This is the time of year when all the people who are fortunate enough to have gardens start wondering what to do with all the masses of vegetables they have harvested. Their kitchens are overrun with tomatoes, squash, zucchini, eggplants, peppers, corn, etc. They begin marathons of cooking, canning and freezing.
Well, I have no sympathy for them! 🙂
Seriously, I WISH that were my problem! I’m still trolling farmers markets and produce departments of supermarkets for my veggies. Having a garden or belonging to a CSA isn’t a possibility for me right now. But I’m not one to hold a grudge so here is a very simple but delicious recipe that will help people use up their eggplants, zucchini, squash and tomatoes (of course, they could also send them to me but…)
My Ratatouille Stew is so healthy, so filling, so low-calorie (a serving was only 2 points on the old Weight Watchers program) and so quick to make. Hearty, delicious vegetables like eggplant, bell peppers, zucchini and yellow squash are cooked in a rich garlicky tomato sauce with a salty and tangy kick from the red pepper flakes, capers and green olives. Chickpeas add a crunchy texture while also upping the nutrient value.
It’s also a versatile recipe. Want it to be a thick stew? Make it the way it’s written. Or turn it into a chunky, filling soup by adding a quart of low-sodium vegetable broth. Eat it on it’s own or serve it over rice, quinoa, millet or whatever your favorite whole grain is. Serve it over penne or spaghetti and it becomes an incredible pasta sauce.
I often double the recipe because leftovers taste even better as the flavors intensify over time. This is one of my favorite go-to meals when I don’t know what I want to make but need something fast and comforting. It’s also one of the recipes I turn to when I’m trying to make Pandora, my scale, happier.
However you decide to serve it, I guarantee you will love it. You can even make big batches of it and freeze it…if you gardeners have any room left in your freezer next to all your veggie bounties :).
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tbs. olive oil
2 medium bell peppers, any colors, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium eggplant, peeled and diced
1 medium zucchini, coarsely diced
1 medium yellow summer squash, coarsely diced
2 Tbs. green or Spanish Olives, sliced
2 Tbs. capers, drained
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
28-oz crushed tomatoes (or fresh); if you want it chunkier, use diced tomatoes or 14 oz. of each kind
1 Tbs. fresh parsley, chopped
15-oz canned chickpeas, drained & rinsed
Vegan grated parmesan (optional)
In a deep skillet or pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes in the oil until the garlic turns golden.
Add peppers, onion, eggplant, zucchini, squash, olives, capers, salt and pepper. Cover pot, reduce heat to medium low, and cook the veggies down, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant has softened, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Add tomatoes, parsley and chickpeas, and heat through. The longer you let it cook, the deeper the flavor will get.
Serve over whole grain pasta, brown rice, quinoa or millet. Top with vegan grated parmesan if desired.