I've been eating this since I was a small child, so I guess you could say that it's a comfort food for me, and I still make it regularly and love it every time.
Last week I attended a seminar on Brain Health in Sydney. We had some terrific high level speakers, and clear theme across the seminar was the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, especially from an inflammatory perspective. As the science was being explained I kept thinking of Mum's Ratatouille, or French Vegetable Stew, that really ticks all of those Mediterranean diet boxes and a whole lot more.
Fast and Easy
It only takes a few minutes to roughly chop the few ingredients into bite-sized pieces, throw them all into one big stockpot on the stove and simmer them gently for about 20-30 minutes.
OMG! The mixture of the flavours in this just work so perfectly together. It livens up any meal that you serve it with.
If you have family members who think vegetables are boring and have no flavour, this will change their mind! So many of my clients have also become 'addicted' to this recipe because it's just soooo tasty.
As a small child I wasn't keen on the eggplant in it, but when my Mum made it without the eggplant it didn't taste as good, so it wasn't long before I learned to love that eggplant and the flavour it contributed.
There are so many ways that I love to use Ratatouille. Here are some for you to try:
As a vegetable side either on it's own or with some chopped green veg stirred through it (kale, spinach or even frozen peas work well)
Cold for a work lunch with half a tin of cannellini beans mixed through it, and a tin of tuna goes nicely too
As an easy pasta sauce served with fresh parmesan grated on top
As a nutritious snack to take the edge off your hunger, and to give your tastebuds the zing they're looking for
And if you have leftovers that need using (doesn't happen very often) they can be blended and made into a dip - perfect for taking to parties! Yum!
So here it is - My Mum's Ratatouille
1 whole eggplant, diced into bite-sized pieces
2-3 zucchini, sliced into chunks
1-2 red capsicum, cut into 2cm squares
2 onions, diced into bite-sized pieces
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
Dried oregano & dried chilli flakes (optional) – decent sprinkle
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt & pepper to taste
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Put the oil in a large saucepan (stockpot size) and add the onion, zucchini, eggplant, capsicum and garlic and sauté until starting to brown slightly.
Then add the sugar, salt, pepper, oregano and chilli flakes and stir well until all the veggies are coated.
Then add the tins of tomatoes, stir again and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Test some of the vegetable to check it’s cooked through, and ENJOY!
I hope you and your family and friends enjoy it as much as we do.
Yours in good health, Sally. :)
Accredited Practising Dietitian, Sally Marchini of Marchini Nutrition, has type 1 diabetes and coeliac disease herself and is passionate about supporting others with these and other chronic conditions. You can follow her on her Facebook pages Marchini Nutrition and Living with diabetes and coeliac disease, and in her closed support group Be Well Gluten Free, as well as on Twitter as @SallyMDietitian.