This is my favorite summer dish. I’ve made it countless times this summer and shared my love for it on instagram here and here. I made this dish for my long time veg-head husband (then boyfriend) when we began dating. It was the first vegan dish I made that tasted like nothing was missing. Before I met my husband, meat was a part of every one of my meals (except maybe breakfast). I remember those first few dishes I cooked for him tasted so bland. I blamed it on the missing main ingredient: meat. But after experimenting with more spices, herbs and discovering a new found love for tofu, my tastebuds were transported to a whole new veggie world full of delicious flavors.
This one-pot-dish comes together pretty quickly and easily but has layers of slow-cooked, sophisticated flavors: sweet, fresh tomatoes and basil to start followed by smokey, savory tofu and eggplant all smothered and covered in a garlicky, red wine sauce. Yum!
Start by sautéing the tofu and onions in the spices until onions turn translucent and tofu turns light brown.
Now add the eggplant and sauté a little more.
Add a can of diced tomatoes with chilies. Cover the pan and let simmer on low before adding the fresh tomatoes and basil.
Ingredients for the Ratatouille
1 block of extra firm tofu
1 yellow onion
1 can of diced tomatoes with chilies
3 cups cherry tomatoes
3 handfuls thai basil
4 garlic cloves
3 dashes soy sauce
1 dash liquid smoke (optional)
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1/4 cup red wine
salt and pepper generously
some pepper flakes if you like extra spice
Start by sautéing the tofu in a large pan on high heat with some of your favorite high heat oil (I used rice bran oil). Add all the cumin, curry, liquid smoke and soy sauce and sauté some more. Add the chopped onions and turn down the heat. Sauté until onions are translucent and tofu turns light brown and fragrant. Add the chopped eggplant and sauté a little more. Add a can of diced tomatoes and cover pan with a large lid, keep heat on low. Cook for about 10 minutes. Add the cherry tomatoes, wine, garlic and thai basil and cook with the cover off for another 5 minutes. Salt and pepper generously to taste.
Smaller eggplant have fewer seeds and more of a firm tofu texture so I prefer those for this dish (about 3 small eggplant).
If you don’t have thai basil you can use regular basil.
Feel free to add squash and zucchini to this dish, if you wish.
Photography by Paige Alisa