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.
- 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.