The first task in my Professional Whole-Food Plant-Based cooking course was to prepare and photograph my “Go-To” meal. I’ve found that my “Go-To” meals constantly change with the seasons, my work schedule, as well as, the discovery of new recipes to try. My summer “Go-To” meal was decided by what was available. That means plenty of vegetables, like tomatoes, aubergine (eggplant), zucchini (courgette), capsicum (peppers) and onions. I like being able to distinguish the tastes and textures that preparing some of the ingredients separately gives the dish – you get less of a traditional “ratatouille/stew” and more of an appreciation of the individual components, as you do with a salad.
This salad is inspired by the Ottolenghi recipe for aubergine with saffron yoghurt. I loved the colours!
Recipe – Serves 4-6
- 3 zucchini ( courgette )1 punnet of cherry tomatoes
- 4 baby aubergine(eggplant)
- 2 capsicum
- 1 red onion
- lemon – zest and juice
- 1tsp sumac
- Pinch of saffron – steeped in 30ml boiling water
- 1/2 Cup Cashew yoghurt
- fresh basil
- aged white balsamic vinegar
- 1 pomegranate – optional
Capsicums – roast whole in a hot oven until the skins are blistered. Put in a bowl and cover with cling film. Set aside to cool. When cooled, they should easily peel and deseed. Slice into strips for later. Save the juice left in the bottom of the bowl. You could, of course, buy jarred roasted capsicum.
Zucchini – cut into slices about 6mm thick. Place on a hot grill pan, no oil is necessary if the griddle is hot enough. Leave on the griddle until char-marks appear, then turn over. (Refer to pictures below.)
In a roasting dish, put a selection of whole and halved cherry tomatoes and halved, length-wise, baby aubergines along with cloves of peeled garlic.
Add zest of a lemon, slices of chilli, sumac to the juices from the roasted capsicum (saved earlier) and juice of the lemon.
Pour into the rating dish and toss the vegetables in the mixture. Season with sea salt, this will help release the juices while roasting, creating a basting liquid.
Put into a preheated oven at 200ºC for 10 minutes, then toss the vegetables to ensure even cooking. Turn the oven down to 180ºC for 20-30 minutes until everything is nicely roasted.
While the vegetables are roasting, pickle your red onion and make the dressing.
Slice your red onion into slivers lengthwise, put into small bowl and add 1Tbsp of aged white balsamic vinegar and just enough cold water to cover. With the quick pickling they will change to a pretty pink colour, becoming lovely and sweet. If pickled onions aren’t to your taste, add the raw onion to your vegetables for roasting instead.
Saffron yoghurt dressing – add your pinch of saffron to a tablespoon of boiling water. Once the colours have been released into the water add it to a 1/2 cup of cashew yoghurt. Depending on your cashew yoghurt you may want to adjust the acidity and/or seasoning.
Now you have all the elements of your Roasted Ratatouille Salad.
To assemble your salad, toss/layer the zucchini, capsicum and red onion through the roasted vegetable vegetables. Add the dressing and scatter over pomegranate seeds and basil tips. To make it a compete meal I serve it on a bed of millet, which is a great GF alternative to couscous. Any of your favourite grains could be a great companion for this colourful and tasty salad.