Here’s an easy 25 minute recipe for smoky ratatouille with goat cheese and pine nuts. Ratatouille is a simple French vegetable sauté, made with eggplant, zucchini, peppers and tomatoes. This version is topped with fresh goat cheese and pine nuts and it’s naturally grain-free and vegetarian. Just omit the goat cheese to make it vegan!
When we first moved into our town, I worked part time at the Eating Well test kitchen, and I had a little catering and personal chef business. The first summer we lived here I sold take-home meals at our local farmers’ market. I figured it seemed like a great way to get the word out about my personal chef and catering business, and I could bring in income in the meantime.
It only took a few weeks and I settled into a rhythm, and started growing a following.
Every week the menu changed depending on what was in season. On Monday or Tuesday I would call one of the local farms and ask what they had wholesale. They would let me know and I would then plan out the menu for that Friday’s market and place an order.
I’d spend half the day Thursday gathering ingredients from the store and the farm and then cooking. And all of Friday making the meals and packaging them up. By three I’d be unloading my car at the town green and setting up my tables, coolers, platters of macaroons and chalkboard menu.
Here’s an actual menu I just found from late summer 2004.
Salmon Cakes and Lemony Mascarpone Cream
with Sweet Corn and Edamame Succotash
Chopped Broccoli Salad
with Sharp Cheddar Cheese and Creamy Yogurt Dressing
Rosemary Garlic Mashed Yukon Gold Potatoes
with Fennel and Onion Sauerkraut (Excellent with the Grass Fed pork available at the market)
Stuffed Delicata Squash
with Tempeh, Dried Cranberries and Crispy Pumpkin Seeds
Ratatouille with Pine Nuts and Capers
with Eggplant and Fire-Roasted Tomatoes
Savory Herbed Polenta Cakes
with Roasted Garlic and Asiago
Orange & Nut
Either Variety Chocolate-Dipped
The only parts of the menu that never changed were the Ratatouille, polenta and macaroons.
Though it’s been thirteen years since that summer, every time I make ratatouille I think of the farmers’ market.
I made a super simplified version here today. Though it was really yummy, the version I made for the farmers’ market was rather complicated. It involved grilling the vegetables first to boost the smokiness. Today I cut that step out and instead I used smoked paprika and fire roasted tomatoes to give the ratatouille a smoky flavor. That way all you have to do is, just chop the veggies and give them a quick sauté and that’s it!
From there, top it with goat cheese (chèvre) if you like, or keep it vegan and simply omit it. I love the crunch of the pine nuts on top too and the freshness of the parsley to offset it all.
More Recipes Featuring Peppers, Zucchini, Summer Squash and Eggplant
Smoky Ratatouille with Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts is an easy 25 minute recipe based on the French classic. This version is topped with fresh goat cheese and pine nuts and it’s naturally grain-free and vegetarian. Just omit the goat cheese to make it vegan!
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 large sweet onion, diced
- 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 3 cups cubed zucchini and or yellow squash, about ¾ pound
- 3 cups cubed eggplant, about ½ pound
- 1 large diced red bell pepper (6-ounces)
- 1 28-ounce can whole fire roasted tomatoes* see tip
- 2 teaspoons tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- ½ cup crumbled fresh goat cheese, optional
- ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- Heat oil in a large straight-sided sauté pan, or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add garlic, onion and salt and cook, stirring often until browned in some spots, and starting to soften, 4 to 6 minutes. Add Herbs de Provence and smoked paprika and cook, stirring until fragrant, 30 to 90 seconds. Add zucchini, eggplant and red bell and cook, stirring often until the vegetables are starting to soften and a brown patina starts to form along the edges of the pan (fond), 5 to 7 minutes.
- Crush tomatoes by hand into bite sized pieces. Add the tomatoes and their juices to the eggplant mixture and increase heat to high. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened to desired tenderness and starting to break down, and the tomato juices are thickened, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in oregano and ground pepper. Serve warm or cold topped with goat cheese (if using), pine nuts and parsley.
*tip: Sub 3 cups chopped fresh chopped tomatoes plus a generous pinch salt if desired. A combination of ripe Roma tomatoes and heirloom slicing tomatoes is best.
- Serving Size: 2 cups