Ratatouille

It's not every day you get to recreate a Disney film in your kitchen. I've said before that I get the cooking itch, and one evening I was baking some holiday pies when I realized I needed to use up some veggies in my fridge. Zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms...wait a minute, I hadn't seen a certain cartoon about a rat chef in a while...it was ratatouille time.

I've always enjoyed eggplant and squash, even making a noodle free lasagna with layers of vegetables in place of pasta (if you haven't done this, you are missing out). Despite this, the Disney film had me convinced that ratatouille was a bland dish, as many characters seem unimpressed when ratatouille is discussed. In hindsight, that is likely because this is more of a traditional side item, just one that I am unfamiliar with. I don't honestly think I had even heard of it before watching the film several years ago.


It was a fairly basic recipe, surprisingly. I guess that little rat chef had me thinking that some extra skills were required to pull this off. I took some chopped onion, garlic, and tomatoes and spooned it into the bottom of a baking dish to start. Then I layered in the slices of eggplant, yellow squash, zucchini, and mushrooms, and sweet peppers, keeping it as neat as possible.


Fresh veggies are so brightly colored and pretty! I had quite a few extra slices, so I wound up making a second casserole with some seasonings to use them up. Also, zucchini and yellow squash slices make great "chips" for dipping in hummus.


After the layering was complete, I poured some avocado oil over the top to prevent the vegetables from burning. I then sprinkled on some crushed thyme, crushed red pepper (always!), garlic salt, and white pepper before baking the dish for 45 minutes.


Bland is definitely not the word I would use for this! I actually really enjoyed it a lot. Being a big marinara fan to begin with, the tomato base added a flavor to the vegetables that hit me well. This is a very basic dish to make and makes a pretty plate. I almost didn't want to destroy the pattern when it came time to try it, but I found the strength within myself to make the sacrifice. Now what other movies can I steal food from?

Ratatouille Recipe

Ingredients:

1 small eggplant
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
8 ounces slced mushrooms
1 sweet pepper
6 ounces crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/3 cup chopped onion
2-3 tablespoons avocado oil
2 teaspoons ground thyme
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon white pepper

Instructions:

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Cut eggplant, zucchini, and squash into slices approx 1/8" to 1/4" thick. Spray a large casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray, then add crushed tomatoes, garlic, and chopped onion. Layer slices of eggplant, zucchini, squash, mushrooms, and sweet peppers, arranging each in a row. Repeat until casserole is full. Drizzle avocado oil over the vegetables, then sprinkle thyme, crushed red pepper, garlic salt, and white pepper over the top. Bake for 45 minutes, until vegetables are soft.

inspired by ratatouille

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