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vegetables | simple ratatouille

Serves 4

I make this by the bucket load. It's so easy and tasty. You can make it to suit your personal tastes, as well as using up what's left in the fridge! It's quite good if you need to use up peppers which are just beginning to look a bit wrinkly and sad. And not only that, but it's a good all rounder which can be varied easily to suit everyone's tastes. Plus, it can be combined with just about anything for everyone, so I always make enough for 2 days and just use it with something different the next day.

Wheat free, dairy free, nut free, meat free version...

Ingredients...

Optional:

Method...

  1. Heat the oven to 170°C.
  2. Roast the vegetables on a baking tray by drizzling with one tbsp of oil and baking for approximately 25-30 minutes until they are cooked but not blacked.
  3. If you are using a bulb of garlic, separate the cloves but leave the skins on and just mix in with the other vegetables.
  4. Meanwhile, in a big pan, heat the other 2 tbsp of oil and cook the aubergines for 20 minutes or so - you will have to stir reasonably frequently and I leave the lid on once they are sealed, to steam the flesh.
  5. Add the tomato paste into the pan and the water and/or wine (lime if using) and heat through. If you are using a can of tomatoes, add in here, but you won't need any extra water.
  6. Pour the contents of the tray and juices into the saucepan once cooked, and stir well.
  7. If you have used garlic, you can remove them, crush them with back of a spoon to get the flesh out of the skin and put that back into the mixture.

Maybe serve with...

Just about everything! Jacket potato, wild rice, brown rice if you want to be extra healthy, potato wedges, boiled new potatoes, wheat or wheat free pasta.... The list is endless! If you have a little bit of the mixture leftover and want to do something different with it, blend it and use as a quick pizza topping.

For those able to eat dairy ...

Grate some cheese on top or serve with a jacket potato with butter and/or cheese.
Or you could just dollop some low fat yoghurt on the top of a serving and sprinkle with chives or spring onions and serve with something like wild rice. Alternatively, put some ratatouille in large or individual oven proof dishes and cover with a layer of cooked sliced potatoes. Sprinkle with cheese and bake this until the mixture bubbles right the way through, the potatoes crisp up and the cheese melts.

For those able to eat fish ...

Serve with nude (i.e. unadulterated) baked cod, salmon, tuna or indeed just about any fish. You can either serve the fish as a side dish if others don't eat fish or if everybody will eat it, you could always flake the fish throughout the mixture.

For those who can eat wheat...

Serve with wheat pasta of any kind - you can either serve on a bed of pasta or mixed through or indeed as the basis for the cheat’s lasagne. You could serve with crusty bread or French stick, just as it is. And maybe you could add a side dish of steamed or boiled broccoli or some other green vegetables. Adding side portions of other vegetables, pasta or meat works well if by the second night you don't think there's enough to go around!

For those able to eat meat ...

Similarly, this is great to use with a baked chicken breast or cold leftover chicken

For those able to eat nuts ...

If I have any in the cupboard, I will often sprinkle my portion of ratatouille with a handful of pine nuts and serve with a portion of wild or brown basmati rice. I'm sure something like cashews would work too? Or, if everybody like them, you could always stir them into the rice to add some crunch.

If you have aubergines, tomatoes and onions leftover, see the aubergine caponata. If you have peppers, tomatoes and onions left, see the pepper paprikash. If you have peppers and tomatoes left, see the bean chilli.


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