I’ve noticed the recipes I keep coming back to are traditionally peasant meals. Kitchari, cabbage rolls, shakshuka, any casserole, and ratatouille. All simple meals with simple ingredients meant to fill and nourish bodies. They aren’t particularly fancy and you won’t see them featured in their traditional forms on high-end menus.
But that doesn’t mean they aren’t delicious and shouldn’t be eaten all the time.
There is something so satisfying by using staple ingredients like tomato sauce or eggs and creating a meal you know makes people happy. Which is exactly what I was looking for in dinner a few weeks ago.
You know how some weeks just kick you in the shins? Like bad things keep happening and then once you think no more bad things can happen another one comes along? Yeah, Adam was having one of those weeks awhile back at work. We had just come off spending four days visiting our cat at the ER and work was really starting to ramp up for him. Then he had to spend an entire weekend working and then fly to Minneapolis the following week and then come back and work, work, work some more.
Needless to say, he was tired and frazzled. While I can’t help him at work (I still BARELY know what he does all day long. Computer, reinsurance, maps, and weather are the extent of my knowledge in that area), I can make the time he is at home as easy as possible. That includes making really comforting dishes. I was looking for something simple that didn’t require a lot of work, and I came across my ratatouille recipe. I hadn’t made it in awhile and I thought about adding a few things here and there to sort of jazz it up a bit.
I ended up with an even more satisfying version and I knew I would have to share it here. Plus, I’ve gotten slightly better at taking pictures since last time I posted this. Slightly. 🙂
Enjoy this wonderfully delicious peasant meal and tell me the meals you always come back to when you need comfort.
- 2 medium zucchini
- 2 medium yellow squash
- 1 large sweet potato
- 2 graffiti eggplants (or Chinese eggplants)
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 onion
- 3-4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 cans (14 oz) fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 3 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/2 cup of dairy-free cream cheese or other soft cheese (I actually used this recipe)
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400. Slice all the vegetables into rounds. Puree the diced tomatoes along with 2 cloves garlic, 1 tsp Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Pour an even layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of a large casserole dish. Reserve a few spoonfuls of tomato sauce. Start layering the vegetables in the casserole dish. You can put them in any order you want just make sure you pack them tightly into the dish so they are standing upright.
- Sprinkle the remaining garlic slices over the vegetables and then drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle the remaining Italian seasoning and some more salt and pepper on top. Cover with aluminium foil and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven after 30 minutes and take off the foil. Dollop the cream cheese on top of the vegetables and add the remaining spoonfuls of tomato sauce.
- Bake another 10 minutes until the cheese melts and gets brown/bubbly. Let it sit for five minutes and then serve!