Every time we go to the farmer’s market, I always curse myself for not making a list, or at bare minimum, planning a couple recipes to guide my purchases. I always make a list for the grocery store, but for some reason it never occurs to me to make a list for the market. I either leave empty handed or I buy everything in sight – there’s rarely a happy medium.
This weekend though, I seemed to get it just right. We found ourselves at the Burlington Mall farmer’s market and by some miracle, I came prepared with a few recipes in mind – Bread and Butter Pickles, Zucchini Bread, and Homemade Salsa. These are all long-time favourites, but two are new to my own recipe repertoire. In the end, I ended up with a basket of perfectly ripe tomatoes, 3 huge zucchini, raspberries, and pickling cucumbers. Just enough to round out what was already waiting in the fridge back at home!
After spending much of the morning making recipes, a quick and easy meal was in order. I had zucchini and eggplant to use up, so I decided on this Ratatouille-inspired dish. This version below is only traditional in the sense that it includes many main ingredients found in Ratatouille – zucchini, eggplant, onion, garlic, tomatoes, etc – but the rest was interpreted according to my own taste buds. I encourage you to do the same.
Since I was out of tomato after my salsa making adventures, I stirred in some of my favourite marinara sauce at the end of cooking. You can add chopped tomato or marinara or both. It’s really up to you. I also didn’t bother cooking the vegetables separately, like many traditional recipes do.
The only thing I would change next time is to peel the eggplant. My stomach didn’t appreciate having to digest all that eggplant skin! If you have a sensitive stomach like I do, consider this your warning. I served this with brown rice, but you can also try serving it with couscous, quinoa, potatoes, or with a crunchy baguette.
Ratatouille-Inspired Summer Veggie Dish
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 large cloves garlic, peeled & minced
- 2 cups chopped sweet onion
- 1 large zucchini, chopped into 1” chunks (~2 cups chopped)
- 1 large yellow zucchini, chopped into 1” chunks (~2 cups chopped)
- 1 Italian Eggplant, peeled & chopped into 1” chunks (~1-1.5 cups)
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 3/4-1 cup marinara sauce (or use chopped tomato)
- 1-2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, to taste
- 1/4 cup packed fresh basil, finely chopped
- Herbamare + salt & pepper, to taste
- In a large cast-iron pot or skillet, heat the oil, garlic, and onion over medium heat for about 5 mins, stirring frequently and reducing heat if necessary.
- Add the chopped zucchini, eggplant, and red pepper, as they are ready to go in. Season with salt and pepper and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes. I like giving the veggies a sprinkle of Herbamare to bring out the flavours.
- Stir in about 3/4-1 cup of your favourite marinara sauce (I used The Linen Collection Marinara from Costco!) along with fresh herbs. Cook until vegetables are tender, but still a bit firm and not overcooked – about 5-7 more minutes.
- Serve with a crunchy baguette, rice, potatoes, couscous, quinoa, or simply as a side.
Nutrition Information(click to expand)
When I published my post Friday morning, I had yet to hear the tragic news about the Colorado shooting. My deepest sympathies and thoughts go out to those lost, along with family, friends, and community members. I simply cannot imagine the grief and horror.
Nothing like a big pot of fresh summer veggies! I love all the vibrant colors in this dish.
I made ratatouille for dinner last night as well! Mine was very similar to yours but I used whole tomatoes and a ton of fresh oregano and basil because I had it on hand. I served mine over vegetable broth cooked quinoa and it was delicious.
That sounds lovely! I’ll have to try oregano next time too.
This looks great..I haven’t actually made ratatouille before but I have some similar dishes…this is definitely one I am saving…I love all the colors! So funny, I make a list for the grocery store but not the farmer’s market either…perhaps I should try too! Thanks for sharing..have a great day!
I got incredibly carried away at the farmer’s market yesterday too. Everything looks so delicious!
Ratatouille is one of my favorite dishes. I always do basil and thyme, but also like to add fresh rosemary.
This looks great! I love all of the colors.
I dated a guy from France once who made the BEST Ratatouille. After we split I tried to recreate the dish and it was an epic failure. I’ll definitely give it another shot with this recipe!
hah well, my recipe sure isn’t traditional so I’m not sure it will help you, but it did taste good!
I read a handful or articles on traditional Ratatouille on the weekend and there are a lot of different opinions on how to make it (isn’t that how it always goes?). I’d like to try Julia Child’s recipe at some point.
Market fa-fa-freshhhh! My madre makes the besttttt ratatoullie with ingredients that I’ve never figured out. It’s always good. Mostly I’m just addicted to eggplant.
