As spring turns into summer, vegetables begin to overflow at farmer’s markets. You’ll find baskets and baskets of brightly colored tomatoes, at the peak of their tasty lives, as well as yellow squash, zucchini, and eggplant. If you, like me, tend to get excited and buy more veggies than you can use, or if you’ve ambitiously planted a garden and will soon be overrun with vegetable deliciousness– listen up! This recipe for Ratatouille Tian is a perfect way to include lots of different vegetables into a single dish. It’s filling, adaptable, and delicious.
Traditionally, ratatouille is a French vegetable stew, usually filled with eggplant, tomato, zucchini, and peppers. Thanks to a certain cartoon mouse named Remy, however, we’ve all come to expect a much prettier ratatouille. And why not?! Anytime food can be made prettier without losing flavor, I say that’s a win. Technically, Remy’s fancy-pants ratatouille was a tian (a different French veggie dish), but we won’t let that stop us from serving our own drop-dead gorgeous vegetable creation.
Making Ratatouille Tian
I love this Ratatouille Tian because, not only is it full of healthful veggies, but it’s also incredibly versatile. Are you out of eggplant? That’s okay! Skip it. Is your pantry overflowing with zucchini and tomatoes, but you’ve run out of bell pepper? No worries! All you really need is a tomato sauce base, herbs, sliced tomatoes, and more sliced vegetables. Feel free to substitute the veggies you have on hand for the ones in the recipe, just make sure you have enough to cover the tomato sauce. I like for my ratatouille to be pretty, so I layer my vegetables concentrically. I think it’s easiest to start at the outside edge, and then work in toward the center. Roast this gorgeous veggie dish about 40 minutes, serve with couscous or French bread, and dig in!
Presentation doesn’t effect taste, but I like to make this dish as pretty as possible:
- If you’re comfortable using a kitchen mandoline, it will help you slice the veggies thinly and evenly– giving your finished dish a more uniform look. Personally, I am far too clumsy for a mandoline.
- After you finish layering vegetables, take any extra veggies and fill in wherever you see the need.
- Since I layer from the outside towards the inside, I end in the center. I usually try to end my layering process by arranging some of the thinnest slices into a center ‘flower’– to do this, take the thinnest slices you have, and try to spiral them. Sometimes I cut tomato slices in half horizontally and add those to the ‘flower.’
Still have bowls and bowls of veggies to use? Check out these recipes:
- 2 cups (1 14oz jar) tomato sauce
- 1 TB olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2-3 tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 1 zucchini, thinly sliced
- 1 yellow squash, thinly sliced
- 1 eggplant, thinly sliced (optional)
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- fresh basil, oregano
- salt, pepper
- For serving: couscous or crusty white bread, and goat cheese or vegan parmesan to sprinkle over (cheese optional)
Preheat oven- 400F°
If using eggplant, lightly salt both sides of eggplant slices, and layer slices in a colander. Set colander in the sink, cover with a towel or paper towels, and set something heavy on top (like a glass mixing bowl). Let sit for at least 15 minutes (or up to an hour).
Pour tomato sauce into the bottom of a medium-size baking dish. Add 1 TB oil, and generous amounts of basil and oregano. Add salt and pepper. Scatter diced onion, and bell pepper on top of the sauce.
Gather your sliced veggies (tomato, zucchini, yellow squash, and eggplant). Beginning at the outer edge of the baking dish, start layering the veggies concentrically towards the center. Top with more herbs. Cover with parchment paper, and roast about 40 minutes. Vegetables should be wilted but not brown.
Serve ratatouille with couscous or crusty bread, and goat cheese or vegan parmesan (cheeses optional).
Recipe adapted from SmittenKitchen.com