Fall is by far my favorite season for many reasons: the air is fresh, the clouds are more dynamic, it’s a new academic year, sweaters, boots, backyard bonfires, apple orchards, pumpkin patches, farmer’s markets and crock pot cooking (to name a few)! Onions, peppers, eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes are all ready to be harvested in our garden and one of the best ways to enjoy the bounty is to make a delicious ratatouille! Ratatouille is a traditional French cuisine that originated in Nice. The dish roughly translates to vegetable stew and it is oooh soo yummy! You can really throw any vegetables you want into a stock pot, let simmer for a few hours and it would qualify as ratatouille, but today I am going to share with you my favorite mixture of vegetables that are guaranteed to warm you up on cool autumn nights!
4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and quartered
3 red bell peppers, seeded and sliced or cubed
3 zucchini or yellow squash (or both), cubed
2 eggplants, cubed
2 sweet yellow onions, peeled and quartered
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup organic vegetable broth
4 6oz marinated chicken breasts, cubed (optional)
Tomato Basil Marinade
1 cup organic tomato juice
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
4 Tablespoons of organic fresh basil, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
For Marinating Chicken
- Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl
- Brush the bottom of an oven safe baking dish with a Tablespoon of marinade
- Place uncooked chicken in dish and poke all over with a fork (this allows the marinade to soak through the chicken)
- Pour remaining marinade over chicken, use a brush to cover evenly
- Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (or leave overnight)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Remove chicken from the refrigerator, remove cover, drain any extra marinade and place in center rack of over
- Cook for 18-20 minutes or until internal temperature of chicken reaches 160 degrees
- When fully cooked remove from oven and set aside to cool
- In a large stock pot add olive oil
- Add onions, zucchini, eggplants and bell peppers, cook over high heat for a few minutes
- Lower the heat to a simmer and add tomatoes. Cover and simmer for about an hour.
*While veggies are simmering this is a great time to cube up your chicken
- Add minced garlic, vegetable broth and cubed chicken (optional) and cover, simmer for another hour
- Salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!
*If the ratatouille is too “soupy” for you remove the cover and turn up the heat. This will reduce it to a more stew-like consistency.
*In my home we love this recipe so much we often double or triple the recipe and freeze the leftovers for lunches and last-minute dinner options!
- Marinade, 10 calories per tablespoon
- Chicken, 194 calories per 6 oz
- Ratatouille, 134 calories per serving
I love being able to go out into my backyard garden and pick all of the ingredients for diner (minus the chicken), but if you don’t have a garden I would recommend visiting your local farmer’s market or co-op. Organic and heirloom veggies taste so much more vibrant than the generic, dime-a-dozen veggies available at the big box grocery stores and I feel it’s worth the investment. So why not whip up this tasty dish this weekend?! Pair this meal with a nice red wine and don’t forget to serve it with a crusty bread to soak up every last delicious and nutritious drop!
What are some of your favorite fall recipes? What types of veggies do you add to your ratatouille?