Meatless Monday: Bastille Day Edition

Things are really hitting their stride at the Cary Downtown Farmers Market. This weekend I could get all the vegetables I needed to make a traditional French dish in honor of Bastille Day for Meatless Monday–ratatouille!

Ratatouille is a famous dish in Southern France, but it is kind of like chocolate chip cookies–there are a ton of different recipes for it. But I just did the basic cooking the correct vegetables together and called it a day. I got all those vegetables above at the CDFM from Parker Farm, Rob’s Fresh Produce, Sapony Creek, and LB’s Farm. Look at that nice variety of heirloom tomatoes and bell peppers!

My version has all the traditional vegetables for ratatouille, which are tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, onions, and green peppers. I added yellow squash and both shallots and garlic (you can see those at the top). The fancier recipes have you fry each ingredient separately, but I went with the more stewed version that sounded healthier. I did sauté the onions, garlic, shallot, and peppers (all diced), but then I just sliced the tomatoes, squash, and eggplant (I salted them for half an hour beforehand to draw out their water) and cooked them gently for about 20 minutes

Meanwhile, I popped a pound of French lentils into my Instant Pot with garlic and thyme and 6 cups of water, put it on high pressure for 10 minutes, and soon had lentils to go with my ratatouille. I had bought a fresh-baked baguette at a local bakery this morning to soak up the juices.

While everything was cooking I whipped up dessert. I made a French dessert I had never heard of called a Fruit Clafoutis. It was really simple–a batter of milk and eggs from Queen B Farm, sugar, flour, and vanilla, topped with sliced PEACHES (YUM!) from Rob’s Fresh Produce and blueberries from Parker Farm. That went into the oven about the time the ratatouille and lentils were done and had to bake for 50 minutes.

So dinner looked like this:

While dessert ended up looking like this:

The main dishes were vegan and low-fat but high nutrition (well, the bread not so much) and the dessert was heavy with fruit and light on sugar and fat. My son loved it and thought it was amazing because it was able to make even squash taste good (it’s not one of his favorites).

So glad we have a reason to cook this classic French dish right now, because it really makes great use of Farmers Markets produce available right now. Enjoy your celebration!

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