Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Ratatouille Lasagna


Traditionally, Ratatouille is a stewed vegetable side dish usually composed of tomatoes, onions, garlic, zucchini, eggplant and bell peppers. Here I've combined all those flavors into lasagna! Eggplant makes great "lasagna" noodles for those that like to keep it glutenfree or low carb. And with a little char, they're delicious. I like to make my own marinara sauce, which I've included the recipe for below, but feel free to use your favorite recipe or store bought sauce.

Ratatouille Lasagna
What you'll need:

For the marinara sauce*
  • 1 large onion, diced small
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 5-6 sweet mini peppers, diced small
  • 32 oz tomato sauce
  • scant 1 cup water
  • 1 TBSP Herbes de Provence (or Italian seasoning if you can't find this)
  • 1 TBSP red chili flakes (use less for mild, or remove completely for non-spicy)
  • 1 TBSP garlic powder
  • 1 TBSP onion powder
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp oregano/marjoram
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 2-3 TBSP coconut/maple sugar, adjust to taste (or omit all together for no sugar added)
  • 1/2 TBSP grassfed unsalted butter
  • fresh cracked black pepper and sea salt, to taste
For the lasagna
  • 2 large eggplant, sliced ~ 1/8 inch thick length wise 
  • 3-4 medium zucchini, sliced length wise
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 3 medium bell peppers
  • marinara sauce
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • cheese (optional)
What to do:
  1. Make the marinara sauce. Heat a pot over medium heat and add about 1 TBSP of olive oil. Saute onions and mini peppers until fragrant. Add the garlic, chili flakes, and Herbes de Provence. Saute until fragrant. 
  2. Add tomato sauce and stir. Then add water and the remaining spices (garlic powder to the bay leaves). Stir to combine. Then stir in the coconut sugar. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. 
  3. Bring the sauce to a simmer and reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot with it's lid and simmer for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Before removing from the heat, give it a little taste to see if it needs more seasoning or sugar, to your preference. 
  4. Remove from heat. Cool slightly before taking an immersion blender and blending the sauce together. Alternatively, the sauce could be cooled and poured in a blender/food processor and blended until smooth. Set aside to cool. 
  5. Prepare the eggplant, zucchini, onions and bell peppers for the lasagna. Using a mandolin, carefully slice the eggplant and zucchini evenly and thinly (about 1/4 in. thick). Place sliced veggies on a baking pan and season both sides with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. 
  6. Pre-heat the grill. Once the grill is up to temperature, grill the eggplant and zucchini slices on both sides. Remove grilled veggies and set aside for assembly.
  7. In a pan, heat a little olive oil over medium heat. Add sliced onions and peppers. Cook until fragrant and onions are translucent. Remove from pan and set aside for assembly.
  8. Make the meat sauce. In another pan, heat about 1 TBSP of olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until fragrant. Add garlic and stir. Then add the ground beef, breaking up any large chunks. Season the meat with salt and pepper, to taste. Once most of the beef has been cooked, working a 1/2 cup at a time, add the marinara sauce. Stir to combine the beef and sauce. Keep adding the sauce to your preference. Allow the mixture to come to a simmer for about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and get ready to assemble. 
  9. Pre-heat the oven to 350F. In a 9x13 baking dish, coat the bottom of the dish with about 2-3 TBSP of the marinara sauce (not the beef/marinara mixture). Layer the grilled eggplant on the bottom of the dish, followed by the zucchini, meat sauce, and onions+peppers.
  10. Repeat the layering until there are no more, or the dish is full. Try to make the last layer the grilled eggplant. Spread another 2-3 TBSP of marinara sauce over the eggplant. Sprinkle with freshly grated parmeasean cheese, if preferred. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes or until cheese and filling are nice and bubbly.
  11. Cool slightly before slicing. 

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