Wellness Wednesday: Roasted Ratatouille

Bonjour brothers and sisters! I hope that this Wednesday finds you well! I started my day with my typical run; however, I incorporated five minutes of body-scanning based mindfulness meditation into the end of my typical dynamic stretching warm-up.

I'm not saying that meditation made the clouds look pretty, but it certainly put me in a more receptive state to their beauty
I’m not saying that meditation made the clouds beautiful, but it certainly put me in a more receptive state to their beauty.

I’ve been attempting to meditate every day. I’m calling it: Serene September, a meditation challenge.IMG_4996I’m three-for-three so far, and I believe I am already reaping some benefits. At the beginning of Tuesday’s tempo run some typical negative thoughts bubbled up in my consciousness (like: “UGH this is HARD” or “I have HOW many miles left!?”). Surprisingly, I found that I was easily able to let those thoughts go and find my flow. I had a great workout. I’m going to keep with my practice and see if I cant observe other benefits as we slide through September.

Maybe meditation will make me more balanced?
The jury’s out on whether it will help my hair

I’m excited to share another Wellness Wednesday recipe post with you this week! I haven’t written a recipe in a while, but I hope I can make it up to you with this delicious dish. Today we’ll be putting together a roasted vegetable ratatouille with quinoa and chickpeas. I’m putting a smoky spin on a traditional Provençale dish. The recipe is a great way to celebrate the flavors of end-of-summer produce. This dinner also happens to be totally vegan, and gluten free.  I wasn’t setting out to make this meal meatless, things just kind of came together that way. I predict that you could serve this dish to any confirmed carnivore and they wouldn’t complain about the lack of animal protein. Are you ready to get cooking?

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Gather your cast of characters. We will need:

1 Eggplant

1 Zucchini

2 Bell peppers

1 Yellow onion

3 Garlic cloves

4 Roma tomatoes

Salt, Pepper, Olive oil

½ tsp each: thyme, basil, oregano

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First we are going to roast our red bell peppers. Set the peppers right underneath a high broiler. Roast them for three to five minutes on each side. You want the skin to blacken, so it’s OK if you space out for a while and forget to check on them. Let these beauties feel the burn!

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While the peppers are roasting, start breaking down the rest of the vegetables. Slice the eggplant into one-inch cubes.

Slice first, then dice
Slice first, then dice

Collect your eggplant cubes in a bowl, drizzle them with two tablespoons of olive oil.

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I’m getting better at these action shots!

Add salt and pepper, then mix everything together.

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Those peppers probably could stand to be turned over by now, go check on them and then let’s focus on our tomatoes. Cut the tomatoes in half and arrange them on a foil-lined baking sheet.

IMG_4549Spread the eggplant cubes out next to the tomatoes and slide everything into the oven underneath the broiler.IMG_4550While the vegetables are roasting, chop the onion and garlic.IMG_4553

Have I ever told you about the easiest way to chop onions? This technique is GREAT. I used to think that chopping onions was a time-consuming, eye-watering, pain-in-the-ass. Then I realized I that I was doing it wrong. The correct (and totally simple) way to chop onions is laid out in my favorite holy text: Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.”

"Bless us Saint Julia. May our soufflés soar, our wine pour, and our meals be merry"
Bless us, and our kitchens

Start by halving your onion lengthwise, and cutting off the top. Remove the skin, but LEAVE THE ROOT ATTACHED! The root helps hold everything together. Slice parallel lines of longitude extending almost all the way (but not quite) to the root.IMG_4554Now rotate the onion 90 degrees and cut latitude lines, perpendicular to the first slices. IMG_4555-0As the incisions intersect the onion will fall apart into so many perfectly-diced pieces. That wasn’t hard, now, was it? Cooking is fun!

IMG_4556-0With the onion is perfectly prepared, warm a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. I love my dutch oven for this purpose, but a big stock pot would work too.

Hello, lover
Hello, Lover.

Now is probably a good time to check on your  veggies, and give them a quick turn. IMG_4558-0Those peppers look perfectly blackened and blistered! Remove the peppers from the oven. Add them to the same bowl you mixed up the eggplant in (you don’t even have to wash it, I won’t tell).IMG_4559Cover the bowl with plastic wrap to trap the steam. Let the peppers stew in their own steam for about five minutes. IMG_4560-0 Your pot is probably pre-heated. Film the bottom with roughly two tablespoons of olive oil, then add the onions and garlic.

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Add salt, pepper, and the herbs to the alliums. Cook until the onions begin to turn translucent.

IMG_4564As the onions soften, process your peppers. The steam-bath should allow you to slip the charred skins right off.

Don't you regret shelling out seven bucks far a jar of these in the store when it's so easy to make them at home?
Don’t you regret shelling out seven bucks far a jar of these in the store when it’s so easy to make them at home?

Scrape out the seeds and slice the peppers into strips.

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Do the hokey-pokey, turn yourself about, then dice the roasted red peppers.

IMG_4577The onions and garlic are probably perfect. Slice the summer squash into half-moons and add it to the alliums. I’m not including a picture of slicing the zucchini because I trust that you, my gentle readers, are clever enough to figure out how to do that on your own. Also because I am a space cadet and forgot to TAKE a picture of the process. Cook the mixture over medium heat for a few minutes until the zucchini begins to soften. IMG_4579

Remove your lusciously roasted, beautifully blackened vegetables from the oven.

Come to papa!
Come to papa!

Dump the vegetables and the roasted red peppers into the pot. Mix everything together, turn the heat down to low, cover the pot and simmer for 20 minutes. IMG_4584

Ratatouille is a delicious vegetable dish, full of fresh flavors and phytonutrients. However, this little runner requires some carbohydrates and protein along with every meal. While my ratatouille reduced, I decided to throw together a quick-and-easy combination of quinoa and chickpeas to round out my dinner. IMG_4568-0

One serving of quinoa (1/4 cup) has 7 grams of protein and 32 grams of high quality carbohydrates. Adding 1/2 cup of garbanzo beans to the party brings along another 7 grams of protein, and 22 grams of carbohydrates (and 6 grams of fiber). Both of these foods are naturally high in iron and antioxidants. The grain/legume combo is a great way to pack in the protein if you are a plant-based person.

They also happen to taste delicious
They also happen to taste delicious

After my quinoa cooked, and my ratatouille reduced, I assembled my delicious dinner. This recipe made enough ratatouille for two servings (but could easily be scaled up) The giant salad on the side is optional. The religious iconography is necessary. IMG_4597Happy cooking campers! Have a delicious week!

 

8 thoughts on “Wellness Wednesday: Roasted Ratatouille

    1. Intriguing idea! I love caramelized onions, but I worry that their sweetness could overpower the rest of the dish. If you do try it I might add some extra acidity (maybe a hit of lemon juice at the end) and have a heavy hand with the salt to balance everything out. I’d love to hear how it turns out.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m so happy to have stumbled upon your fantastic blog! Amazing to hear about the concept of ‘wellness Wednesdays’ – how glorious. I absolutely love your variation of ratatouille & your photos are fantastic. Also glad to see the addition of garbanzo beans (we call them chickpeas in England!) – you might be interested in my variation of ratatouille (with a Moroccan twist!) :) http://goodfoodmarsh.wordpress.com/2014/07/18/moroccan-ratatouille/

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  2. I’ve been slacking on the Wellness Wednesday recipes lately! I have to get my narrow behind back in the kitchen. I love your idea of the moroccan twist–those are such great flavors. Your photos are BEAUTIFUL. Thanks for stopping by my blog, I will definitely have to try out a few of your recipes!

    Like

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