I love ratatouille, a classic vegetable stew hailing from the Provencal region of southern France near the Mediterranean Sea. To make these colorful and healthy veggie stacks, I used many of the seasonal vegetables and flavorings you would find in a ratatouille—eggplant, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes and onions, infused with olive oil and fragrant with garlic and Provencal herbs.
I grilled the vegetables, instead of stewing them, with great results.
Serve these festive Mediterranean vegetable stacks with some crusty garlic bread and Israeli couscous and you have a light and healthy summer time meal. Enjoy!
- 1/3 to 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium eggplants, cut crosswise into ½ inch pieces
- 2 zucchini, cut crosswise into ½ inch pieces
- 4 tomatoes on the vine, cut crosswise into ½ inch slices
- 2 yellow peppers, sliced crosswise into ½-inch pieces
- 2 medium red onions, cut crosswise into ½ inch slices
- onion powder
- garlic powder
- ½ pound sliced mozzarella or fontina cheese
- 2 tablespoons chives, snipped
- 2 tablespoons parsley, minced
- fresh basil, for garnish
Before you begin, brush some oil onto your barbecue or grill, or spray with Pam. Turn on your barbecue to preheat a few minutes before grilling the vegetables. Have a dozen 4 to 5 inch skewers ready.
Brush olive oil onto both sides of all the cut vegetables—eggplants, zucchini, tomatoes, yellow peppers, and red onions. Season both sides of the cut vegetables with the salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder. Place the vegetables on the barbecue and grill for 5 to 10 minutes, turning once. Some of the vegetables, such as the tomatoes, will get done sooner than the others. Keep an eye on them—they should have nice grill marks on both sides when they are done.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
To build the vegetable stacks, place one slice of eggplant on the bottom of a greased baking pan. Arrange a few zucchini rounds on top of the eggplant. Continue layering the vegetables—tomatoes, pepper, and red onions. You can repeat the layering and make a higher stack, or just use each of the grilled vegetables once for a shorter stack. Just make sure to top each stack with the grilled eggplant. Place the sliced mozzarella on top of the pepper, then place another slice below the top layer of eggplant. Secure the vegetable stack with skewers. Repeat with the remaining grilled vegetables. Place in the preheated oven for about 5 minutes until the cheese has melted. Sprinkle with chopped chives and/or parsley and garnish with a fresh basil sprig. You should end up with 6 to 8 vegetable stacks.