High Summer Roasted Ratatouille

When I visited the farmer’s market a couple weekends ago, I was surprised to find eggplants. Usually they are only spotted in late August. At the same stand were tomatoes, zucchini, and onion, so my mind immediately dreamt of roasted ratatouille. It is one of my favorite meals, and I thought I could only enjoy it in late summer. Until now, that is.

The concept is very simple, and the result is way better than you could expect. I think you’d have to like eggplant though. Some people don’t, I understand, but I love it roasted. That’s my go-to plan for every vegetable I’m not sure what to do with: roast it!

Heat oven to 400°F.

To a large bowl add a tablespoon of minced onion, a tablespoon of tomato paste, 1/4 cup oil of choice, 5 minced garlic cloves, a heaping teaspoon of salt, pepper to taste, and some fresh or dried thyme.

Then add to the bowl 2 cups of sliced eggplant. Mine were the thin, long kind so they did not need to be diced at all. Also add 2 cups sliced zucchini, 1 large diced onion, and 1 cup of chopped tomatoes. You might be able to tell I added a few chili peppers into the mix to make it more spicy, but that’s totally optional.

Mix everything in the bowl to ensure all vegetables are coated.

Place onto a baking tray into a single layer and bake for 45 – 55 minutes, stirring occasionally. I like to use a silicone mat for roasting. I have this one,  that’s really for pie, and just fold it in half for the large baking tray.

Near the end of the bake time boil water for pasta. I chose spaghetti, but it wasn’t really a choice as that’s the only pasta I had on hand. I get it at WinCo in the bulk section in my own bag. 🙂

Top the spaghetti with the roasted ratatouille and garnish with fresh basil and parsley. Optional to sprinkle with parmesan and / or pine nuts depending on how you’re feeling that day. I apparently didn’t want either of those this time.

The fresh herbs were from my garden, which made this meal mostly local! Food from Idaho is decidedly not boring. Oh, and I made that bowl with my own hands. 🙂

Please let me know if you make this meal and if you become as obsessed with it as I am!

Peace and love,

Kristan

Fennel Frond Pesto

This is not my invention, but I definitely am willing to partake in as well as share this yumminess.

Fennel frond pesto! Who would have thought! I have a patch of fennel that continuously comes back in my perennial garden bed. It easily reseeds itself, and the sweet smell of fennel is welcome any day. I have an abundance of fronds, and had saved this “recipe” for an idea on what to do with these heavenly leaves.

img_9462

I chose to do a variation which I often do when making pesto. Instead of parmesan and pine nuts, I use nutritional yeast and walnuts. I typically have nutritional yeast on hand, it can be found in the bulk section, and I like the flavor. Walnuts are easier to come by than pine nuts as well, and I have those more often than pine nuts.

How to make fennel frond pesto:

  • 2.5 loose cups of fennel fronds
  • 2 – 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnuts
  • 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Add ingredients in that order to a blender / food processor / chopper. Whir away, scraping down sides if needed.

Transfer to a refrigerator dish.

I enjoyed this on some crackers, and it was extra special.

I think this is a wonderful alternative pesto for when basil is not in season. My fennel pops up early in spring so this is a more practical solution for when I want to make pesto.

This will definitely be part of my regular rotation.

It’s so beautiful and green!

This would be excellent on a spring inspired pizza, regular pasta, as a veggie dip, and toast.

Peace and love,

Kristan