One of my favorite recipes for it’s simplicity and beauty. “But don’t worry”, there is a lot of flavor in this classic french cuisine staple. This is the first proper recipe I made in culinary school from start to finish and I will always be proud of it. And the best part, It is completely plant-based which is great for me and you of course. It is delicious filling and easy to make.
It is one of those classics that never goes out of style. A summer dish that feature its ingredients in a colorful way with great flavor. Traditionally prepared in a crock pot while cooking each vegetable cut in big dice pieces and the sauce separately and later cooking them together. This variation features a very visual approach while still using the classic technique by searing the egg plant preserving its flavor and not making it soggy.
You probably know the name because of the movie. I love the movie and I still watch it at least once a year. It is definitely in my favorite chef movies playlist. It is a beautiful movie with a great message if you haven’t seen it watch it if you have seen it watch it again after making this recipe. I made this one with my daughter who was only 5 years old when the movie came out and now she help me make the recipe and we had a blast.
It is a hearty colorful display of summer season vegetables in a rich tomato sauce sure to perfume your kitchen with its delicious aroma. The amazing colors and the rich flavors and will fill your heart.
The vegetables are the stars of this dish. The better the quality of vegetables the better flavor you will achieve. The richness of your tomato sauce with peppers and the onion and the incredible perfume of fresh herbs can really elevate this simple but satisfying dish.
- If you don’t have a cast iron skillet that’s OK, you can bake this in an 8″ x 8″ square pan, just line up the vegetables in line. The bake time is about the same.
- Searing the eggplant brings a great texture and keeps it from being too soggy.
- I add the pepper flakes because I love the spicy kick and the added dimension of flavor it brings but if you are not into spicy food the recipe works well without it.
- Try to pick eggplants with a similar size as the other vegetables to make even cuts but if you cant find them get the thicker bigger ones and cut halves or quarters.
- You can replace the vegetables, just try to go with similar vegetables with a high water content like a bell peppers or yellow squash, roma tomatoes.
- This recipe serves up to 4 people. If you’re feeding bigger family or friends, just double the recipe and bake it in a bigger pan.
This is a well balanced recipe for such a hearty meal. It is a low carb, low calorie and gluten free dish. What a great healthy choice.
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- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Freeze it by cooling it completely and transfer it to an airtight container. It will keep in the freezer for up to three months. To prepare, bring to room temperature (I prefer to leave it in the fridge for a day and then microwave until heated through.
- A great trick trick is to salt the eggplants ahead of time to extract any excess water, then pat them dry.
- Cut vegetables roughly the same thickness size including the tomatoes, even if that means cutting each slice into halves or quarters. So all of the vegetables will cook evenly.
- Cut a few fresh basil leaves in long stripes (chiffonade cut) and place them on top to garnish it.
- Serve hot or cold over a spoonful of the tomato sauce on the bottom of the plate and drizzle with a a little olive oil over the top.
- Take it to another level by adding shredded vegan cheese on top, and/or serve over rice, quinoa or mashed potatoes.
- Cast Iron Skillet
- Chopping Board
- Medium Saute Pan
- 2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup red bell peppers (diced)
- 1/4 cup green bell peppers (diced)
- 1/4 cup onion (diced)
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 cup crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon fresh basil (chopped)
- 1 teaspoon oregano powder
- 1 tablespoon parsley (chopped)
- 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 cups zucchini (sliced)
- 3 cups eggplant, (sliced)
- 3 cups fresh tomatoes, (sliced)
- Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease your cast iron skillet and set aside.
- Slice your vegetables not too thin. Toss the eggplant with 1 teaspoon of the salt and allow to drain in a colander for 10 minutes. Pat dry with a paper towel and set aside.
- In a medium pan heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil at medium heat sear the eggplant slices for 10 seconds each side and set aside.
- On the same pan saute the rest of the oil, garlic, bell peppers, and onion until soft.
- Add to the pan the crushed tomatoes, vinegar. basil, parsley oregano, salt, pepper, and pepper flakes. Simmer it for 10 minutes on low heat. This is your tomato sauce, take a second to enjoy the aroma.
- Pour the tomato sauce into the prepared skillet and smooth it into an even layer on the bottom of the skillet.
- Place the veggie slices in alternating patterns (zucchini, eggplant, tomato, repeat) placing them leaning against the edge of the pan. Repeat until you've filled the skillet from the outside to the inside or used up all of the veggie slices. Whatever happens first. Creating a beautiful spiral. Make sure you take pictures.
- Bake for 35 minutes, until the tomato sauce at the bottom is bubbling and the veggies are tender.
- Serve with a spoonful of the tomato sauce on the bottom topped by veggies. Garnish with fresh basil and a drizzle of olive oil. it hot or cold.