What do you think of when you hear ratatouille?
That cute Pixar movie with the musical rat? He was musical, right?
I’m not going to lie, that’s what pops into my head first but when I think about ratatouille a little more in-depth, my imagination begins to drift to Provence. Cobblestone streets lined with shops full of art and antiques. Open air markets flourishing with fresh produce, olives, spices, and lavender. Colorful buildings perched alongside the bright blue Mediterranean Sea. Everything about it just seems so romantic.
If you’re not familiar with ratatouille, it’s a traditional Provençal vegetable stew made with eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers and a mixture of fresh herbs known as herbs de Provence.
You can buy the herbs dried in the spice section of the grocery store and it’s usually a combination of savory, marjoram, rosemary, thyme and oregano. However, several of the brands I came across included other ingredients such as fennel which I’m personally not a fan of so I decided to make my own blend using the ones listed above with the addition of fresh basil because my basil plant is growing out of control.
Feel free to use whatever fresh or dry herbs that suit your preferences, just make sure you use plenty of them. That is where the majority of the flavor comes from in this dish so don’t be shy!
I know ratatouille doesn’t fit in with football food or a back-to-school snack (which I planned to share today but unfortunately I had a fig bar failure over the weekend), but it is a comforting and nourishing meal that’s perfect for the summer to fall transition. You can use up all of the leftover vegetables and still keep warm as the cool fall air starts to roll in.
Our days here have been pretty warm still but as soon as the sun starts to set, it drops into the low 60’s (Fahrenheit) and feels incredible.
Hopefully that cool air starts to roll in for you soon too so that you get a chance warm up with a hearty bowl of ratatouille!
1 cup dry quinoa, cooked*
1 large eggplant or 2 small, diced
4 large tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 red bell peppers, cored and diced
2 zucchini, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
herbs de Provence to taste**
salt & pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
- In a large skillet, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and sauté until fragrant. Toss in the eggplant and continue to cook for about five more minutes.
- Next add the red pepper, zucchini and tomatoes along with the herbs and salt & pepper to taste. Lower heat to a simmer and then cover and cook for about 30 minutes.
- Serve over hot over a bed of quinoa and enjoy!
*Click here for instructions on how to cook quinoa
**you can buy dried herbs de Provence or make your own combination using fresh and dried. I recommend smelling and tasting as you go to determine if you prefer more or less herbs. I used at least 1 tablespoon of dried and 3-4 tablespoons fresh herbs.