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Esalen Farm and Garden Ratatouille

This is a quintessential summertime meal. Here at Esalen, we are lucky to have an amazing farm and garden growing most everything we need for this dish. You can achieve the same sense of place by going to your local farmers market, where many of the farmstands will have all of these ingredients, beautifully fresh and ripe, and harvested from one farm. Serve this with baked or soft polenta, and goat cheese or parmigiano-reggiano.

Serves 4


  • 1 Zucchini, cut into ½ in. dice
  • 1 Eggplant, cut into ½ in. dice
  • 1 Green bell pepper, cut into ½ in. dice
  • 1 Red bell pepper, cut into ½ in. dice
  • 4 cups chopped ripe tomatoes
  • 1 medium red onion, small diced
  • 1 Tbs minced garlic
  • 1 bunch basil
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil


  1. Make a soffrito. 
    • In a small saucepan, heat 1 Tbs of olive oil, cook the onion until softened. 
    • Add the garlic, cook until fragrant. 
    • Add 2 cups chopped tomatoes, reduce heat to low, cook slowly until tomatoes have broken down and reduced and are almost dry.
    • Remove to a bowl and reserve.
    • Rinse and wipe the pan.
  2. Cook the vegetables.
    • In the small saucepan, heat 1 Tbs of oil, sauté the zucchini until golden in color and tender. Remove from pan and reserve.
    • Repeat with eggplant and bell peppers, seasoning each veg. with salt and pepper.
  3. Assemble the dish.
    • Return all of the vegetables to the pan.
    • Add the soffrito, thyme, and the remaining 2 cups of tomatoes.
    • Simmer everything together for 5 minutes, add the basil, drizzle on some more olive oil, and serve.


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