Provincial Ratatouille with Pistou and Buckwheat Crepes veg, VF, GF
Ratatouille is best made in the late summer and early fall when all of the ingredients used are in season at the same time. The preparation is so simple that the vegetables have nowhere to hide. The vegetables are what make it good. This dish is inherently vegan. The crepes are vegan and gluten free. You can incorporate cheese if you like but it is definitely not necessary. Feeds 6-8 for dinner.
large cast iron or heavy bottomed frying pan (mine is 12 in.)
spatula for serving and flipping crepe
non stick skillet or griddle
for the ratatouille:
2 medium sized zucchini
2 medium eggplant totaling 1.5#
3 medium sized beautiful and ripe tomatoes (can vary colors, incorporate a tomatillo or two)
1 yellow or Spanish onion
1 large clove of fresh garlic
good olive oil
for the pistou:
2c loosely packed leafy herbs of your choice I used mostly basil and some mint
zest of 1 lemon
1/2c or more toasted or raw nuts (I used almonds that I toasted and salted)
good olive oil
for the buckwheat crepe:
1.5c buckwheat flour
.25c brown rice flour
2T cornstarch or arrowroot
1/2t psyllium husk
1T ground flax
1.5c unsweetened vanilla almond milk
.5c unsweetened coconut milk from a can
1T raw cane sugar
1/4 tsp garam masala spice blend (mine was from the spice house that I toasted and ground from whole spices but you can find this blend at most spice shops and some grocery stores)
1/4 tsp salt
1T melted coconut oil (not hot)
high heat rated coconut oil for cooking crepes
Slice the vegetables 1/4 in. thick and layer into the cast iron skillet starting with eggplant and ending with tomatoes. Salt and pepper each layer. Insert the garlic clove whole, peeled and uncrushed into the center of the layers. Pour 5 tablespoons olive oil over the vegetables. Add 1/3c water. Cover and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 2 hours covered.
While the ratatouille is cooking, make your pistou and crepe batter. Take the flax and psyllium for the buckwheat batter and mix it with 3T of the almond milk. Refrigerate. Traditional pistou from the South of France is made with a mortar and pestle, basil, garlic, olive oil. I used a blender and incorporated nuts. Add the nuts to the blender and buzz until finely chopped. Add the herbs, zest, a pinch of salt, a little pepper and about 5T olive oil or more to the blender and blend until all ingredients are emulsified into a sauce. Taste and adjust flavors. Now would be a good time to add grated hard cheese if using.
For the batter, mix dry ingredients with a whisk. Mix almond milk and coconut milk adding the flax and psyllium mixture from the fridge. Add wet to dry and mix to combine. Add the coconut oil last stirring until incorporated. Refrigerate.
Once the ratatouille is done cooking, kill the heat. It is best served warm or at room temp. Turn the griddle to medium high. Once hot add coconut oil. Make round crepes or take a spoon and drizzle it over the griddle to create cool texture and appearance. Check the side facing down for golden color, flip for about a minute, repeat with remaining batter. Use a spoon to spread the pesto in each serving bowl. Add a serving of ratatouille and serve with warm crepes. Enjoy!
**remaining coconut milk can be incorporated into smoothies or diluted with water for cereal, remaining pesto can be stirred into just about anything savory for a flavor boost.