Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Recipe: Crockpot Ratatouille

I need more crockpot recipes like this one that I can make in the morning, head off to the farm to work or the farmers' markets to sell or a day's worth of running around for errands, and then come home when my energy or daylight is gone and eat some great food with no more effort!

I got this one from another market vendor (Mary Ann Blazek at the Ypsilanti-Downtown Farmers' Market), adapted somewhat based on what I had available, and have made it over and over again.

It is so beautiful and delicious that I am tempted to consider unearthing old crockpot cookbooks to find (or appealing to my blog's readers to send me) tried-and-true, delicious, easy, healthy, mostly vegetarian crockpot recipes that are a full meal (or need very little added to be a full meal), so that I don't feel the need to send up a flag for help in order to eat as well as I "preach". :-)

Maybe this will be my next book (just kidding! really - no time right now for that!).

Anyhow, here is my crock-pot version of ratatouille, the perfect dish for the end of summer vegetables.

Crockpot Ratatouille

2 large (3 medium) onion, sliced
4 small zucchini sliced (~4 cups)
2 large green peppers, cut into thin strips (I used yellow and orange peppers)
1 large eggplant sliced (I used 3 long skinny ones)
2 cloves garlic minced (I used 4 and sliced them so the garlic could still be identified in the dish)
6 large tomatoes, cut into wedges (I used 3 large tomatoes and 1 pint of canned tomatoes)
2 tsp. salt (I used only 1/2 teaspoon, adjust after cooking to your taste)
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried basil (use fresh at this time of year, ~1/4 cup, small leaves or thinly sliced)

Layer half the vegetable in a large crockpot in the following order:
onion, eggplant, zucchini, garlic, peppers, tomatoes. Repeat the layering process with the remaining vegetables.
Sprinkle basil, salt, black pepper, and parsley over top.
Drizzle with olive oil.
Cover and cook on LOW for 7-9 hours. (I started on HIGH for 1 hour and then reduced to LOW for ~7 hours. The vegetables were perfect - al dente, not mush, and still beautiful in color!).

The first time I made this, I took it to a potluck supper. The second time I made it, I added 1 can of cannellini beans (drained and rinsed) for some protein and then served it over brown rice that I had made ahead of time for a one-pot, one-plate, easy and delicious meal.

Other years, I have also made ratatouille in large batches at the end of the summer and then frozen it in 2 cup portions. The uses are endless: serve over baked potatoes, baked fish, add to soup stock, as a side dish on its own merit, etc, etc. This year, since we are still trying to empty our freezer before moving it out to the farm (soon soon!), I am joining a local CSA that freezes locally-grown, mostly organic, fruits and vegetables. Next year, I'll get back to doing our own. It will seem heavenly to finally be only in one house. :-)

(Photo: Crockpot Ratatouille - close up)

"Cultivate your life - you are what you grow - inch by inch, row by row"

Diana Dyer, MS, RD


Kathy Harnar said...

Hi Diana,
I own your book, have read it a couple times and refer to it often. I also show it to my doctors when/if they question me on the vitamins/supplements that I take. I just recently started to incorporate your morning smoothie shakes into my daily repertoire and wanted to find out if your breast cancer was Estrogen positive. Mine is and I'm just trying to be sure the soy/tofu in these shakes is okay.
After my cancer treatments (chemo, surgery, & radiation) were over in Jan. 2010 when I was left feeling vulernable and out on my own, your book led me in the next right healthy direction. You are my hero!
Hope all is well with you!
Kathy Harnar
164 Lake Lorraine Dr.
Swansea, IL 62226

Cynthia said...

Looks good! I am going to mark this recipe as one I want to try.

Anonymous said...

This looks great. My mom has a never-used crockpot sitting on her kitchen counter. I think I'll "borrow" it to try this recipe.

Glady said...

Hello Diana, I was searching for a Crockpot Ratatouille recipe and found your blog - a happy discovery. I'm going to try this recipe tomorrow. I'm looking forward to exploring your blog. We have a neat little farmers market in Kent, OH. I posted a blog about our fun mural there if your would like to check it out: http://gladysgab.blogspot.com/2012/08/kent-haymaker-farmers-market-mural.html

Diana Dyer said...

Hi Gladys,
I'm glad you found my blog! I'm going to make my own crock-pot ratatouille recipe tomorrow before we head off to a local farmers' market (so we have something to eat when we get home). I'll check out your blog post!
Hope to see you again. :)

Gail C. said...

For great vegetarian crock pot dishes, check out "Fresh From the Vegetarian Slow Cooker" by Robin Robertson. It includes the chilis, soups, and stews you would expect, plus hearty main dishes, breakfast items, even desserts.

Diana Dyer said...

Hi everyone -

I cannot count the number of times I have made this great recipe. It is the time of year again when everything is ready in the garden/market to cut up and add to the crockpot. I have some frozen already for the winter but I am ready to also make another batch, both for the freezer and for easy lunches. Just add a bit of left-over chicken, fish, some beans, or even a hard-cooked egg, serve over toast or some left-over rice, pasta, or mashed potatoes. The ease and variations are endless with this recipe.

We are done with harvesting and selling our garlic for 2012 and ready to begin planting, which means we can go back to breathing and living pretty normal 24 hour days instead of trying to put 36 hours of work into 24.

That also means I have just checked out the crockpot cookbook that Gail C recommended and will begin collecting easy and delicious recipes to use again next summer when life is crazy-full-good but there is no time to think about cooking even though we need the food to keep up the pace!

Thanks, Gail, I'm looking forward to enjoying these recipes!