Thursday, July 23, 2015

Grilled Ratatouille

Seasonal. Colorful. Healthy. Tasty. Friends. Family. Feel good. Outside. Love. Fresh. Easy. Good. Summertime.

Those are some of the words that come to mind when I think of grilling.  And at our house, we don't hesitate to throw anything on the grill, from your standard burgers and fresh fish and chicken, to fruit and veggies, to pizzas, and even salad!  Grilling is just... fantastic!

When the The Produce Box delivered a box full of eggplant, zucchini, pepper, and tomatoes, I immediately thought of one of my favorite recipes that includes all of those things... ratatouille!  But, with the thermostat creeping up closer and closer to 100 degrees, I didn't want to fire up the oven for roasted ratatouille I typically make.   Instead, we fired up the grill and got the veggies going to perfection!

First,heat your grill- we are looking for medium-high heat and an even flame.  Then, slice the eggplant, zucchini and peppers.  Chop the onions and thread onto a skewer, along with some cherry tomatoes.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and salt.

You will need to cook the veggies in shifts, unless you have a really big grill!  I started with the eggplant and onions.  The eggplant will only need about 3 minutes per side, but I left the onions on there throughout the duration of cooking all the vegetables so that they would be nice and tender and caramelized.

 After taking off your grilled eggplant, move onto the zucchini, peppers and tomatoes.  The zucchini and peppers took about 3-4 minutes per side.  The tomatoes cook quickly, no more than 5 minute total.

After taking all your veggies off the grill, let them cool slightly before chopping into bite-sized pieces.  Chop some fresh summer herbs to add to the mix (I used about 1/2 cup total of freshly chopped parsley, basil and oregano).  Finish off with about 2Tb high quality balsamic vinegar.

Sweet and smoky perfection...

Grilled Ratatouille
2 Eggplant, sliced into 1/2 inch rings
2 peppers, halved lengthwise
2 zucchini, halved lengthwise
1 sweet onion, chopped and skewered
1 pint cherry tomatoes
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper
3-4Tb chopped fresh basil
3-4Tb chopped fresh parsley
1 sprig fresh oregano, leaves removed
2Tb balsamic vinegar

1. Heat grill to medium high heat.
2. Drizzle vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and salt.
3. Cook vegetables on preheated grill.  Eggplant need about 3 minutes per side.  Peppers and zucchini need about 3-4 minutes per side.  Tomatoes cook quickly, about 4 minutes total, turning skewers to evenly roast.  Onions need the longest, about 10-15 minutes, turning the skewers to get an even browning.  
4. After veggies are removed from heat and have a chance to cool slightly, chop the onions, peppers, zucchini and eggplant into bite-sized pieces.  Stir in tomatoes, fresh herbs and balsamic.  
Enjoy with a healthy grilled protein such as chicken, fish, lean meat or vegetable burger (see my recipe for black bean burgers)!