This recipe comes from the kitchen of holistic nutritionist and whole-food chef Sarah Britton. Sarah is the creator of My New Roots and My New Roots Grow, a wellness platform and expansive resource for cooking tutorials, holistic living, exclusive recipes, breathwork, and movement classes.
Today, Sarah shares her hearty and filling grilled vegetable ratatouille recipe that is both easy to make and sure to satiate and satisfy!
Ratatouille is one of those dishes that always sounds good in theory: peak-season vegetables stewed together in a rich tomato sauce with herbs and olive oil. How could this be anything but delicious? But whenever I’ve ordered it at a restaurant, my high hopes have been dashed with a pile of mushy vegetables that isn’t a soup, a stew, or even a main dish.
After a farmer’s market excursion last week, I was preparing a bunch of veggies for the grill: eggplant, zucchini, peppers, and considering a tomato-basil salad for the side. As the veggies were grilling, it dawned on me that I had everything I needed to make ratatouille. My first instinct was to run and grab the veg off the barbeque, but I stopped myself, realizing the great potential of adding the grilled goodies to the tomato base instead of the traditional method of cooking everything together. Would this simple change-up make a difference and prevent mushyness? It was just crazy enough to work.
I got to caramelizing onions on the stove to create the base, then added garlic, tomatoes, lemon slices, and balsamic. So far, so good. The veggies were beautifully charred and grill-marked when I checked on them, so I pulled them off, gave them a rough chop, and added them to the simmering tomato mixture. So far, so good!
As I contemplated how to make this a more substantial meal, I remembered having cooked lentils in the fridge. If you recall my slightly gripe-y post about restaurants halfway catering to vegetarians with delicious dishes but not all that “complete,” you’ll see how traditional ratatouille definitely falls into this category. The quickest fix and simplest solution is adding lentils, in those cases and this one. So, without hesitation, the pulses took the plunge and added protein, fiber, and gorgeous texture and color.
The final result is something worth sharing! It’s rich, chunky, and hearty. My ratatouille may not have much in common with the classic version beyond its base ingredients, but I think it’s far more filling and delicious. The grilled veggies prevent the mushiness from taking hold, as they miraculously hold their shape and tenderness while adding a bonus flavor layer of smokiness. If you don’t have lentils, chickpeas or white beans would make fabulous stand-ins. You can also leave the legumes out altogether, but they definitely turn this light side dish into a more complete meal.
To take my Grilled Vegetable Ratatouille over the top, serve it with plenty of olive oil drizzled over the top and a solid hunk of bread or toast on the side. This dish keeps well for up to four days in the fridge, or I imagine, in the freezer for a few months. I’ve already made another batch for a future dinner — I can hardly wait for the next time I’m too tired to cook.
- ¾ cup organic black lentils
- 1 large organic red onion
- 2 tbsp organic coconut oil
- 1 tsp fine-grain sea salt
- 4 cloves organic garlic
- 1 pint organic cherry tomatoes
- 1 pint mixed large organic tomatoes (whatever your market/store has in season)
- 2 14oz / 400ml cans organic whole tomatoes
- 4 slices of organic lemon
- 2 tsp organic balsamic vinegar
- 1 large organic eggplant
- 2 red, yellow, or orange organic bell peppers
- 2 small organic green zucchini
- 1 small organic yellow zucchini
- Generous handful fresh organic basil leaves (plus more for garnish)
- Small handful fresh organic oregano leaves
- 5 sprigs of fresh organic thyme
- Cold-pressed organic olive oil for garnish
- Crusty whole grain sourdough bread (or toast) for serving (optional)
- If possible, soak the lentils overnight or for up to 12 hours. Drain, rinse, and place in a pot and cover with about 2 inches of cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until tender — about 10-15 minutes if you’ve soaked them, or about 20 minutes if un-soaked. Drain any excess water and set aside.
- While the lentils are cooking, prepare the ratatouille base: slice the onion into thick rings and add them to a large saucepan with the coconut oil and salt. Once the oil has melted, stir to coat the onions and them let cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have lightly caramelized, about 15 minutes. Mince the garlic and add it to the onions; cook for a few minutes until fragrant. Add the canned tomatoes and use the back of a large spoon to crush them up a little.
- Roughly chop the large tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, leaving a few of the cherry tomatoes whole. Add all of the tomatoes to the pot and stir to combine. Add the lemon slices and balsamic vinegar, bring to a low simmer, and cook covered while you grill the vegetables.
- Preheat your grill to medium-high. Slice the eggplant and zucchini into rounds, slice the peppers in half, then remove the seeds. Place the vegetables on the grill and close the lid. Cook for 5-7 minutes until the underside has slight grill marks. Flip and continue to grill on the other side until the vegetables are tender but not mushy. Let cool slightly, then roughly chop into bite-sized pieces.
- Add the grilled vegetables to the pot along with the lentils, basil, oregano, and thyme. Taste and add salt and freshly cracked black pepper to suit your taste. Stir well, bring to a simmer, and let cook for about five minutes. Divide ratatouille among bowls. Drizzle generously with olive oil, garnish with basil, and serve hot with crusty bread.
Since October 2007, Sarah Britton’s successful blog, My New Roots, has inspired eaters from around the world alongside her two cookbooks and mini-series on Food Network Canada’s The Substitute Baker. My New Roots Grow is Sarah’s very own wellness platform, an expansive resource for cooking tutorials, holistic living, exclusive recipes, breathwork and movement classes, and so much more. Sarah’s deep love for nature’s bounty and seasonality shines through in all she creates, and her most recent study and journey into the power of breathwork continues to take Sarah and the My New Roots community to new heights.