A fruit that doubles as spaghetti?
Game Day Chili
I went absolutely bananas at the Union Square Farmer’s Market this weekend! Everything looked so good!
As I was stuffing my tote with all this seasonal goodness, I realized that absolutely everything that’s in season also happens to be on the ingredient list for Ratatouille, one of my favorite dishes.
It smells amazing and instantly transports me back to my summers spent in the South of France. It’s a classic French dish usually served as a side, but you know how I like my veggies, so I usually pile it on. I didn’t this time, but you could add in chickpeas for protein and serve over brown rice or another whole grain for a complete and well balanced plate.
Every ingredient for this ratatouille recipe is currently in season in the Northeast, which means you’ll find the tastiest (and often cheapest) at your local Farmer’s Market. Eggplant, summer squash, onions, garlic, tomatoes, basil, flat-leaf parsley, thyme…just imagine how good your kitchen will smell! Traditionally, the recipe also calls for bell peppers, but I wasn’t able to find any organic local ones, so I just subbed okra in, which happens to be abundant (and tasty) this time of year.
I will warn you, this recipe is a bit labor intensive. If you’ve ever had good ratatouille, though, you know it’s worth it. On the plus side, it makes a ginormous batch, so it should last you a few days. It’s also a great dinner party dish.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours
- 2 1/2 lb. tomatoes 4 large
- 6 cloves garlic thinly sliced
- 1 cup flat-leaf parsley fresh & chopped
- 20 fresh basil leaves torn in half
- 1/3 + 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil divided into tablespoons
- 1 lb. eggplant cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 1/4 tsp. pink salt
- 2 large onions quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
- 1 cup okra sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 4 medium zucchini quartered lengthwise and cut crosswise into 3/4-inch-thick pieces, 2 lb
- black pepper to taste
- fresh basil leaves to garnish
- Cut an X in bottom of each tomato with a sharp paring knife and blanch together in a 4-quart pot of boiling water 1 minute. Transfer tomatoes with a slotted spoon to a cutting board and, when cool enough to handle, peel off skin, beginning from scored end, with paring knife.
- Coarsely chop tomatoes and transfer to a 5-quart heavy pot with garlic, parsley, basil, and 1/3 cup oil. Simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes break down and sauce is slightly thickened, at least 30 minutes.
- While sauce is simmering, toss eggplant with 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large colander and let stand in sink to drain until ready to use.
- Meanwhile, cook onions in 2-3 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer onions with a slotted spoon to a large bowl, then add 2-3 tablespoons oil to skillet and cook 1 cup okra over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer peppers with slotted spoon to bowl with onions. Add 2-3 tablespoons oil to skillet and cook zucchini with 1/4 teaspoon salt over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 6 to 8 minutes. While zucchini are cooking, pat eggplant dry with paper towels. When done, transfer zucchini with slotted spoon to bowl with other vegetables.
- Add 2-3 tbsp. oil to skillet and cook eggplant over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 10 to 12 minutes. Add to vegetable bowl.
- To the tomato sauce, add vegetables, and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes and up to 1 hour. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Cool uncovered, and serve warm or at room temperature.
·Stew can be made 2 days ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature or reheat before serving.
Upgrade your BBQ with a black bean and quinoa burger.
I’ve got summer on the brain, particularly beaches, bikinis, and burgers. In the recipe below, the BBQ staple gets a plant-based makeover. This vegan black bean burger is packed with protein, and while it may seem like a lot of steps, it’s relatively easy to make. It’s even easier if you have leftover quinoa prepared the day before.
Experiment adding in veggies like corn, carrots, or beets for a flavorful vitamin boost.
Black Bean & Quinoa Burger
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
- 1 cup quinoa dry
- 2 cups water
- 1 Tbsp. ground flax
- ¼ cup warm water
- 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 shallot diced
- 4 cloves garlic diced
- 1 tsp. cumin
- ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
- ½ tsp. paprika
- ¼ tsp. cayenne
- 1.5 cups black beans (cooked)
- ½ cup fresh parsley
- ¼ tsp. pink salt
- 2 cups quinoa cooked & cooled (from above)
- ½ cup rolled oats processed into a powder, divided in half (so 2 - ¼ cups)
- First, make quinoa: bring water and quinoa to a boil, then reduce heat and cook covered for about 10 minutes, until all water is absorbed. Let cool completely.
- Meanwhile, mix flax in a small bowl with warm water. Set aside.
- Using medium-low heat, warm up about 2 tsp. of oil in a pan, or enough to coat the bottom.
- Sauté shallot, garlic, and all spices (except salt) for about 2 minutes. Stir occasionally. The shallot and garlic should not brown, you just want them lightly cooked and translucent. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for a minute.
- Put black beans, parsley, salt, and cooled shallot mixture into a high-speed blender or food processor. Blend until just combined. (You could stop here and have a delicious black bean mash.)
- Add the quinoa, flax mixture, and a heaping ¼ cup of the oat flour into the blender, and continue mixing, until thoroughly combined and you have a paste.
- Scoop out the paste, roll into balls and then press into a patties. It will be slightly sticky. Coat the patties thoroughly in the remaining oat flour, as if you are breading it.
- Heat a pan to medium-low, and put just enough oil to cover the bottom. Let patties cook for 3 minutes, flip over, and cook an additional 3 minutes on the other side. You may have to cook in batches depending on the size of your pan.
- Serve on a salad of chopped romaine lettuce, and dress with a little bit of salt, pepper, olive oil, and whole grain mustard. If reserving additional servings for use late in the week, wait to prepare romaine lettuce salad for them until just before serving.
*If you use olive oil, be sure to use a medium-low temperature, so that the oil doesn’t smoke.