Chef Scott For Meatless Monday: Roasted Ratatouille Salad With Barley And Kale.
Okay, so DON’T freak out if today’s recipe seems a little overwhelming.
It’s not - I swear!
In fact, it’s really just a chop n’ drop kinda situation that can come together fairly quickly, even if you’re only semi-organized.
This dish includes my favorite superfood-and-leafy green, KALE, as well as whole grain barley and a whole host of other yummy, antioxidant rich veggies. It’s super-healthy - and super-filling.
Enjoy, my friends!
Take It Away, Chef Scott…..
Have you ever seen the movie, ‘Ratatouille’?
That delightful flick from Pixar, featuring a French rodent with culinary proclivities, warms my heart whenever I think about it. Not only is it about pursuing your passion despite all obstacles (it’s a hard life for a rat in a kitchen), it exposes its audience to the disciplined and inspirational world of cooking. Anything that encourages young people to have a deep appreciation for food is A-OK in my book.
Now, have you ever eaten ratatouille? I haven’t.
I mean, I know it’s a French peasant dish featuring eggplant (or aubergine to our friends on the other side of the pond), zucchini, red peppers, tomatoes, and onions.
There are several ways to prepare it. Some say you simply saute the veggies and serve it as a side dish. Others suggest you make a delicious sauce with the tomatoes, peppers, and onions, layering the eggplant, zucchini, and sauce into a casserole dish and bake it.
I’ve been a little soup-and-stewed out lately, so I thought roasting the ingredients, adding whole grains and some kale, and turning it into a salad (delicious hot or cold) would be a fun variation.
Plus it’s a great way to get the kids involved in the kitchen.
Allow me to explain with some yummy…
Roasted Ratatouille Salad with Barley and Kale
This bright, hearty dish surprised my dinner guests. The zing of lemon plays wonderfully with the earthy vegetables. The addition of barley (or farro if you have a mind to) makes this a filling main course or a great side with fish.
1 1/2 lbs eggplant, cut into 3/4” cubes
3 cups zucchini, cut into 1/2” half moons (about 3 small or 2 medium zucchini)
1 red pepper, seeds removed cut into 1/2” pieces
16 oz cherry tomatoes
1 red onion
4 cloves garlic
8 cups kale (about 1 bunch, stemmed and torn into small pieces)
2 cups cooked barley or farro
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil, plus 2 tsp
1 Tbl Dijon mustard
4 bay leaves
2 sprigs of rosemary
10 sprigs of thyme
1/2 cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
lots of salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 450.
To prepare the zucchini, remove the ends and cut in half lengthwise. Place flat end on your board and slice into 1/2” moons. To prepare the onion, hold furry root end and slice off the opposite end. Cut onion in half and remove skin. Slice off the furry bits, keeping the root still intact, and slice each half into 4 wedges.
Place eggplant, zucchini, onion, pepper, garlic and tomatoes into a large bowl. Drizzle with 2 tsp olive oil, season liberally with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Divide veggies evenly on to two baking sheets lined with parchment paper or foil. This will help them roast, not steam. Create two herb bundles with the rosemary and thyme. Place one on each baking sheet along with 2 bay leaves and 2 cloves garlic. Roast veggies in the oven for about 35-40 minutes, giving them a good stir half way through the cooking time.
While the veggies roast, place kale into a bowl. Add juice of half the lemon and a tiny drizzle of olive oil. Using your hands, squeeze the kale to break down the fibers a bit. This is a great way to involve the kids! Keep mashing on the kale until it reduces in volume by half, turns bright green, and smells a little like bananas. (I know…it’s weird.)
Allow veggies to cool slightly. Discard the herbs and set aside roasted garlic cloves. Once they are cool enough to handle, give them a rough chop and transfer to a food processor or blender. Add mustard, the juice from the remaining half of the lemon, salt and pepper, and process until smooth. With the motor running, add enough olive oil to make a light vinaigrette.
Add roasted veggies, barley, and chopped parsley to the kale, dress with the vinaigrette, and toss to combine. Serve warm or at room temp.
TIP: Veggies and barley can be made up to two days before hand. Store in air-tight container in the fridge, and bring to room temperature before adding the kale.
TIP: When preparing the barley or farro, add a bay leaf to the cooking liquid. I recommend using a good vegetable stock. And, as always, make a double batch to use later on in the week. Most grains will last for a week!
TIP: If you are preparing your grains while the veggies roast, spread out the cooked grain on a baking sheet to help cool faster.