I often feel like I don’t get enough veggies in my diet, so I was thinking the other day about ways to incorporate veggies in a way that isn’t salad! I had an inspired idea, if I do say so myself, and remembered that Ratatouille is a completely vegetable dish. I looked at several recipes and most were the classic stew like dish hailing from the French countryside, which seemed a bit heavy for a summer dish. I kept looking and found some variations of the dish from the Disney movie, it seemed very easy, and incredibly simple! I made up my mind to go for it, and to make it my own.
I headed out to the farmers market Saturday morning to get the necessary ingredients, and to support the local farmers instead of mass retailers like Safeway. Plus I wanted to get some macaroons to make it a very French dinner! I grabbed some eggplant, and was able to find long thin ones that would help make the slices more even in shape, I also picked up zucchini, yellow squash, a green bell pepper and some vine ripe tomatoes.
All the recipes I looked at called for a can of tomato paste to line the bottom of your casserole dish, but I decided to just purée some tomatoes myself. If everything else was fresh, that should be too! So I tossed them into my food processor, then dumped it into the bottom of my dish. I seasoned with black pepper, garlic salt, and Italian seasoning, most of the recipes I looked at called for fresh garlic and onion too to be mixed in, but I forgot to pick those up! 🙂
After you get the base done, time to chop! And chop away I did, it took awhile, but eventually I ended up with a mound of produce, on my cutting board waiting to be put to use. When you slice everything up, make sure to keep them fairly uniform in size, and try to keep them thin. If you have a mandolin now would be a great time to break it out!
Then all you need to do is layer them around the casserole dish! I liked doing alternating colors, so I did purple, green, yellow, green, and repeate. You can stick them in any order you want and if you have a different color bell pepper it would add more color, I just did it this way for esthetic reasons. You want the veggies to almost completely overlap, so stack them tight! And just fill up the whole dish!
Then I covered it with more black pepper, garlic salt, Italian seasoning, and some parmesan cheese, and it was ready to bake!
The recipes again said to cover with parchment paper but my dish is not very deep so I just covers it with the glass lid, and stuck it in the over at 350 degrees and waited until it looked like it was done. I don’t follow directions well, so I pretty much did whatever I wanted for this whole adventure and it turned out great! I left it in for 30/40 minutes, and cooked some brown rice in the meantime, and I had a complete meal.
I had a white wine spritzer with it to add to my classy affair! 🙂
And ended with a desert of chocolate macaroons!
For everyone that wants to add more veggies to their diet try this out, it was very tasty, and so easy to do, it took about 10 minutes prep and only one cooking dish! That’s what I call easy clean up! If you have any questions ask!
1 yellow squash
1 bell pepper