YUM! I love Ratatouille, and it reminds me of that adorable Disney movie now too :)
What a beautiful farmer’s market! I admit, despite being surrounded by vegetable & fruit farms, I have yet to take advantage of the fresh produce here in Washington. I have been snagging lots of zucchini from my parent’s garden though. Love the bright colors of summer foods, like this.
Yes, I too, was unaware of the tragedy when I posted on Friday (I actually did go to a midnight showing on Thursday & talked about it in my post). Seriously, so, so sad. Heartbreaking.
We must be sharing brain waves girl! I JUST made my first ratatouille last weekend.
Mmm this looks lovely Ange! All the colours are so vibrant! I was at the market this weekend too and have been cheffing up all sorts of veggie-based dishes. Sounds like you got quite the haul! Have a fabulous Monday. :)
Mmmmmm this looks wonderful! When we worked as prep cooks last summer, we chopped up the veggies for ratatouille on an almost daily basis, but that hasn`t caused us to stop loving it! Our garden is bursting with zuchinni, and hopefully we will see our tomatoes and peppers turning red soon, so when that happens we`ll make this for sure!
I was so excited last summer when my veggies turned red. It’s such a fun experience. Enjoy it!
How perfect for my large yellow squash and zucchini that I picked up at the farmer’s market over the weekend! All I need is some eggplant and I’m set. This is a much better recipe than what I was going to make, so I’m totally thrilled that you posted this this morning. Can’t wait for dinner tonight!
Hope you enjoy it Holly!
what gorgeous ratatouille! wow! love the colors!
So colorful! Looks fantastic!
That looks so yummy and fresh for summer. It is truly amazing how the most simple dishes are the most delicious! Thanks for sharing-I have LOTS of veggies to use up this week!
I work about 2 miles from the theater and I drive by it every day to and from work. I was working the night it happened, and the news started reported it about 2:40am. We were, of course, glued to the tv after that. I was so anxious that day because I work with a lot of people who live in Aurora, and who have teenagers that could’ve been there. Thankfully, no one I know so far was at that theater but it is still so sad that it happened. It’s hard to make heads or tails about it, how someone could do this. But, then I have to remember that this person is a complete psychopath and it’s impossible to figure it out since my brain doesn’t work like his. One of my co-worker’s daughter died at Columbine. I don’t know how he is handling this since he was off on Friday. I hope he’s doing ok, I’m sure this is bringing flashbacks. As with any tragedy, it’s cool to see the whole community come together. I’ve noticed that since the shooting, people in stores and on the streets seem to be a little bit nicer to each other. I think it’s something everyone wants to do to try to make us all feel human.
My thoughts and prayers go out to all of the people affected by this. I love my state and I love the people in it.
I can only imagine how you are feeling right now, especially being so close. truly haunting, I’d imagine. My heart goes out to you and your community!
Thanks for the Colorado shout out. I live in Aurora and go to graduate school at UC-Denver, our whole community is very shaken.
P.S. I found Praline Crunch flavor Almond Dream this weekend! So. Amazing.
I can only imagine Mary. :(
Thanks for letting me know about the Praline Crunch flavour…I hope to see it in Canada soon.
It looks like my previous comment didn’t make it. I work about 2 miles from the Aurora theater and I drive by it all the time. I work with a lot of people who live in Aurora, and thankfully, as far as I know no one was there that night. This is just horrible what happened and everyone is still in so much shock that it happened again in our beautiful state. It saddens me to think that someone has it in them to perform such an outrageous act, but it makes me very happy and proud to see how the community has pulled together to survive this. I’ve noticed that in the last few days whenever I’m out and about, it seems like people are just nicer to each other. I think we need to be to feel human.
My thoughts and prayers are with all those that are affected by this. I love this state and I love the people in it. Also, the emergency responders and hospital staff are all amazing wonderful people. I hope they all get awarded for their wonderful work they do. There was a memorial last night in Aurora and whenever a speaker mentioned the police or fire department, huge roars of appreciation went up in the audience – very cool.
This couldn’t be more perfect for a warm summer evening! It would be a great side to serve at a bbq!
I always buy too much at the farmer’s market too! I like the Burlington mall one too b/c it’s not huge! (if you’ve ever been to the st. Jacob’s one you’ll understand the difference – I grew up with it down the street). I currently have oodles of roma tomatoes to use up this week.
I know what you mean! I grew up going to St Jacobs too. I have such fond memories there, but yes a totally different experience.
Yum! I’ve been wanting to make ratatouille for so long now..
I also posted Friday before I read the news. Craziness. I can’t imagine what they’re going through.
Yum, will definitely have to try this one out soon!
