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Ratatouille Lentil Stew

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Lentils turn ratatouille into a main course.

“When summer’s vegetables are at their best, ratatouille is a lovely addition to the table: thick, mellow, soft and bursting with flavor without bragging,” writes Joy Bauer in “Slim & Scrumptious.” “My version features all of the usual suspects – tomato, eggplant, zucchini and bell peppers – but also introduces nutrient-rich lentils, which turn this traditional side dish into a satisfying main meal.”

Ratatouille Lentil Stew

1 small eggplant, cubed
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 zucchini, cubed
1 yellow summer squash, cubed
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery ribs, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup no-salt-added tomato paste
1 cup lentils, rinsed
4 cups unsalted or reduced-sodium vegetable broth
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Juice of 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Divide the eggplant, bell peppers, zucchini and yellow squash between two large baking sheets, and spread the vegetables out into a single, even layer on each sheet. Coat the vegetables liberally with oil spray, and then sprinkle the oregano and rosemary evenly over them.

Roast the vegetables for 30 to 40 minutes or until tender, stirring them about halfway through.

While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the soup base: Liberally coat a large pot with oil spray, and preheat it over medium-high heat.

Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic to the pot. Sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened, adding a tablespoon of water at a time as necessary to prevent scorching.

Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes.

Add the lentils, vegetable broth, 1 cup water and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.

Add the roasted vegetables to the pot and stir thoroughly to combine. Simmer, covered, for another 10 minutes or until the lentils are tender.

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Taste for seasoning and add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, if desired. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls.

Nutrition information: 383 calories, 21 g protein, 69 g carbohydrate, 6 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 cholesterol, 18 g fiber, 740 mg sodium

Makes 4 servings.

From “Slim & Scrumptious” by Joy Bauer

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