I love going to the markets and seeing the spring and summer produce slowly appear. Every year, when summer turns to winter, I miss the abundance of fruit and vegetables that are in their prime but after a few months, it’s easy to forget what a good tomato looks like. Now that peppers, zucchini, and tomatoes are back and super cheap, I feel like my dinners would be lost without them. While there is nothing better or fresher-tasting than crunching into a whole red pepper or a lightly salted tomato sometimes it’s nice to have a warm, hearty meal. In fact, there’s nothing more satisfying than applying a little bit of heat, some herbs and spices, and coaxing the best, freshest produce into an easy, weeknight dinner in under half an hour. That’s exactly what this spring ratatouille is.
The past couple of days in Calgary have been pretty hot. For some reason though I decided that I would cook like a crazy person on both days, using the oven and stove to their full potential. I made granola, quinoa taco meat, vegan chocolate mousse, and this ratatouille. As I stood in my un-airconditioned apartment I didn’t feel like the brightest person but now I am pretty glad to have so much delicious food hanging around for lunch, snacks and dinner the rest of the week.
This is the type of meal that comes together in no time at all. All of the flavours sit together for a short time, allowing the vegetables to soften up (but not overcook) and release some juices so that there is a bit of a sauce. Stirring in fresh herbs and spinach at the end lifts the whole dish, I especially love the basil in it (yes, I have kept my basil plant alive for a whole year). I’ve also been getting this delicious goat’s milk feta that will feature prominently in the next recipe up here but I couldn’t resist cutting off a little slice and crumbling it over this bowl. It adds a salty punch that is very welcome but you can leave it off if you’d like to keep this vegan or feta isn’t your thing. This ratatouille is also perfect for a potluck since it’s great at room temperature, checks the boxes for a lot of food restrictions, is cheap to make in bulk, and is absolutely delicious. This ratatouille is perfect for a night where there is a bit of a fresh breeze in the air and you’re in the mood for something a little more hearty but still light and full of seasonal produce.
In a small pot, over medium heat, add a splash of olive oil.
Saute garlic and onions, until they begin to soften (2-3 minutes)
Add zucchini, bell peppers, tomato, bay leaf, thyme and season with salt and pepper. Saute, covered for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables have started to soften and the tomato has broken down to create a bit of a sauce, stirring every couple of minutes.
Stir in spinach, basil and parsley and cook for another 2 minutes.
Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Serve with crumbled feta (optional)
Spring Ratatouille was last modified: June 7, 2016 by