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Layered Ratatouille with Cashew "Ricotta"


Prep Time

30 minutes

Prep Notes

You can make the ricotta ahead of time to save time on the preparation.

Cooking Time

45 minutes

Yields

6-8 servings

Ingredients

Cashew Ricotta:

1 cup cashews, soaked in water overnight

juice of 1/2 lemon

salt to tase

Veggies:

1 small eggplant

1 zucchini

1 summer (yellow) squash

1 long red bell pepper (can also use yellow, green or orange)

fresh thyme and basil (for garnish)

salt and pepper

Meat:

1 lb. grass fed ground beef

1 small onion, chopped

2 tbsp olive oil divided

1 cloves garlic

1 tbsp dry basil

1 tsp dry oregano

1 tsp dry thyme

1 14 oz. can pureed tomato, with 3 tbsp reserved for topping (I use Glen Muir Fire Roasted)

1 6 oz. can tomato paste

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)


Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 ° F.  Grease a 9" by 10-12" casserole dish with olive oil.
  2. To prepare cashew ricotta:  Drain water from cashews that have been soaking for at least 4 hours.  Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend at high speed until creamy and the consistency of ricotta cheese.  Set aside.
  3. Prepare meat:  Heat a saute pan with 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat.  When hot, add onions and garlic and saute until onions are soft. Add ground beef and break into small pieces with a wooden spoon.  Cook until no longer pink.  Add spices and tomato sauce.  Simmer a few minutes longer.  Set aside.
  4. To prepare veggies:  Wash and trim ends off of squash, zucchini, pepper, and eggplant.  Using a mandolin,slice lengthwise into 1/8 inch strips. 
  5. To assemble the ratatouille:
  • Layer the meat mixture on the bottom of the casserole dish.
  • Using a large spoon, evenly distribute dollops of the ricotta over the meat mixture.  Lightly smooth out the cheese into an even layer.
  • Alternating the vegetables and starting from the out edge of the dish, begin to overlap and spiral the veggies inward towards the center of the dish (see illustration). 
  • Top with reserved tomato puree, chopped fresh basil (about 4 leaves) and thyme

     6.  Bake 45-50 minutes until vegetables are softened and sauce is bubbling.

Notes