The term seasonal gets bandied about a lot these days, and for good reason. Seasonal eating means preparing food at its peak of nutrition, and at its natural harvest time. If you visit the farmstands and farmers' markets in my part of New England this week, you'll find eggplant, tomatoes, green pepper, onions, garlic and zucchini. Put them together in this ratatouille soup, with my secret weapon -- a rind of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese -- or go vegan and cheese-free. Add mushrooms, or some local corn, if you wish. Eating doesn't get more seasonal than this.
This recipe originally appeared on Soup Chick. Serves 4-6.
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 eggplant (approx. 12 oz), peeled and cut into 2x1/4-inch strips
1 zucchini, cut into 2x1/4-inch strips
1 cup chopped green beans (cut into 2-inch lengths)
1/2 green (or red) bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, cut into 2x1/4-inch strips
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
1 Tbsp minced fresh oregano
1 tsp sugar, or to taste
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper, or more to taste
1 small Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind (omit for vegan soup)
1 cup vegetable stock or water
2 tomatoes, diced
1 Tbsp minced fresh basil
Kosher salt, to taste
Shredded Cheddar, Monterey Jack or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for garnish (optional)
In a Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent. Stir in the eggplant, zucchini, green beans, bell pepper and garlic. Sprinkle the vinegar over the vegetables. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes to "sweat" and soften the vegetables.
Stir in the tomato sauce, oregano, sugar, pepper and cheese rind (if using). Add half of the vegetable stock. Increase heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to simmer; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
Add the remaining stock, chopped tomatoes and fresh basil, and season to taste with kosher salt (if you've used a cheese rind, you'll need less salt, so taste before you season).
Serve hot, topped with shredded cheese and/or more fresh basil.
More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Roasted eggplant spread with garlic, pepper and onions
Cold aubergine salad
Slow cooker ratatouille
Tomato, zucchini, white bean and basil soup
Roasted vegetables with yogurt and fresh tomato sauce
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Grilled eggplant, grape tomato, and feta salad with amazing basil, parsley, and caper sauce, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Easy baked eggplant parmigiana, from Food Blogga
Eggplant with tomato, garlic and mint, from eCurry
Moroccan chicken with eggplant tomato jam, from Former Chef
Roasted eggplant and tomato soup, from Simply Recipes
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