In summer months, there’s nothing better than throwing your farmers’ market bounty on the grill. And with the arrival of cool weather, a steaming bowl of roasted-veggie-packed stew hits the spot. But what about the in-between months (AKA now), when your counter is still piled with late-summer produce, but it’s chilly enough for a cozy sweatshirt?
The solution comes in the form of a delicious update on a classic French dish: grilled vegetable ratatouille. Crisp, slightly charred zucchini, bell pepper, and eggplant are a throwback to summer grilling on the deck, while stewed tomatoes, caramelized onion, and lentils are basically heartiness in a bowl.
This recipe comes from whole-food OG Sarah Britton, the self-taught chef behind addictive food site My New Roots. Also a cookbook author, Britton fills her blog with plant-based recipes—and accompanying #foodporn-quality photos—that are sometimes vegan and other times vegetarian (but always delicious), so we can happily skip the labels and make real food a real thing every night of the week.
Fire up the grill and keep reading for the recipe.
3/4 cup black or du Puy lentils (about 1 1/2 cup cooked or 1 can), optional
1 large red onion
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp fine grain sea salt
4 cloves garlic
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 pint mixed large tomatoes
2 14 oz. cans whole tomatoes
4 slices lemon
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 large eggplant
2 red, yellow, or orange bell peppers
2 small green zucchini
1 small yellow zucchini
Generous handful fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
Small handful fresh oregano leaves
5 sprigs of fresh thyme
Cold-pressed olive oil for garnish
Crusty wholegrain sourdough bread or toast, for serving, optional
1. If possible, soak the lentils overnight or for up to 12 hours. Drain, rinse, and place in a pot and cover with about 2 inches fresh, cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until tender—about 10-15 minutes if you’ve soaked them or about 20 minutes if un-soaked. Drain any excess water and set aside. If using canned lentils, simply drain, rinse, and set aside.
2. While the lentils are cooking, prepare the ratatouille base: slice the onion into thick rings and add them to a large saucepan with the coconut oil and salt. Once the oil has melted, stir to coat the onions and let them cook, stirring occasionally until the onions have lightly caramelized, about 15 minutes. Mince the garlic and add it to the onions, cook for a couple minutes until fragrant. Add the canned tomatoes and use the back of a large spoon to crush them up a little.
3. Roughly chop the large tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, leaving a few of the cherry tomatoes whole. Add all of the tomatoes to the pot and stir to combine. Add the lemon slices and balsamic vinegar, bring to a low simmer and cook covered while you grill the vegetables.
4. Preheat your grill to medium-high. Slice the eggplant and zucchini into rounds and slice the peppers in half then remove the seeds. Place the vegetables on the grill and close the lid. Cook for 5-7 minutes until the underside has slight grill marks. Flip and continue to grill on the other side until the vegetables are tender but not mushy. Let cool slightly, then roughly chop into bite-sized pieces.
5. Add the grilled vegetables to the pot along with the lentils, basil, oregano, and thyme. Taste and add salt and freshly cracked black pepper to suit your taste. Stir well, bring to a simmer and let cook for about five minutes. Divide ratatouille among bowls. Drizzle generously with olive oil, garnish with basil, and serve hot with crusty bread.
Looking for something sweet to top off your dinner? These gluten-free strawberry-oat bars will melt in your mouth. Or if you have more of a chocolate tooth, this gluten-free banana-chocolate marble teacake should do the trick.
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