minutes, until the tomato liquid starts reducing. If you are looking to make a more “liquid” sauce, reduce that simmering time. If you want a traditional Ratatouille, leave it simmering until all reduced.
- Add the chopped Red Capsicum and chopped Tomato. Mix well.
- Let it simmer for another 5 minutes, then add the chopped Zucchinis.
Let it cook for 3 to 5 minutes, then remove from the heat.
The Zucchinis should be cooked, but still crunchy
- Add the rest of the chopped Basil Leaves, and season with Salt and Pepper.
- Serve on Rice, Quinoa, Pasta (or whatever you feel like/have in your pantry) and had a few fresh Basil Leaves for presentation.Enjoy!