Pardon us but summer isn’t always about grilling. While we always love ourselves a good cookout, we’d like to pay homage to some of our favorite summer vegetables this week instead. This season has some of the very best produce to enjoy from succulent organic zucchini to red, ripe organic Roma tomatoes and much more. Many of these vegetables are best enjoyed unadorned, allowing their natural flavors to shine through. When it comes to how we can make this magic happen, a traditional ratatouille comes to mind. This is a traditional French-style, peasant recipe that features colorful, vibrant layers of sliced vegetables spread across a bed of savory tomato sauce. Cooking the vegetables in the oven slow roasts them while the parchment paper on top helps to steam them, keeping them moist and succulent during the cooking process and trapping in all of its wonderful flavors. The recipe is somewhat simple, albeit a little time consuming if you want to arrange it in the fashion shown above. However, one bite of this dish and you’ll agree with us that it’s well worth the effort! The result is a comforting, home-style summer casserole that’s both vegan and gluten-free, perfect for those of you looking to eat a little lighter during this time of the year. You can enjoy this as it is or alongside a bed of steamed rice or pasta.
This Summer Vegetable Ratatouille features plenty of delicious produce including Melissa’s Organic Zucchini. Melissa’s Organic Zucchini is free of artificial or synthetic fertilizers and full of unforgettable, great tasting flavor. This vegetable is a type of marrow squash with a thin skin and crisp creamy flesh. Its flavor is mild and mellow with just the right hint of sweetness and savoriness. Easy to cook and work with, zucchini is very versatile and can be made into a classic Zucchini Bread with Lemon and Blueberries or Zucchini Linguine with Meat Sauce. You can also serve them fried, grilled, or steamed, buttered and sprinkled with herbs and spices.
Summer Vegetable Ratatouille
Yields: 4-6 servings
- 3 large organic Roma tomatoes, sliced
- 2 organic zucchini, sliced
- 1 large eggplant or Chinese eggplant, sliced
- 1 large yellow summer squash
- 1 medium sweet onion, diced
- 1 cup of organic kale, chopped
- 1 can of crushed tomatoes
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3/4 cup of water
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a separate bowl, pour in the crushed tomatoes, minced garlic, diced onions and about 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir together.
2. In a cast iron skillet, pour in the tomato sauce, making sure to cover the bottom.
3. Arrange the vegetables on top of the tomato sauce, alternating and overlapping the tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant and summer squash. Start the outer edge of the skillet, working your way in to create a spiraled design till you reach the center of the dish.
4. Sprinkle the top of the skillet with kale, thyme, salt and pepper. Drizzle with more olive oil on top. Cover the vegetables with a piece of cut parchment paper.
5. Place the cast iron skillet into the oven and roast for around 40 minutes. Once finished, cooking, remove from the heat. Remove the parchment paper and serve.