Makes 10 cups (2.5 L).
Nothing beats fresh ratatouille made from your own garden-fresh vegetables. There’s something profoundly flavourful when the products are fresh picked and immediately turned into a recipe.
Overgrown zucchini? Sometimes during a particularly hot spell, zucchini can grow from not-ready-to-be-picked to mammoth-sized almost overnight. What to do? Short of grating every cauliflower-sized patty pan or enormous green zucchini into containers to freeze for baking, we’ve taken another approach.
On our farm, we harvest overgrown zucchini, cut them crosswise into thick slices, and nickname them “steaks.” It’s a vegetarian dinner in minutes.
Lightly brush steaks with oil and season with salt, pepper, and chopped herbs, if you wish. Grill both sides just until steaks are hot and edges golden but still somewhat firm.
Serve with Roasted Ratatouille spooned overtop, or spread with Kale and Walnut Pesto (see recipe) and a smattering of cheese. Or serve with shredded fresh garden greens and tahini lemon dressing drizzled overtop with chopped nuts. There are so many variations and possibilities, I no longer moan when they suddenly appear in epic glory.
Tip: Can be refrigerated for several days, or freeze in small containers for a couple of months.
Ratatouille has a myriad of uses, especially when prepared in fine dice as done here. Spoon onto crostini and top with crumbled goats’ cheese as an appetizer. Add to a saucepan along with enough stock and serve hot as a soup with ziti pasta noodles. It’s delicious chilled and served at a picnic. The possibilities are endless.
Preheat oven to 500 F (260 C). Position oven rack at top level. Lightly oil large baking sheet and set aside.
In large bowl, combine chopped onion, garlic, bell peppers, and zucchini. Drizzle with 2 Tbsp (30 mL) olive oil, and sprinkle with a little sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss to coat evenly, and spread out in single layer on prepared baking sheet. Bake on top rack in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally for even roasting. (Be careful when opening oven, as escaping steam from roasting vegetables can scald.)
Meanwhile, to release some of the bitter juices from eggplant, toss with salt and place in sieve. Top with plate just small enough to fit snugly inside sieve. Place a weight on top, such as 28 oz (796 mL) can tomatoes. Place in sink to drain for 30 minutes. Remove plate. Rinse eggplant thoroughly with cold running water to remove salt, and pat cubes dry with paper towelling.
Place in large, heavy saucepan along with oven-roasted vegetables, stock, tomatoes, and seasonings. Cover. Simmer over medium-low heat with lid ajar for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are done as you like.
Serve immediately, or bring to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate overnight for flavours to blend. Excellent served hot or cold with fresh arugula and shavings of Parmesan.
This recipe is part of the Growing a Dream collection.
Crunchy, with sharp and satisfying flavour, this hearty salad is a great accompaniment to tacos (including the ones in the next recipe). Cabbage is high in fibre and vitamins C and K. Higher consumption of cruciferous vegetables such as radishes and cabbage is linked to lower rates of cancer. Make ahead Unlike a typical green salad, this one can stand up to an hour or two in the fridge, so if you want to make it ahead of time, go for it. The cabbage will soften up and some water will be released; just drain any excess before serving.
These taco-inspired lettuce wraps are full of vibrant flavour tempered by subtle heat, all topped off with a zingy tomatillo salsa. Shredding the chicken helps to make a small quantity of chicken feed a crowd, and the texture pairs well with the light wrapper. The bright salsa features heart-healthy tomatillos, which contain phytochemicals called withanolides, which studies have found can help inhibit cancer cell growth. Quick shred If you have a kitchen mixer with a paddle attachment, you can use it to quickly and easily shred chicken for taco lettuce wraps. After chicken has rested, add it to the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Reserve any pan juices that may have accumulated in the baking dish. Turn mixer on to a low-to-medium speed and process the chicken for 30 seconds to 1 minute, so that chicken is just separated, being careful not to overprocess. Add in cooking juices and mix through with spoon. To shred chicken by hand, use two forks to gently pull meat apart before combining with pan juices.
This rich bean dip is delicious warm or cold. It’s also a good source of protein, iron, and potassium. A single serving of this dip will help Dad get 19 percent of the recommended daily value of dietary fibre. Dried pasilla peppers impart a smoky, earthy fruitiness balanced with mild spice from a hint of hot paprika and cayenne. And those canned tomatoes add a nice hit of lycopene to an already healthy dish. Epazote (Eh-pah-zo-tay) Epazote has a history of use as a medicinal herb throughout Latin America and is a frequent ingredient in bean dishes because of its antiflatulent properties as well as its pleasant aromatic taste. Its flavour has no direct comparison but is reminiscent of oregano, tarragon, or licorice. There is a pungency to the scent, which some have described as having notes of kerosene, but it imparts a pleasing, earthy, and herbal quality to dishes. Dried epazote added to beans can help reduce their gas-causing properties. Epazote contains saponins, which can be toxic in copious quantities, so sparing use is recommended. Look out for it at specialty culinary stores. If you can’t find it, try cilantro, fennel, or oregano.
Lime juice and ginger add a tropical whiff to this French-Japanese mashup, where seaweed tendrils and Dijon mustard bring out the umami flavours in mushrooms and eggplant. The ingredients might seem to be strange bedfellows, but they work. The result is somewhere between a quiche and a soufflé, with a gluten-free eggplant crust featuring punchy mustard and citrus. This makes for a hearty vegetarian main for brunch, lunch, or dinner with a side salad, or a filling side dish. Fresh or dried If you don’t have fresh thyme and parsley, use 1 tsp (5 mL) dried thyme (divided) and 1 Tbsp (15 mL) dried parsley. The flavours won’t be as pungent, but a little flavour is better than none.