Ratatouille is French stewed vegetable dish from Provence.
My mum’s ratatouille is the best as she’s been cooking it since my parents were living in Paris in the 70s but I’ve tried this recipe and it’s extremely tasty too, plus it has marinated halloumi to go with it!
This recipe is also really easy and without the fuss of salting the aubergines and draining them…I’ve tried it once but never did it since as I don’t find it necessary.
It’s a perfect sustainable summer dish as its ingredients – tomatoes, onions, aubergines, courgettes and peppers – are all in season. It’s healthy too, I’m sure a portion of it contains several of your 5 a day. 🙂
After my previously posted research into whether organic food is better I decided to splash out and buy organic peppers. They were relatively expensive at £1.80 for 2, but at least the dish didn’t contain all the residual pesticides that are left in ordinary peppers, so it was better for our health and the environment.
Ratatouille is a great side dish, but I had this cooking programme inspired version with marinated halloumi as a main. Any leftovers are great to freeze and you can also use them up as a healthy pasta sauce.
*When you chop up the vegetables, keep all the courgette tips and pepper stalks you usually compost or dispose of, especially if organic, and freeze them: these are great for home-made vegetable stock, I will write a post about this soon!*
Ratatouille with Halloumi
Ingredients for 4 portions:
- 250g vegetarian Halloumi
- 1 spring of rosemary / 1 tsp dry rosemary
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 red onion
- 1 aubergine
- 2 courgettes
- 2 peppers, 1 yellow 1 red, preferably organic
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- A small bunch of basil / 1 tbsp dried basil
- Half a lemon or lime
- 1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
- Cous cous / pitta bread / bulgur wheat / polenta / brown rice to serve
-Start off by slicing the halloumi and placing it in a dish, cover it with 2 chopped cloves of garlic, twist and bruise the rosemary to release its resiny oils and add it to the dish, add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and add freshly ground pepper and leave to marinade until it’s time to cook it -salt isn’t really necessary as the halloumi is pretty salty;
-Chop the red onion, courgettes and aubergine in chunks, heat a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil in a big pan or pot that will fit all the ingredients;
-Add the remaining chopped garlic clove and onion to the pan, leave to cook on a medium heat for a couple of minutes to soften;
-Add the peppers and turn the heat up to slightly to char them for 3-4 minutes;
-Lower the heat to medium, add the courgette and aubergine chunks, add the tomato puree, stir, and cook for a minute;
-Add the can of chopped tomatoes, season to taste and let the vegetables simmer for 5-10 minutes, until they have softened, add the basil now if you are using dried basil;
-While the vegetables are simmering put the halloumi slices in a pan will all the marinade ingredients and cook until deliciously gooey and crispy on both sides, turn off and leave in the pan once it’s ready;
-Taste the vegetables, once they are ready tear and add the fresh basil leaves, a tbsp of balsamic vinegar and a squeeze of lemon or lime, serve with the halloumi.
This is a very versatile and healthy dish that is great with cous cous as it absorbs the lovely sauce, but it’s equally great with rice, polenta or whatever you fancy. Enjoy!
Have you had ratatouille before? What did you have it with?