This is more of an idea than a recipe. It’s a great idea though. If it becomes routine, it will change the way you clear out all your leftover veggies, as well as help you fill those occasional creative spaces for mid week mealtimes.
The idea is to use up all your vegetables in a simple rustic sauce, which can be used as the basis or accompaniment to lots of weekday meals. There are two tricks to this:
- Halve the end product – keep one half as a brilliant ratatouille and pulse the other to make a smooth ragu. Children LOVE this. It is jam packed with vegetables but with no evidence of ‘bits’. I have fooled my children with this one for some time now.
- Make more, way more than you need for one sitting. Portion up into freezer bags and label clearly. You can pull out as and when you need.
Here are some of the ways you can use the sauces:
- For the kids I use the ragu on its own as a sauce for gluten free pasta. You can finish it with crumbled soft cheese or grated parmesan.
- Most commonly for the kids I use the smooth sauce to accompany meatballs or minced beef. Simply brown meatballs or mince and then add the ragu, simmering the sauce until the meat is tender. My children prefer both the texture and taste of this over any other sauce I make.
- Liven up leftovers by pouring the sauce over shredded roast chicken. Serve with rice and corn on the cob.
- The chunkier ratatouille is superb served really hot with a simple bowl of brown rice, yoghurt and a generous handful of chopped fresh herbs.
- The ratatouille is also fantastic with fish. Place two piece of white fish in foil, sprinkle some halved olives and a squeeze of lemon, then cover in a generous helping of the ratatouille. Oven roast for 20 minutes and enjoy a fab meal for two.
- Try a few spoonfuls on top of steamed asparagus. Sprinkle the dish with parmesan, grill for 2 minutes and serve with rocket leaves.
To make this batch I used:
- A tablespoon of coconut (or olive oil)
- 4 garlic cloves
- A large white onion
- 3 red peppers
- 1 large aubergine
- 1 large courgette
- A handful of small tomatoes
- 3 large carrots
- 2 tablespoons of tomato puree
- 2 tablespoons of good quality balsamic vinegar
- a teaspoon of oregano
- 400ml of passata or chopped tomatoes
- Low salt vegetable stock cube
- Salt and pepper to season
- Chop the vegetables neatly into cubes.
- Fry the onions and garlic in the oil until soft before adding all the remaining vegetables.
- Add the herbs, puree, balsamic, passata and stock cube.
- Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat right down, pop on a lid and leave to simmer for a good 45 minutes or so. The dish is ready when the vegetables are soft and tender. Add more water if needed, gauge the liquid based on how thick you want the ratatouille.
- Blitz up half, then store what you need in airtight jars and freeze the rest in bags.
Versatile and very scrummy veggies.