Looks delicious–I love all summer veggies. But my husband will not eat eggplant. Ever. So, I’d have to leave that out–but I think I could just use more zucchini instead. :)
I would love to see your take on zucchini bread!! Is this a new recipe you’re working on?
Yes it is :) looooove me some zucchini bread.
I’ve never made it before but between you and the little cartoon mouse touting it’s awesomeness, perhaps I should get to it.
I adore ratatouille, but I’ve never made it myself because it seemed like too much work to cook all the vegetables separately! Love your version, it seems much easier and I know I’d love it.
That’s how I felt about it too…I’m so lazy in the summer, I just want my food super easy. I would like to make the traditional version at some point though. Maybe for company! ha
So pretty and so tasty sounding! The prefect dish for someone like me who’s not that into veggies…
Such a pretty, colorful dish & I love the pic of the carrots on the farmers market table – so rustic and gorgeous. I want to dive in!
How coincidental! My other was just telling me last night to make a ratatouille with some leftover squash and tomatoes. Thanks! I’m going to try this tonight!
Wow, the farmer’s market vegetables look BEAUTIFUL! I’ve never seen carrots like that before! I love my farmer’s market, but it seems to be a mini one where they don’t tend to go all out with different heirloom varieties and such. Jealous of your selections.. but can’t wait to see what else comes of the trip!
I think it was the first time I’ve seen carrots like that at a market before, so of course, I had to take a picture. ;)
I love the Burlington market! My sister works at Hutchinson farm, which has a stand there, and she’s always bringing home zucchini and eggplant, so we’ve been making a lot of ratatouille lately too. It’s such a perfect summer meal!
Great idea for a fresh, colorful summer meal! I’ve yet to make my own ratatouille and yours looks like an easy way to try it out. Looking forward to making this!
I seem to have the same problem at farmer’s markets. I never come with recipes in mind and I just wander up and down the rows of fresh produce and then usually leave empty handed, or with just a few of the “usual” veggies in my basket. There’s a recipe in the 101 Cookbooks cookbook for chantrelle tacos that look lovely. I’ve always wanted to buy the interesting mushrooms at the market and now that I have a recipe for them, I’m going to do it!
Do you think you’ll be posting that bread and butter pickle recipe?
Gosh, that looks tasty! I have a zucchini and an eggplant from the farmers’ market this weekend — this looks like the perfect way to use them up! With some bread and some beans on the side maybe, it would be just perfect!
That looks delicious! I came into A LOT of zucchini lately (I’m talking TONS), so I will absolutely make this recipe tonight.
Thanks for inspiring!
I really love the combination of flavors and spices in ratatouille. It’s funny, I became intrigued by it after seeing the Disney movie, if you can believe that. The only untraditional thing I may have to add is cheese! :-D
Yum! The ratatouille looks delish. Your photos are beautiful.
This is my dilemma EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I go to the farmer’s market! I was there this morning and literally said to myself “You need to make a list for once in your life!”
I appreciate your mention of the tragedy in Colorado. I was born and raised in CO a town away from where this happened it really upset me. You’re the first blogger I’ve read that has made any mention of this, so I really am grateful Angela. Thank you.
I too am hopeless with planning market visits. Mine are complicated by my tendency to go on bike. There is only so much I can jam in my basket and bag, but I seem to think more will fit. This sometimes ends in a dangerous ride home!
Excessive purchasing aside, this dish looks fantastic – I love the idea of using marinara sauce too.
Looks delish! Any idea if it would freeze wells? My mom was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, and I am starting to compile lots of soft veggie recipes on my Pinterest account, so I can make batches of food for her when she doesn’t feel like cooking.
Ohhh this looks so fresh and tasty especially with the fresh herbs. Is there anything better than the fresh vegetable and herb smell from the markets? I never make a list either and always end up with all sorts of strange combo’s! :-)
I have never seen a yellow zuchini in australia before. And I have only ever food kale in 1 store. Talk about deprived!
That dish looks awesome :)
Thanks for the great dinner idea!
It looks absolutely delicious! I love your recipes Angela :)
This is perfect! We are growing eggplant in our garden and I’m running out of ideas on ways to use it, and we get lots of zucchini in our CSA box and from a coworker. I may make this tonight!
These photos make my mouth water! I was wondering if there might be a good alternative to the red sauce for this recipe? I can’t eat tomatoes due to acidity and am always passing up great recipes such as this one due to lack of creativity with locating a substitute.
Hi Shannon, What about a simple balsamic dressing or lemon/olive oil dressing?
Wow, that’s a pretty impressive assortment at the Burlington mall. Might need to check it out one day!