The French Really Know Their Veggies!!
This rustic, hearty, make-ahead combination of vegetables is a perfect fall and winter side dish or entrée.
A classic French Ratatouille uses a mix of eggplant, zucchini, squash and tomato seasoned with Herbs de Provence to create a wonderful, flavorful stew that can be served with crusty bread or over buttered white rice or couscous or even piled on crispy garlic bread. My version only takes about 45 minutes and creates a chunky, scrumptious dish but you can simmer it a little longer for a silkier cooked down version.
What I love most about Ratatouille is that you can really BE BRAVE about the flavors. If you don’t have Herbs de Provence, you can substitute any blend of Italian seasonings, or just use some fresh thyme and finish with chopped basil. You can also play with the combination of veggies. This recipe uses the classic mélange, and some would say it’s not ratatouille without tomatoes and eggplant, but have fun experimenting.
If you follow the proportions below, you can cook it all in one large pot. If you choose to double the recipe, I would cook the vegetables separately in batches and then combine them into one large pot when adding the tomatoes so that the vegetables brown and caramelize versus steaming when you are sautéing them.
This is a great warm, winter entrée or side dish, that is vegan, gluten free and dairy free, so make it often this winter and let your tastebuds take a trip to France.
2-3 tablespoons Provencal Herb Extra Virgin Olive Oil *
1 shallot, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium eggplant, cubed
1 zucchini, cubed
1 yellow squash, cubed
1 red bell pepper, chopped
½ poblano pepper, chopped (optional)
1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeño, deseeded and chopped (more for additional heat, to your taste)
1 ½ teaspoons Herbs de Provence *
2 tablespoon parsley, chopped for garnish
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
Splash of Pomegranate vinegar *
Heat a skillet on medium high heat. Add the oil to the hot pan. Sauté the shallots and garlic till translucent and aromatic but not browned.
Add the red pepper and poblano pepper (if using) and sauté 2-3 minutes. Then add in the zucchini, squash, and eggplant and cook another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
After the vegetables have started to color slightly, add in the tomatoes and jalapeño cooking till the tomato mixes in and starts to cook down (3-4 minutes).
Season with the Herbs de Provence and cook for an additional 12-15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and add a splash of Pomegranate vinegar and cook another 2-3 minutes
Allow the ratatouille to sit for 15-20 minutes in a warm place to allow the flavors to meld and serve garnished with fresh thyme and minced parsley.
Total Time: 45 minutes
* The fused flavored Provencal Herb EVOO adds an additional layer of herby flavor to the dish, but you can substitute a good quality unflavored extra virgin olive oil too.
* Herbs de Provence is a wonderful blend of a variety of herbs – usually savory, marjoram, thyme, basil, rosemary, tarragon, oregano and lavender. You can create your own version, buy a high-quality mix or use a combination of your favorite dried herbs instead.
* I love the flavor of the Pomegranate vinegar, but you can substitute with a splash of a sherry vinegar, champagne vinegar or any red wine vinegar instead.
Categories: Snacks & Sides, Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Ratatouille, French, Squash, Zucchini, Eggplant, Red Pepper, Herbs de Provence, Pomegranate Vinegar, Provencal Herb EVOO, Mediterranean Diet, Plant Based Meal, Vegetarian Entertaining,