As Summer is in full swing and the fun family gatherings are a frequent occurrence, I’ve got one question for you …
What are you bringing to the backyard barbecue?
Forget about the pasta or potato salad. Ratatouille reigns supreme when it comes to the perfect summer side. Alright I do love a good mustard dill potato salad too but I digress.
Ratatouille has it all. Besides being the perfect way to highlight all those summer veggies, it’s also a great dish to make ahead then serve cool or at room temperature during your family festivities.
Can you think of a better sidekick to a piece of grilled chicken, pork or fish? Heck it’s not half bad as a gourmet burger topper either. But besides being a stunning side dish or condiment, ratatouille also easily adapts to be the star of the show.
Just imagine the elegance of your ratatouille pressed into a ring mold then topped it with a fresh grape tomato salad and a drizzle of balsamic reduction. You don’t have to imagine it. I demoed the stunning light lunch in my video tutorial below.
Honestly this might have been the tastiest lunch I had all summer.
Prep time: 20 min
Cook Time: 1-1½ hours
- 1 large eggplant, (diced into large cubes)
- 2 zucchinis, (diced into large cubes)
- 2 summer squash, (diced into large cubes)
- 2 red bell peppers, (diced)
- 1 large yellow onion, (diced)
- 3 cloves garlic (sliced)
- 6 oz can tomato paste
- 1 cup of water
- 1 tbs fresh thyme
- 2 tbs fresh parsley
- olive oil (enough to saute all the veggies about ½ cup)
- In a very large skillet over a medium heat add few tablespoons of olive oil with half the eggplant cubes and some salt and pepper then saute for a few minutes stirring as needed until the pieces all have a golden color while still maintaining their structure then remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add the other half of the eggplant with a little more oil and salt and pepper repeat step 1.
- Add the summer squash with more olive oil, salt and pepper repeat step 1 then set them aside in a separate bowl than the eggplant.
- Repeat with the zucchini and when they have some color set them aside in their own bowl.
- Add the chopped onion and red peppers together since they both have similar cooking times and saute for a few minutes with more olive oil and salt and pepper then clear a space in the pan and add the sliced garlic with a little oil and toast the garlic for a minute before mixing it in with the peppers and onions.
- Add a 6 oz can of tomato paste and stir it into the veggies before adding a cup of water to dilute the paste into a sauce consistency then add all the veggies back into the pan with the parsley and thyme.
- Stir it all together and at this point you can either put the whole mixture into a casserole dish and bake it in a 325 degree oven for ½ hour or finish it right on the stove-top over a low heat for 10 or 15 minutes.
- Let it rest for 10 minutes and serve or serve it at room temperature or reheated the next day.