You know how certain foods are memory triggers? Well, ratatouille with couscous will forever remind me of a small gathering of friends, lively conversation, laughter, flickering candles, and stories… fascinating tales that make you homesick for places you’ve never been.
I had ratatouille for the first time not too long ago…
It was a ‘welcome back’ dinner for a friend’s mom who’d come home from travelling the world; we ate roasted ratatouille on a bed of saffron laced couscous.
This French vegetable stew with its vibrant colours and complex flavours… it’s all I talked about for weeks, until @adjoa took pity on me and started making this version of ratatouille – she got the recipe from a French newsletter and adapted it to include chickpeas.
And when she occasionally makes this, it’s a delight; earthy chickpeas and a melange of vegetables simmered and stewed – it’s fresh, simple and tasty, full of happy memories.
To make the couscous that accompanies this ratatouille, bring 1 cup of water to a boil, stir in 1 cup of couscous, a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of butter or olive oil. Remove from heat, cover and let the couscous sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve
Chickpea Ratatouille with Couscous
- 2 – 3 tablespoons olive oil, enough to cover the bottom of your saucepan/skillet
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 bell peppers (red/green), cored and seeded, julienned
- 1 eggplant, julienned
- 2 zucchinis, julienned
- 2 carrots, julienned
- 5 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (optional, for heat)
- 1 cup of cooked chickpeas
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Heat 2 – 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan or skillet and sauté onions, garlic and bell peppers over medium heat for a few minutes
- Add eggplant, zucchini, carrots and tomatoes, cook for about 5 – 7 minutes stirring and turning until vegetables are browned and tender
- Stir in parsley, cilantro, curry powder, cayenne pepper and chickpeas
- Add salt, stir and check seasoning
- Cover, simmer over low heat for up to 30 minutes or until the mixture thickens
- Serve with a side of couscous and enjoy!