Quinoa Ratatouille

Ratatouille is a vegetable dish that comes from the south of France and can be served as a side dish or as a main over rice, pasta, or other grain. Tomatoes are the key ingredient, but also includes other nightshades like eggplant, bell peppers as well as onions and lots of fresh herbs (traditionally Herbs de Provence).  It gets better and better each day as leftovers as the flavors really meld together, so make a big batch and keep on hand for your week! I had leftover brown rice on hand so I combined that with some black quinoa when originally creating this dish. You can also simplify by using just one grain of choice, as I have directed below. Farro, rice, barley could all also work well with this.

Quinoa Ratatouille

{Yield: About 4}

1 cup black quinoa

extra virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 tsp agave (or other sweetener of choice)

2 shallots, peeled and chopped into small wedges

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 punch red pepper flakes

1/2 eggplant, peeled and diced

3 small zucchini, diced into small half-moons

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

1 handful fresh parsley, chopped

1 handful fresh basil, chopped

1 scallion, thinly sliced

sea salt and black pepper

small splash white wine, or cooking wine

juice from 1/2 lemon

Place the quinoa in a small sauce pan and dry toast a few minutes until it starts to squeak when stirred with a wooden spoon. Add 2 cups water. Bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer, cover and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Take off the heat and sit for another 5 minutes. Stir in a couple of Tbsp olive oil, the vinegar, agave, and a pinch of sea salt. Set aside.

Heat a good drizzle of olive oil in a medium saute pan on medium heat. Add the garlic, shallots and a pinch of red pepper flakes to the pan and saute until translucent. Turn up the heat to about medium high. Add the eggplant and zucchini and saute until browned. Add the tomatoes to the same pan and continue cooking for another 10, until all is cooked through. Add the splash of wine to deglaze the pan, picking up any brown bits from the bottom with a wooden spoon.

Add half the quinoa to the vegetable pan and stir to combine. Take off the heat. Add more quinoa, if necessary. Add some parsley, basil and scallion and a little more balsamic, sea salt and black pepper, if necessary, tasting as you go. Toss to combine.

Transfer to a serving bowl.  Top with more fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon. Serve at room temperature.

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