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Enjoy summer vegetables in an easy pasta dish

Happy summer!

What a wonderful time of year to bring home many earthly treasures of fresh homegrown fruits and vegetables. When you take great seasonal ingredients and pair them with some pasta and sauce, you have a complete flavorful meal.

This vegetable ratatouille dish is not only delicious but also healthy. The combination of roasted vegetables, nutty whole wheat pasta and a rich yet light tomato sauce is simply perfect.

I topped this dish off with homemade vegan Parmesan made with only a few simple ingredients. If you do not want to make or buy the vegan parmesan cheese as a topping, you can use cow’s milk Parmesan if you are a vegetarian. This dish is affordable, light, full of flavor and healthy. It can be served hot, room temperature or cool. This pasta meal is wonderful to pack up for a picnic, hike or for a light summer evening meal.

Chef’s note: You can also serve this pasta dish as a side with your favorite grilled protein.

Vegetable Ratatouille Pasta with Vegan Parmesan

1 pound whole wheat pasta

1 28-ounce can of whole San Marzano tomatoes

1 medium-size eggplant (If fresh, not peeled.)

1 small zucchini

2 cups cherry tomatoes

1 red bell pepper

1 small red onion

4 cloves of garlic, finely minced

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (to roast your vegetables)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (for your sauce)

Small bunch of fresh basil; leaves gently torn

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon dry thyme

¼ teaspoon of chili flakes

1 teaspoon salt plus more for seasoning

½ teaspoon black pepper

Vegan Parmesan, homemade or store-bought

Parsley, optional garnish

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Dice eggplant and zucchini into large one-inch pieces. Place cut vegetables onto a sheet pan lined with a paper towel. Then sprinkle one teaspoon of salt over the veggies and toss them together. The salt will draw out some of the moisture from the eggplant and zucchini. Let sit for 15-20 minutes.

Dice your onion and pepper the same size as the eggplant and zucchini and place them into the roasting tray. When your salted vegetables are ready, pat them dry and put on your roasting tray. Add cherry tomatoes along with 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the baking tray. Sprinkle on some salt and pepper. Roast the vegetables for about 45 minutes.

While your veggies are roasting you can make your tomato sauce.

Puree tomatoes and set aside. In a large, deep skillet, place in the remaining olive oil, garlic, oregano, thyme and chili flakes. Heat the skillet over medium heat. Cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the garlic is fragrant. Add the pureed tomatoes and bring the sauce to a simmer. Turn the heat down to low and cook for 15 minutes. Add roasted vegetables to your sauce.

Cook over low heat for 10-15 more minutes. Lastly add in your torn basil. Cook your pasta to al dente in lightly salted water, reserving ¼ cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain pasta and mix gently into your sauce. Add enough reserved pasta water to make the sauce your desired consistency.

Vegan Parmesan cheese

1 cup of raw cashews

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

½ teaspoon of salt

½ to 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Process all of the vegan Parmesan ingredients together until fine. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Sarah Schweitzer is dual-certified in Culinary Arts and Baking & Pastry from the Escoffier School of Culinary Arts. Sarah is currently working as a Sous-Chef at Ateira’s on First and has her own blog simplysarah.online. She can be reached at sarah.schweitzer18@gmail.com.

Vegetable ratatouille pasta