Spicy ratatouille was one of those lovely food accidents! I’m not the best at planning—but the flip side is that I sometimes combine foods that I would not normally put together. So, a while back, I was wondering what to do with some cooked butternut squash, an aubergine and a couple of courgettes that all needed to be used. What could I cook with these? Ratatouille sprang to mind, but what, I wondered, would it be like if I added the butternut squash too? Only one way to find out…
Adding the butter squash to this classic French dish would make it milder, so I also decided to add some spices to give it some pep. It made a delicious meal – so here it is!
Ingredients for spicy ratatouille
Make 2-4 portions (depending on whether it’s a main meal or a side dish)
1 rounded teaspoon of solid coconut oil
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
1 medium red onion roughly chopped
2 courgettes – cut into thick slices
1 aubergine – quartered, then sliced to the same thickness as the courgettes
roughly 1 small butternut squash (cooked)
1 tin chopped tomates
½—1 teaspoon of dried crushed chillies (or use ½ fresh red chilli finely chopped if you have it available)
2 teaspoons sun-dried tomato paste (I use Zest of Gia)
When I first made this spicy ratatouille, I had some left-over cooked butternut squash – and I’ve nearly always got some I the freezer. But if you don’t have this, first peel and deseed your butternut squash. Cut the flesh roughly into 2 cm cubes. Add to boiling water and boil for about 5 minutes. Drain, put to one side – ready for the dish.
Add to a wok or large saucepan, the teaspoon of coconut oil. Place on the hob and turn up the heat. When the oil is melted and beginning to get hot, add the garlic and cumin seeds. Sizzle for 30 seconds. Add the red onion to the pan. Turn the heat down a little, and allow the onion and spices to cook for approximately 5 minutes. Stir regularly. When the onion has become translucent, add the aubergine and courgettes and cook for another 5 minutes. Stir the mixture so it cooks evenly. Now add the butternut squash, the tinned tomatoes, the crushed (or fresh) chillies and the tomato paste. Fill the tomato tin half full of water, now add this too to the pan. Bring to the boil. Now turn down the heat to its lowest setting. Let the ratatouille gently bubble for 25 minutes. Give it just an occasional stir during this time.
When cooked, the vegetables will have become softened and will have absorbed the delicious spicy, tomatoey flavours. Enjoy as a side dish, eat it by itself, or sprinkle with a cheese such as parmesan or cubes of feta. Grind a little black pepper over the cooked dish.
Eat Well—Be Well 😊