Looking for a spicy savory sweet utterly fantastic vegetarian main dish for Thanksgiving?????
I got you.
This Ethiopian twist on a French classic will have your mind blown.
Ratatouille is a vegetarian casserole that is traditionally made by cooking late summer produce (eggplant! tomatoes! bell peppers!) together to form a thick and hearty stew. This version veers a little bit more towards fall with the inclusion of sweet potatoes, while also simplifying things by having you roast all of the veggies in the oven rather than cook them in batches on the stovetop. This helps to concentrate their flavors while also dirtying fewer dishes – LOVE.
Prior to roasting, the veggies are tossed with berbere, which is an Ethiopian spice blend that carries a big kick of chili heat along with lots of warm spice flavor. I used a premade mix from Penzey’s that I had in my pantry but if you have a well-stocked spice cabinet you can probably make your own. There are plenty of recipes around the internets for guidance.
After cooking, the veggies are tossed with a sweet and savory marinade of maple syrup, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and nigella seeds. This adds a whole lot of umami and brings the dish together. A quick coconut cream and cucumber sauce helps to temper the spiciness and adds fresh contrast to the meal.
I served it over a bed of Israeli couscous, but just about any grain or even a big hunk of crusty bread would be great for soaking up its sauciness.
- 2.5 lb eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 4 mixed red and yellow bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 lb sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
- 2 tbsp berbere spice mix
- ¾ cup + 2 tbsp olive oil
- ¾ tsp kosher salt
- ⅓ oz fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 7.5 tsp maple syrup
- 10.5 oz cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 tsp nigella seeds
- 1 cucumber, grated
- ¾ cup cilantro, minced
- 1 oz fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- ⅔ cup coconut cream
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- Heat oven to 450F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, toss the eggplants, peppers, sweet potatoes, berbere, olive oil, and salt together. Spread on the prepared baking sheets in an even layer. Place in the oven and roast for 40 minutes, stirring halfway through. Once cooked, return to a large bowl and toss with the ginger, garlic, soy sauce, maple syrup, cherry tomatoes, and nigella seeds.
- Place the grated cucumber in a clean kitchen towel or cheesecloth and squeeze out as much water as possible. Place the dry cucumber in a large bowl and mix with the cilantro, ginger, coconut cream, lime juice, and salt. Season to taste with salt.
- Serve the ratatouille on a bed of couscous or rice and top with the coconut cream