Roasted Ratatouille

When life seems crazy busy and time is at a premium, don’t succumb to the drive thru. Instead cook ahead and then use a master recipe to create several meals. Ratatouille is more than a classic movie about a gourmet rat. This one pot dish is the perfect do-ahead and may be served all on its own as a vegetarian offering or combined with grilled chicken, meat or fish for a heartier meal; or serve hot, warm or cold as a side dish, over pasta or as a topping for homemade pizza.

3 Japanese eggplant, unpeeled cut into 1/4-inch slice
3 medium zucchini, cut crosswise into 3/4-inch slices
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 Vidalia onions, thin sliced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound button mushrooms, halved or quartered
2 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 whole firm but ripe tomatoes, sliced
2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf Italian parsley, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

1. Place eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers and onion in a roasting pan lined with parchment paper. Place in a preheated 400-degree oven and roast for 20 minutes until vegetables are lightly browned. An easy alternative method of cooking is to cut veggies into larger pieces and place them on a grill grid and grill for six to eight minutes a side over medium high heat until lightly browned. Reserve.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. When hot, add mushrooms and garlic; cook for just a minute or two.

3. Stir in tomatoes, roasted or grilled vegetables, any juices that have gathered and the herbs

4. Continue to cook for another 10 minutes. Add sea salt and pepper to taste. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.

5. Ratatouille keeps in the fridge for about a week; freezes well for up to six months and reheats well on the stove top, oven or microwave.

Heidi Billotto is a culinary expert who hosts cooking classes throughout the Charlotte area. Find more at