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This oil free version of ratatouille, a thick vegetable stew made of eggplant, zucchini, sweet peppers, onions, mushrooms, and ripe tomatoes.

veggies

It makes enough stew to have plenty of leftovers to pack for lunches, and still freeze some for later. Serve hot, warm, or cold, as a main dish with gluten free pasta, rice, or polenta. The possibilities are endless.

Ratatouille

Ingredients:
vegetable broth, for sauteing
12 – 14 baby eggplants, cut into 3/4 inch chunks (or 1 large eggplant)
3 – 4 zucchini, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 red pepper, seeds and core removed, cut into 3/4 inch chunks
1 green pepper, seeds and core removed, cut into 3/4 inch chunks
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cups crimini mushrooms, cut in half and sliced
4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 cups garden ripe tomatoes, skin removed and cut into large chunks (I used Roma)
3 – 4 tbsp tomato paste
2 bay leaves
a few sprigs fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried
2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano or 2 tsp dried
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Place cubed eggplant on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.

Place a the large dutch oven over medium heat, add enough vegetable broth to cover the bottom of the pot, add the onions and mushrooms. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Lower the heat if necessary to prevent burning.

Add the garlic and stir. Cook for 3 minutes, adding more vegetable broth if necessary.

Add the red and green peppers, tomatoes, tomato paste, thyme, oregano, bay leaves, and basil; and stir. Simmer for 8 minutes.

Add the zucchini, simmer, and stir occasionally for 10 minutes.

Add the roasted eggplant, salt and pepper. Stir and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the balsamic vinegar, serve immediately.

Ratatouille-and-Fried-Polenta

This vegetable stew can be served hot or cold as a side dish. Or as a main course, serve over baked potatoes, gluten free pasta, or fried polenta. Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts, fresh basil, or vegan Parmesan cheese, if desired.

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