Vegan Walkaway Ratatouille
Source: Cook's Illustrated, Better Vegan  Category: Vegan Entrees & Sides
Prep Time: 15 min  Cook time: 1 hr 25 min  Total Time: 1 hr 40 min  Serves 6 to 8
Contains nightshades
About this recipe
This classic French dish is naturally vegan, but this variation is much easier to make. It doesn't require salting and draining the vegetables. Cooking the eggplant in the oven first creates thick saucy consistency, and by adding the rest of the ingredients later you get nice chunky vegetables as well. This dish is packed with flavor and can be served warm, cold or at room temperature.
Ingredients:

3 Tbsp. coconut or avocado oil (I use Kirkland Signature Cold Pressed Unrefined Organic Virgin Coconut Oil or La Tourangelle Avocado Oil)

2 large onions, cut into 1-inch pieces

8 large garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

Pink Himalayan salt (I use Sherpa Pink Gourmet Himalayan Salt, 5 lbs Fine Grain)

Black pepper

1 ½ tsp. herbes de Provence (try Frontier Herbes De Provence)

¼ tsp. red pepper flakes

1 bay leaf

1 ½ pounds Italian eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

2 pounds plum tomatoes, peeled, cored, and chopped coarse

2 small zucchini, peeled, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil

1 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley

1 Tbsp. sherry vinegar (try Columela Sherry Vinegar (Solera 3) Reserva)

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil for garnish (I use Newman's Own Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

Instructions:
1. Prepare the ingredients.

 

2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat coconut oil in Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent and starting to soften, about 10 minutes. Add herbes de Provence, pepper flakes, and bay leaf and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute. Stir in eggplant and tomatoes. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper and stir to combine. Transfer pot to oven and cook, uncovered, until vegetables are very tender and spotty brown, 40 to 45 minutes.

2. Remove pot from oven and, using potato masher or heavy wooden spoon, smash and stir eggplant mixture until broken down to sauce-like consistency. Stir in zucchini, bell peppers, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and return to oven. Cook, uncovered, until zucchini and bell peppers are just tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

3. Remove pot from oven, cover, and let stand until zucchini is translucent and easily pierced with tip of paring knife, 10 to 15 minutes. Using wooden spoon, scrape any browned bits from sides of pot and stir back into ratatouille. Discard bay leaf. Stir in 1 tablespoon each of basil, parsley, and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to large platter, drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon basil, and serve.

Notes:
This dish is best prepared using ripe, in-season tomatoes. If good tomatoes are not available, substitute one 28-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes that have been drained and chopped coarse.
Serving suggestion:
This dish can be served on its own with gluten-free bread, over gluten-free pasta or brown rice. It can also be served warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

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