My mom began making ratatouille when I was a young girl, and I remember it was unlike anything she usually served and I wasn’t really sure if it was supposed to be a side dish, a condiment, filling, or topping. Turns out that this lovely stew is all of the above and more.
I have grown to adore this dish, and along the way learned that ratatouille is a traditional French vegetable sauté that originated in Nice.
It usually involves simmering together late-summer vegetables with savory herbs; however sometimes it’s baked in the oven as a casserole. This richly flavored stew can be served in every imaginable manner – including over pasta, mixed with rice, or spread over grilled bread…but that’s only the beginning.
Traditionally you may see eggplant in this – and feel free. My mom did not, and maybe that’s why I do the same.
However, my recipe does include the essentials – sautéed onions and garlic, sliced zucchini, bell peppers, tomatoes, and herbs. I omit the olive oil typically found in ratatouille, but I don’t think you will miss it one bit.
Ratatouille is aromatic, light, and fresh, and wonderful with (and over) just about everything…which brings me to my newest obsession – ratatouille over mashed potatoes, on personal sized flatbread pizzas. These are soooo good. I can eat two at one time.
Just smother Ezekiel tortillas (or whole-grain flatbread) with leftover mashed potatoes, and top with this scrumptious ratatouille. Bake until golden and bubbly, and serve immediately.
RATATOUILLE FLATBREAD PIZZA
Serves one or two people
1 1/2 cups ratatouille* (recipe below)
1 1/2 cups mashed potatoes** (my method is below)
2 sprouted whole-grain tortillas (such as Ezekiel)
Garnish: fresh basil
Preheat oven (or toaster oven) to 400 degrees.
Place whole grain tortillas or flatbreads onto a baking sheet. Slather with a thick layer of mashed pototoes.
Top the potatoes with the ratatouille, and sprinkle fresh basil over the ratatouille.
Bake flatbread pizzas for approximately 10 to 12 minutes, or until the edges begin to turn crispy and golden brown, and the center is hot and bubbling. Remove from oven, and serve hot.
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 to 3 zucchinis, quartered lengthwise, and thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 15-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 or 2 pinches cayenne pepper
handful of fresh basil
salt and black pepper, to taste
To make the ratatouille, in a large hot skillet, add onions and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until they begin to brown. Add a bit of water to avoid sticking to the pan.
Once the onions begin to brown, add the garlic. Continue to cook for a minute or less. Then stir in the zucchini and bell peppers. Mix in the tomatoes and cayenne pepper, and toss gently to combine. Cover and allow all of the vegetables to simmer together until tender. Then remove cover, finish with fresh basil, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve immediately, or set aside to use over Ratatouille Flatbread Pizza.
** Mashed Potatoes
2 Yukon Gold potatoes
soy milk, plain unsweetened
dash of onion powder
coarsely ground black pepper
To make the mashed potatoes, peel and chop potatoes. Place potatoes in a pot of water, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and continue to simmer until tender. Drain potatoes, and mash until creamy with soy milk and seasonings, to taste. Serve hot, or set aside to use over Ratatouille Flatbread Pizza.