Updated: Dec 5, 2021
Ratatouille is a traditional French dish dating back to the 18th century. It was originally a peasant dish made by farmers wanting to utilize ripe summer produce. It combines zucchini and/or yellow squash, eggplant, tomato, and fresh herbs. Presentation can be arranged in a variety of ways, but the dish was traditionally prepared as a stew or soup. (However I personally enjoy this pinwheel plating because it looks just like the presentation from the movie!)
A great benefit of cooking with eggplant is that it is one of very few vegetables that is known to be naturally protected against common pesticides. Observational studies have shown that around 75% of eggplants that were sampled were free from pesticides, and the remaining 25% of those sampled had only 3 residues or less detected. For reference, the produce that proves to be the most susceptible to pesticide residue can hold on to hundreds of different residues!! And the average person has about 29 different pesticide residues within them due to unavoidable remnants inside of the produce they buy.
THE GOOD NEWS IS!! There are many fruits and vegetables that are similar to eggplant in that they are generally resistant to pesticide residue. These produce are called the “Clean 15” and they include things like avocados, sweet corn, pineapple, cabbage, onion, and asparagus. Conversely, “The Dirty Dozen”, which is a list that highlights the produce that is likely to have many pesticides, includes things like strawberries, spinach, kale, apples, and tomatoes (but there are others!) If feasible, we have the option of buying certified organic versions of those fruits and vegetables that are high in pesticides.
For more information on “The Clean 15” and “The Dirty Dozen”, visit www.EWG.com.
ADAPTED FROM ON COOKING
Yield: 16 servings
Prep Time: 20 mins Cook Time: 20 mins Total Time: 40 mins
12 oz onions, medium dice
1 TBSP garlic, chopped
4 fl oz olive oil
6 oz green bell pepper, medium dice
6 oz red bell pepper, medium dice
12 oz eggplant, medium dice
8 oz zucchini, medium dice
24 oz crushed tomatoes
1 oz fresh basil, chiffonade
Salt & pepper
Sauté the onion and garlic in the oil.
Add the bell peppers, eggplant and zucchini and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes.
Add crushed tomatoes, basil, and seasonings. Sauté for 5 minutes, adjust seasonings if necessary.