This is one of my new favorite dinners…Whole30 or not!
It’s rich, hearty, savory, and healthy to boot!
After Drew was born, a bunch of our friends very generously brought meals to get us through the early days with a newborn. It was so nice not to have to worry about cooking while we were getting adjusted to our baby boy!
When my friend Beth offered to bring a dinner, we were right in the middle of our Whole30 experience and I did not want to subject her to the rules of the program, but she asked for the guidelines and insisted on bringing a compliant meal.
WHAT A WONDERFUL TREAT it was not to have to cook for a night when I was already cooking day in and day out to make sure we stuck to the plan.
I had NO IDEA the dinner would be so delicious! I devoured two giant bowls of this incredible Ratatouille on that first night and made a double batch not even a week later because I just couldn’t get enough!
Look at all those gorgeous veggies and that rich broth…
We’re talking onions, garlic, bell peppers, eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes and fresh sausage with fennel.
*In order to make this dish Whole30 compliant, make sure you use sausage free of sugar and other processed ingredients. This can be tricky, so read your labels! Your best bet may be to check out a local “mom & pop” meat market to see if they make their own sausage. We have a local shop that uses only pork, salt, and fennel and it’s perfect for this meal!
The recipe isn’t complicated, but it does take some time, so do yourself a favor and make a double batch. I’ve heard it freezes well, but we haven’t had it last long enough to freeze because I could pretty much eat it for lunch all week long and dinner at least a few times in a row.
Not that I’m an extremist or anything. Lol
Without further ado, here’s the recipe! It’s handed down from my dear friend Beth’s great Aunt Odile :)
- 1 large eggplant
- 1 lb. zucchini
- 1 large onion
- 2 bell peppers (I use 1 green and 1 red or yellow)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 28 oz can Italian tomatoes, crushed, or diced (When I double the recipe I use one can of Italian seasoned tomatoes and one can of Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomatoes)
- 6 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon basil
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 lb. ground beef (much prefer italian sausage, removed from skin and browned like ground beef - be sure to use sugar-free Whole30-compliant sausage if you're doing Whole30)
- PEEL and dice eggplant, then soak 20 minutes in hot, salted water (2 teaspoons salt per large bowl of hot water). Drain well.
- Scrub zucchini and dice medium to small.
- Chop and sauté onion and bell peppers in ¼ cup olive oil until softened.
- Add zucchini, tomatoes and eggplant. Add 6 cloves of finely chopped garlic (I mince mine in a garlic press, don't use the stuff in the jar...it's not the same as fresh!).
- Add basil, oregano, pepper, and 1 teaspoon or more salt.
- Simmer over medium-low to medium heat, uncovered.
- In a separate pan, brown ground beef or italian sausage and drain any excess fat. Add to above ingredients, cover and cook slowly for about 2 hours, or until very thick.
- Can be served over rice or noodles, but is delicious (and Whole30 compliant) on it's own!