Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Ratatouille & Roasted Cauliflower Quinoa Rice ; DFT


DFT is back just in time at the onset of winters, comfort food and Thanksgiving celebrations!! This month, Team DFT is bringing you meal platters that are healthy and delicious to also celebrate International Diabetes Month!


Creating Recipes with a Cause! I am a proud DFT blogger. To learn about DFT, Read this Linkview more DFT recipes, Click here!

As part of this team, I am bringing you a complete  plate that contains a balanced meal comprising of Ratatouille and Roasted Cauliflower Quinoa Rice and a Salad.






Have you heard of Ratatouille ?? Yes, the movie right?? Everybody is familiar with that movie. The message of the movie is very true: anybody can cook. Did you know that Ratatouille is also the name of a dish?? It is actually a French dish made with summer vegetables like zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers and lots of tomatoes!! I made it with fall vegetables. I used a variety of squashes to make this. It is a super-simple, super-easy dish that is very flavorful and filling. You can pair it with a slice of crusty bread or top it on a cup of rice for lunch/dinner. It is akin to a hearty vegetable stew or the Indian mixed vegetable sambhar without the spices. The thyme and basil make Ratatouille a very flavorful dish. I had fresh basil from the roof-top garden from my work place and therefore was happy to use it. I used dried thyme that I recently got from a middle-eastern market. It is also a one-pot dish which means less pots to wash!


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 Ratatouille 


Servings: 6-8 ( 2 cups per person)


Ingredients:


Zucchini ( green squash): 1, medium
Sphagetti squash ( yellow squash): 1, medium.
Persian squash: 1 medium
Eggplant ( brinjal): 1 small
Carrots: 2, medium
Green Bell pepper ( capsicum): 1, chopped.
Tomatoes: 3-4 big, chopped
Olive oil: 1 tbsp
Onion: 2 big, chopped
Garlic: 4-6 cloves, minced
Thyme: 1 tbsp, chopped if using fresh thyme; 1 tsp if using dried
Basil: 1/4 cup +1 tbsp, freshly chopped
Bay leaf: 1 medium sized
Freshly ground black pepper: 1 tsp ( can be adjusted based on individual spice level)
Water: 1 cup ( you can add more water if you desire a thin sauce).
Salt: to taste
Sugar: a pinch

Method:


Chop all the squashes into 1 inch x1/2 inch pieces and keep aside.




Peel the carrot and cut it into 1 inch long pieces. 

Do the same with eggplant. Take lukewarm water in a pot. Add 1/4 tsp salt to it. Add the chopped eggplant to it. Keep aside.

In a big pot, heat olive oil. Add chopped onions and garlic. Sauté until the onions start to sweat. 


Add the chopped carrots. Sauté for 3-4 mins until the carrots are slightly tender.  

Squeeze the eggplant slices out of the water and add it to the pot. Cover the pot and cook for 5 mins. 





Now add the chopped tomatoes. Let is cooked until partially cooked. 

Add in the bay leaf,thyme and 1/4 cup basil leaves.

Next, add all the chopped squashes one after the other. 




Add salt, sugar, freshly ground black pepper and mix well. 

Add 1 cup water. You can add more water if you desire more sauce. All the squashes tend to leave water and I didn't want my dish too watery. 




Cover the pot and let it simmer for 45 mins, stirring infrequently.



Just before serving, garnish with the remaining chopped basil leaves.



Serve hot with the rice dish.





Roasted Cauliflower Quinoa Rice






Quinoa is a gluten-free, protein-rich superfood that has gained much popularity in recent years. It is now available even in India. However, often, people find it hard to incorporate it into their daily diets due to various reasons that include unfamiliarity with the grain, not liking the taste, not knowing how to cook it, not being able to cook it using Indian recipes and the most important being not being able to substitute it for rice. This was rather hard for me too ! I am a die-hard rice eater. If I don't have rice in at least one of my daily meals, I feel I haven't eaten!! Sounds weird, right??  I love quinoa in my salads and regularly make Quinoa black-bean salad, Quinoa Avocado salad at home which everyone else at home enjoys, but my kids don't eat it. I wanted my kids to start eating quinoa too, so I came up with this brilliant idea of mixing quinoa with regular rice in pulao ( pilaf) and fried rice. I started with 1:2 ratio of quinoa and rice and now I do 1:1 and the kids eat it. This also works for adults. I definitely like it this way and I relish it and I don't miss my rice. This trick reduces my carbohydrate intake while increasing the protein intake. Try this method, I am sure you too will forget that you are eating quinoa!




