It’s that wonderful time of year when farmer’s markets are brimming with fresh produce.   I feel inspired when I come home with an armful of fresh organic veggies I don’t normally purchase in the winter months, veggies such as zucchini and eggplant.

Eggplant is not a favorite of many people.  It is kind of strange in it’s texture and is limited in it’s uses.  It can be made into an Eggplant Parmesan which is probably the most common recipe for it.  The other option is a big pot of Ratatouille of which I made this week and served on a bed of brown rice.  I added some canellini beans to the finished recipe to bump up the protein and fiber content.  It was delicious.

The word RATATOUILLE means stewed vegetables and originates in Nice, France.

RATATOUILLE  (all of my ingredients are organic and non-GMO)

2 small yellow onions, sliced thin

3 garlic cloves, minced

5 tablespoons of olive oil

3 cups eggplant, diced into bite size pieces

2 zucchini, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

2 cups Roma tomatoes, diced (could used canned diced if you don’t have fresh)

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried cilantro

1/2 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp salt – to taste

1 cup fresh basil, shredded

1 16 oz. can canellini beans, drained and rinsed

In a large pot with 2 tbsp of the olive oil, sauté onion and garlic until softened and fragrant.  Add remaining 3 tbsp of olive oil.  Add eggplant, stirring until softened about 5 minutes.  Then add diced zucchini and bell pepper.  Cook until softened about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in diced tomatoes and continue cooking and stirring for 5 minutes.  Then add herbs and salt and pepper to taste, stirring to combine.  Stir in fresh basil and beans, if using.  This dish can be made up to a day in advance.  We enjoyed it over brown rice with a side salad.  It was delicious and nutritious.  Something out of the ordinary in my kitchen.  We enjoyed it!

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