So, I've been on the hunt for a good way of making ratatouille lately. I had tried it many many years back when I was a brand new mother. But, it didn't turn out at all the way that I had wanted. It soured my opinion on ratatouille and eggplant for years to come. Eggplant is not my most favorite vegetable, but ratatouille is one way that I will eat it.
I think that I'll eat almost anything if it's got pasta sauce and/or zucchini involved.
A few weeks back, I had tried this recipe out while my grandmother was still visiting. It got rave reviews from around the table. As it turns out, I got an eggplant and an acorn squash in my most recent local produce box, and knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. Another ratatouille!
As I was doing some initial research a few weeks ago, I noticed that so many of the recipes out there start out with cans of tomatoes and then add in a ton more spices and vegetables to it. I sat there wondering... why not just make it easy on yourself and use a low sodium spaghetti or marinara sauce that you could punch the flavors up on?
So, that's what I did.
I also wanted to be extra sure that eggplant got cooked, and cooked well because I cannot stand the undercooked texture of an eggplant. To solve that problem, I again made use of my slow cooker. Why not? It's a set it and forget it sort of dish. Easy peasy!
Oh, and that polenta there? It's completely amazing. I fell in love with creamy polenta a few months ago and haven't looked back since. I keep finding ways to use it in meals because it's so easy and so so good. Plus, it makes me feel all fancy like.
Now, I used an acorn squash in this recipe, but really only because I had it on hand. You could substitute that out for another zucchini or two.
The eggplant comes out nice and creamy in this recipe, the way that eggplant is supposed to be in my mind. So, if you're like me and tend to be a little eggplant shy - trust me - you'll find a way to love it here!
Easy Ratatouille & Cheesy Parmesan Polenta (Crock Pot)
Servings: 4 • Size: About 1 1/2 Cup Ratatouille + 1/2 C. Polenta • Calories: 334.1 • Fat: 6.4 g • Carb: 59.3 g • Fiber: 10.3 g • Protein: 14.4 g • Sugar: 11.5 g • Sodium: 738.8 mg
1 Large Eggplant, Cut into 1" Cubes
1 Acorn Squash, Seeded & Cut into 1-2" Pieces (I left the skin on mine.)
1 Large White Onion, Chopped
1 Zucchini, Sliced
1 Green Bell Pepper, Chopped
1 (25 Oz.) Jar Spaghetti Sauce (Mine was organic and 45 calories a serving.)
1 Garlic Clove, Minced
Salt & Pepper to Taste
Cheesy Parmesan Polenta:
4 - 6 C. Water, Divided
1/2 Tsp. Salt
1 C. Yellow Cornmeal
2/3 C. Grated Parmesan Cheese
Salt & Pepper to Taste
Toss everything for the ratatouille into the crock pot.
Yes. It's a very full crock pot and it doesn't seem like there's enough sauce. But, trust me... it all works out.
Cover and cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 6-8 hours.
I stir mine intermittently through the day just to be sure everything is cooked evenly.
About 20 minutes before you're ready to eat, bring 4 cups of water and salt for the polenta to a boil.
Reduce the heat to simmer and whisk in the cornmeal.
Simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring often to keep from scalding on the bottom.
If the polenta starts to get too thick add in more water about 1/4 - 1/2 cup at a time.
Once done, remove from the heat and stir in the cheese immediately.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Divide the polenta evenly among bowls and top with the ratatouille.
Garnish with a sprinkle of more parmesan if desired and enjoy!