More Vegetables, Please! ~Ratatouille Recipe~

June 20, 2011

Recently the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) revealed a new guideline for daily food recommendations.  Gone is the outdated food pyramid, and in its place is the “plate”.

In my opinion, this shift is one of the more positive updates in public health in recent years.  While time will tell what significance the new recommendations will have, I am thrilled to hear that the USDA is promoting that half of each meal consist of fruits and vegetables.

A huge step in a better direction.

Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, and are relatively low in calories.  Bulking up on fruits and vegetables will properly nourish your body.  A nourished body is satisfied and therefore craves less throughout the day.  When we are full from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein, there is less room in our bellies (and less desire) to indulge in high-calorie, low-nutrient foods.

Whether your goal is to lose weight or live healthfully, I encourage you to get (at least!) a cup of fruit and/or vegetables with each meal.  For those trying to regulate blood sugar levels, a heavier emphasis on vegetables over fruit is recommended.

For most constitutions it is okay to eat more salads and uncooked vegetables in the summer than in the winter due to the additional heat in the air that will help to “cook” and digest our food.  However according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), an overabundance of raw, cold foods can damage the digestive organs leaving one tired, sluggish, bloated, gassy, and with loose stools.  Grilling, steaming, sautéing, and roasting our vegetables help our bodies to breakdown and assimilate all of the vitamins and nutrients without taxing our digestive organs, and these methods should be incorporated throughout the year.

Over the years, I have consistently turned to my own version of a ratatouille to fill me up while keeping caloric intake low.  There is no exact way of making this recipe, and I encourage you to try it even if you don’t consider yourself “a cook.”  When you put good ingredients and good intentions together, it is difficult to go wrong.  Over time you will find your own preferences.  I like to make a big (as big as my pan will hold) batch and eat it throughout the week.

This dish is particularly appropriate for the summer because the main ingredients are in season, and according to TCM, eggplant and zucchini (summer squash) are both cooling in nature.  In addition to increasing one’s intake of cooling foods in the summer, it is wise to avoid over-consumption of warming foods  (ginger, spicy peppers, etc) when the weather is hot.  Eating in accordance with the seasons helps to preserve a healthy yin-yang balance in our bodies.  Try adding a cup of ratatouille to scrambled eggs/egg whites, as a side to any meal, or as a substitute for a pasta sauce.

~Molly’s Version of Ratatouille~

*Heat 1-2 TBS of olive oil in a large pan/skillet (preferably with sides a couple of inches tall) over medium heat.

*Slice 1 large onion into rings and add to heated oil.

*When onion softens, add 3-6 cloves minced garlic (now your home will smell great!)

*Add 2 large diced tomatoes or 1 large can of diced tomatoes (San Marzano are great and my personal favorite!) ***(7/13/17 edit:  since the vegetables give off a lot of water, I like to use a handful of small tomatoes from the garden with a couple of heaping tablespoons of tomato paste.  I add the tomato after garlic/onion and before veggies…delish!!)

*Cook 1-2 more minutes then add 1 eggplant, cubed (skin on) and 3-5 large (or 5-10 small) summer squash/zucchini (green or yellow or both), sliced

*Salt, pepper

*Cover, stirring occasionally, and cook until vegetables soften.

*Salt, pepper (again) and any combination of: dry/fresh basil, oregano, and/or other Italian seasonings

*Reduce heat to low, and stir occasionally until all vegetables are soft and mushy (and will have likely lost their form), and flavors have blended

*Salt, pepper to taste, and enjoy!

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Do you have your own favorite ratatouille recipe that you’d like to share?  Do you have any questions about this post or recipe?  Please leave a comment or email me at mshapiro@MBSAcupuncture.com.

Remember, you are what you eat.

In good health,

Molly

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One Response to “More Vegetables, Please! ~Ratatouille Recipe~”

  1. Sophie Says:

    This is delicious and easy. Everyone should make this!


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