A colorful casserole of vegetables simmered in garlicky tomato sauce and herbs. A wonderfully simple and satisfying vegetarian side dish that’s both comforting and low calorie.
Prep Time:30 mins
Cook Time:30 min
Total Time:1 hour
Yield:5-6 servings 1x
1 large eggplant or 2 small, about 1 ½ pounds
3zucchini, about 1 ½ pounds
1 large yellowonion or two small about ½ pound
3 bell peppers, any color you like, about ½ pound
½cup olive oil
Salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2tablespoons finely minced garlic
4cups drained canned Italian plum tomatoes, chopped or crushed (1 28-ounce can, drained plus 1 14-ounce can, drained)*
4tablespoons tomato paste
4 sprigs of fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
2 teaspoons of herbs de Provence
½cup drained non-pareil capers (the small ones)
Wash the eggplant and zucchini and cut off the ends. Leave the skin on. Cut them into 1-inch cubes. There should be about nine cups of eggplant cubes and six cups of zucchini.
Peel the onions and cut into half-inch dice. There should be about one and one-half cups.
Core, seed and devein the bell peppers, and cut them into one-inch pieces.
Heat the olive oil over high heat in a large heavy casserole or Dutch oven with a lid. Add the eggplant and zucchini. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables start to brown, about five minutes.
Add the onions, bell peppers and garlic. Cook, stirring, over high heat, about two minutes. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste, and stir to blend. Add the bay leaf, thyme, herbs de Provence and capers. Add a bit of salt and black pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes.
A note about canned tomatoes. I always opt for using whole canned tomatoes and chopping or crushing them myself rather than buying canned chopped or crushed tomatoes. I find the quality of the whole tomatoes is better. But if you’re pressed for time and you want to buy canned crushed tomatoes, that’s fine too. If there’s a lot of liquid, drain them in a colander and then measure out 4 cups.