The year was 2013, I had been married only a couple of months and was hosting this grand Thanksgiving for my in-laws. My mother-in-law is vegetarian as am I and so I wanted something special for a veggie dish at the table instead of roasted veggies.
No offense to roasted veggies, I love them. In fact I eat them all the time and therein lies the problem. I wanted something “fancy”, something different that I don’t have on any given night.
So I scoured the internet and landed upon this gorgeous picture of Ratatouille and thought, I can make this! And I did. It didn’t look so pretty but hey, that’s ok, I hoped it would taste delicious though. It was bland. There literally was no flavor profile to it and safe to say, both my mother-in-law and I were disappointed.
She was nice enough to pretend it was good but I couldn’t even do that!
So ever since, I’ve been on a mission to create a Ratatouille that has layers and dimensions of flavor. Safe to say, I think I found it!
Here’s the secret!
- Make a sauce that keeps everyone wanting to lick it off the plate
- Season the top of the veggies and not just with salt and pepper! With actual herbs!
- Make enough sauce so that veggies are half drenched in it and the rest will cook in the steam of the boiling sauce in the oven.
I have been playing with the recipe for a while now and when I made the final version, I was satisfied aesthetically. The question was, would my girls eat the eggplant in it?
Recently, they’ve become very finicky eaters and it can be a real struggle to feed them even their favorite foods sometimes. But they both ate all the veggies and I couldn’t have been a prouder Mama!
Try this out for your next Holiday dinner, weeknight surprise, or Sunday dinner. It’s easy to make ahead, stores in the fridge and freezer well and is fairly simple to make!
From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this delicious Ratatouille!
For the Veggies:
- 1 long Japanese eggplant, sliced in thin rounds, set in cold water to prevent browning
- 1 zucchini, sliced in thin rounds
- 3 Roma tomatoes, sliced in thin rounds
- 1 yellow squash, sliced in thin rounds
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp dried Basil
- 1 Tbsp dried Oregano
- 1 Tbsp dried Italian seasoning
- 1 Tbsp dried Parsley
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 3 Tbsp Avocado or Olive Oil
For the pasta sauce:
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, deseeded and diced
- 1 orange bell pepper, deseeded and diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 c fresh basil, chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
For the Pasta Sauce:
- On medium flame, heat oil in a deep saucepan.
- Add in the onions, carrots, and bell peppers and saute for about 7-8 minutes or until tender.
- Add in the garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
- Add in the salt, pepper, turmeric, cayenne pepper and Italian seasoning. Mix well and cook an additional minute.
- Add in the tomato sauce, and mix well to combine all of the elements.
- Remove from heat, add in the basil and mix.
- Transfer the sauce to an oven safe casserole dish.
- In an alternating pattern, layer the veggies on top of the sauce from outside edge to inner, until the dish is completely filled with veggies.
- In a bowl, combine the oil with garlic powder, dried basil, dried oregano, dried Italian seasoning, dried parsley, salt and pepper. Mix well.
- Using a pastry brush, coat the top of the veggies with the herb seasoning.
- Bake for 45 minutes or until the veggies are fork tender.
- Serve hot with your favorite bread!
The tools that I used to make this recipe are: