Chickpea ratatouille

FINALLY.  A healthy recipe.  I made this several weeks ago and was in a big rush before my trip so didn’t really get to actually document it with very many photos, but it’s so good that I had to write about it anyway.  Like many of my favourite vegetarian recipes, the beauty with this one is in its utter simplicity.  Yes, it’s basically just roasted vegetables – but the particular traditional ratatouille combination of them just go so well together.  The colours and flavours and textures combine beautifully, and then add chickpeas for an additional protein boost and you’ve just got a detox dish extraordinaire.  (Something that was badly needed, I might add, after weeks of work travel followed by two weeks on vacation out of the country.)

The vegetables listed in the recipe below are really just a guide (for instance, I added mushrooms and loved it) but they do all go really well together.  You could use yellow squash as well, or green peppers – just make sure you get a nice assortment of colours so it can look pretty in addition to tasting delicious.  This is quite a comforting dish and it’s amazing how easily it comes together.  It’s great to make a big batch so you can have some for dinner and then refrigerate or freeze leftovers for lunch later.  The only time sink (sorry, consulting term) is in the prep of the vegetables, but once you have everything chopped, all you have to do is pop everything into the oven and you are set.  I recommend making a big batch, because you are going to want to have multiple servings of this one.

Chickpea ratatouille (adapted from 86 Lemons)

Ingredients (everything in pounds, just divide by two for rough approximation of kilograms…)

1 lb. small eggplant, cut into chunks
1 lb. Roma tomatoes, cored and chopped, or 1 can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 lb. zucchini, cut into large chunks
1 medium red or yellow onion, sliced
2 red or yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded, and sliced – I used one of each
5 cloves garlic, peeled and halved – for once I didn’t use minced garlic here – you definitely want the whole clove version
1 tsp. salt
Olive oil to taste (most recipes call for about 1/4 cup or even more, but I just used a tablespoon or so – honestly, a little can go a long way)
3 cups cooked or canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained – depending on how much you want you can use 1 or 2 cans
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme or rosemary, or ½ cup chopped fresh basil or parsley – you can get away with no fresh spices, but it does taste nicer if you have some fresh ones in there                                                                                                                                                                                   Several handfuls of sliced mushrooms if you so desire (I liked adding these)

Making this is so ridiculously easy it’s amazing.  The only work is in the preparation of chopping all the vegetables.  Once you’re done with that, there are essentially no steps.  Preheat your oven to 200 C / 425 F.  Combine all the vegetables and garlic in a large roasting pan.  I used two baking pans actually as I don’t really measure out veggies when I’m making something like this and thus just had a lot of vegetables.  Add the salt and olive oil to taste.  I like to add just enough olive oil drizzled over the top so that it will seep into some vegetables and then you can stir it through halfway through cooking.

Place the pans in the ovens and roast for about 30 minutes, until vegetables are lightly browned and tender, and water has released from the tomatoes to create a sauce (this will happen faster if you’re using canned tomatoes).  I like to take it out of the oven and stir about every 10 minutes. After about 30 minutes, stir in the chickpeas and roast 5 to 10 minutes more, until the chickpeas are heated through.  Remove from the oven and stir in your spices.  Season with additional sea salt and pepper if desired.  You can serve it hot, warm, or at room temperature, and put it in containers to freeze for later as well.

IMG_5901All the veggies in a pan before tossing with olive oil and putting in the oven

IMG_5902Draining the chickpeas

IMG_5904Remove the pan from the oven occasionally while cooking to stir everything around

IMG_5905Finished product after adding in the chickpeas

This recipe is SUCH a health win, particularly if you don’t use a lot of olive oil (most recipes call for way too much I think).  It’s hearty and filling and it also looks great with all the pretty different colours.  Furthermore, it actually freezes so well – I made a huge batch before I went on my most recent trip out of the country and it was great to be able to come back to some healthy meals waiting for me.  For those of you going into autumn, this really is the perfect recipe!

One year ago: Basic (or not) chocolate chip cookies – we could all do with a few more chocolate chip cookies in our lives, after all

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