Summer is my favourite season, it has a lot to do with the 3 months of warmth and sunshine but also because the veggie garden is so abundant during this season. Zucchini, patty pan squash, basil and tomatoes all thrive in our veggie patch and often we have so much we give it away. Even if you don’t have the room for a vegetable plot or a friendly neighbour you can still make the most of summer’s lovely seasonal produce with cheaper prices in the green grocers. This Summer veg hot pot is perfect for using the best produce summer has to offer and also is the perfect make ahead meal to take for lunch to uni/school or work.
The French vegetable stew ratatouille is traditionally made with lots of olive oil and garlic and cooked slowly until the veg are very tender. I have made my Australian version with less olive oil and more lovely tomatoes and chosen to cook the veggies not quite so long so they still retain their shape. I have also added the very untraditional addition of chickpeas to add some extra protein to the dish. This dish is quick and easy to make and only requires a little simmer time.
Feel free to add any other vegetables you like to the ratatouille, I have just used what i have on hand but it would be lovely with some cubed eggplant or even some green beans thrown in too. If you don’t like the slight aniseed taste feel free to leave out the fennel seeds, they add a lovely sweetness to the dish but I know some people absolutely can’t stand them.
Serve as a complete meal with fresh crusty sourdough or some quinoa or brown rice on the side or use as a lovely side for roast meat.
Nutrition: This dish is packed full of veggies, low-fat, high fibre and the chickpeas contribute some protein to make the meal more filling.
- 1 large brown onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp minced garlic (or more if you like)
- 1 tsp fennel seed (optional)
- 2 zucchini
- 5-8 patty pan squash, depending on size
- 2 red capsicum
- 800g tomatoes, chopped or 2x 400g tins diced tomatoes
- 1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- small bunch basil, leaves only
- salt and pepper
- 1 tsp sugar or stevia
- 2 tsp red wine/balsamic vinegar (optional)
- Chop zucchini, capsicum and squash into small chunks. Dice onion.
- Heat olive oil in a large saucepan on medium heat, add onion and stir until softened. Add garlic and fennel seeds and stir until fragrant.
- Add remaining veg and stir. Add tomatoes, stirring well. Add 60ml water if extra liquid is needed.
- Bring to the boil then turn down to simmer and cover with a lid.
- Simmer for approx 20 mins or until the veg are just tender.
- Add chickpeas and remaining ingredients, adding salt and pepper to your taste.
- Simmer for one more minute and serve.