Eggplants thrive in the heat of Iowa’s summers and are an incredibly versatile treat from summer to fall. They can be grilled like Portobello mushrooms for a meaty vegan main course, or sauteed alone or with other veggies and tofu in sweet coconut aminos and served over rice for a light yet satisfying and delicious meal. When simmered on low, they delicately dissolve into a smooth, sumptuous stew. This version of ratatouille leans saucy, bringing out that delectable melting quality. It’s perfect for freezing or canning to savor summer flavors well into the winter.
Variation: For a less soupy interpretation, simply use 1 cup less tomato, 1 cup less onion, ¼ cup oil, and add 1 cup more summer squash. You can also wait to add the tomatoes until the end.
To maximize sauciness, use a deep pot. To minimize sauciness, use a large shallow pan or wok to accelerate evaporation. (Also, when cooking a tomato-rich dish, best to avoid using cast iron.)
½ cup olive oil
3 cups tomatoes, sliced or quartered & halved
4 cups thinly sliced eggplant
2 cups onion, chopped
3 cups thinly sliced summer squash (zucchini, yellow crookneck, etc.)
2 Tbsp. dried rosemary
½ Tbsp. dried oregano
½ cup fresh basil
1 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic (optional)
- In a large pot, add olive oil, onion, garlic, rosemary, and oregano. Saute until onions start turning translucent and begin to sizzle.
- For maximum sauciness, add tomatoes next. (For a less saucy version, add summer squash and eggplant & saute.)
- Once tomatoes begin to disintegrate, stir in eggplant & squash. Allow to simmer until eggplant dissolves. (For a less saucy version, once squash & eggplant have cooked through, add tomatoes and herbs, and turn up heat, stirring quickly.)
- Serve & enjoy!
Dominica Borg currently works and learns at Pickle Creek Herbs. Her interest in agroecology has taken many forms, including planting a small perennial food forest, organizing workshops for adults, and teaching gardening and cooking classes to young people.