Servings: 5-6 ( 1 cup per person)


Ingredients:


Uncooked quinoa: 1/2 cup
Water: 1 cup
Salt: 1/4 tsp
Cooked rice: 2 cups
Olive oil: 1 tbsp
Onion: 1 big, chopped
Green chillies: 2, medium ( optional)
Bay leaf: 1 medium-sized
Cauliflower florets: 2 cups
Ginger garlic paste: 1 tsp
Dried Cranberries : 1 tsp
Sugar: a pinch
Salt: to taste
Freshly ground black pepper: 1/4 tsp ( adjust to individual level of desired spice level)

Method:


Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a saucepan. Add the washed quinoa and a pinch of salt to the water, reduce the flame to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Turn off the flame, fluff the quinoa with a fork, cover and keep it for another 10 mins or until ready to use.

In a kadai/ sauté pan,  heat one tbsp of olive oil.

Add the chopped onions, bay leaf, green chillies and sauté until the onions begin to sweat. 

Add in the washed and drained cauliflower florets. Sauté until the cauliflower florets are tender. 



Add in the sugar, salt, black pepper powder, cranberries and mix well. Sauté until the entire mix turns slightly golden in color. Make sure you don't let it get burnt. 




Now add in the cooked rice and cooked quinoa and mix well. 




Serve hot. 


Mixed Salad







Now for the salad, I really just put together some ingredients that I had on hand and used a vinaigrette as a dressing. This is pretty much the Indian Kachumber ( salad). I mixed together cucumber, onion, tomatoes, olives, feta cheese and used a lemon-vinegar-oilive oil-salt-pepper dressing. I also separately served some freshly sliced avocado slices. It was an afterthought. You can mix it in your salad as well.


Servings: 4 ( 1 cup per person)


Ingredients:


Cucumber: 1 medium-sized, de-seeded & chopped.
Tomato: 1 medium-sized, chopped.
Onion: 1 medium sized, chopped
Shredded carrot: 1/4 cup
Olives: 6, sliced
Feta cheese: 1 tbsp
Lemon juice: 2 tbsp
Vinegar: 1 tbsp
Olive oil: 3 tbsp
Salt: 1/4 tsp
Black pepper: 1/4 tsp


Method:


Add all the above ingredients to a bowl. Mix well. 




Serve chilled with rice and ratatouille.


I am bringing this to Throwback Thursday, Angie's Fiesta Friday & Saucy Saturdays. Loretta @ Safari of the Mind and Petra @ Food Eat Love are co-hosting the Fiesta.

Cooking made easy:


Any fall vegetables can be used for the Ratatouille. You can add more or skip some vegetables based on what you have. If you don't have fresh tomatoes, you  can add a can of crushed tomatoes instead of fresh ones. Ratatouille can also be cooked in a slow cooker or crockpot.

For the roasted cauliflower quinoa rice, you can use leftover rice. You can make the quinoa before hand and keep it in the fridge to be used a day or two later. You can increase or decrease the proportion of quinoa used based on your individual preference.

For the salad, you can use any combination of salad ingredients.


Footnotes (Food for thought):



All the vegetables used in ratatouille are rich with essential vitamins and minerals. Did you know that each color of the vegetable is representative of the predominant vitamin that it supplies?? For example: orange colored vegetables are rich in beta carotene. Hence it helps to include a variety of colors in your plate.

Cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower are known for their anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Quinoa is a nutrient- rich superfood that is not only protein-rich, but is so rich in dietary fiber.

All the vegetables used add bulk to the meal, thereby causing satiety, preventing over-eating and also preventing constipation. 

References:

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/colors-vegetables-nutrients-2311.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quinoa
http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4994/7-Benefits-of-Quinoa-The-Supergrain-of-the-Future.html
http://www.livescience.com/50400-quinoa-nutrition-facts.html
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/02/22/cauliflower-health-benefits.aspx
http://www.webmd.com/diet/cauliflower-health-boost


Disclaimer

I am not a nutritionist or dietician. My knowledge and information is based on my research and reading from different resources. Please consult your doctor or dietician before making any changes to your diet.


Other DFT contributors  and their links!





Food for thought:


Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do. Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe