Baked Ratatouille Casserole With Garam Masala Recipe

Recipe developer Tess Le Moing confesses that she's not a huge fan of ratatouille, but adds, "I LOVE Indian curries. So I thought I'd combine the two to make a veggie-packed but flavorful weeknight meal." She got the idea to enhance the classic combination of vegetables in ratatouille with the spicy sweetness of garam masala along with a few other South Asian-inspired ingredients including ginger and chickpeas. The garam masala, she says, "adds warmth to the dish, which complements the ratatouille ingredients nicely."

While traditional ratatouille can take some effort to make, Le Moing says that she designed this one-dish recipe to be a bit simpler. "Instead of keeping an eye on the stove like in most curry or ratatouille recipes, I wanted to develop a recipe with a less hands-on approach. In this recipe, all you have to do is dump all the ingredients in a casserole dish and bake." Once it's done cooking, this casserole would make the perfect side dish for tandoori chicken or tikka masala. It can also stand on its own as a vegan entree if you accompany it with a side of steamed rice, chapati, or crusty French bread. It's also perfect for making ahead of time, since Le Moing assures us that, "Like any stew or curry, this one tastes better the next day once the flavors have had the time to meld."

Collect the ingredients for the baked ratatouille casserole with garam masala

The vegetable medley in Le Moing's ratatouille casserole includes Chinese eggplant, zucchini, red bell pepper, yellow or red onion, canned diced tomatoes, and canned chickpeas. For flavoring, you'll need garam masala, garlic, ginger, and salt, while you should also have vegetable oil for cooking as well as cilantro and lemon for garnishing.

Step 1: Preheat the oven

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Step 2: Put the fresh vegetables in a pan

Add eggplant, zucchini, bell pepper, onion, garlic, and ginger to a 9x11-inch baking dish.

Step 3: Season the vegetables

Toss with oil, Garam masala, and 1 teaspoon salt.

Step 4: Cook the vegetables

Bake for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through until the veggies shrink and soften.

Step 5: Add the canned vegetables and salt

Remove the baking dish from the oven and stir in tomatoes, chickpeas and their liquid, and 1 teaspoon salt

Step 6: Continue cooking the vegetables

Bake for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through until the sauce is slightly thickened.

Step 7: Garnish the ratatouille

Remove from the oven and garnish with cilantro and lemon juice.

Step 8: Serve the ratatouille with rice

Serve the ratatouille with rice or naan.

Baked Ratatouille Casserole With Garam Masala Recipe
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No-fuss one-pan vegan ratatouille is taken to the next level with the warmth of garam masala and the addition of chickpeas for a tasty veggie-packed meal.
Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
1
hour
Servings
4
Servings
vegetable casserole in white pan
Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 small Chinese eggplant, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 small yellow or red onion, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 (½-inch) piece ginger, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  2. Add eggplant, zucchini, bell pepper, onion, garlic, and ginger to a 9x11-inch baking dish.
  3. Toss with oil, Garam masala, and 1 teaspoon salt.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through until the veggies shrink and soften.
  5. Remove the baking dish from the oven and stir in tomatoes, chickpeas and their liquid, and 1 teaspoon salt
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through until the sauce is slightly thickened.
  7. Remove from the oven and garnish with cilantro and lemon juice.
  8. Serve the ratatouille with rice or naan.
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Can I customize the vegetables in this recipe?

Tess Le Moing says that it's best to use fresh, seasonal vegetables in this recipe whenever possible, and she's a fan of shopping at farmer's markets. That being said, the variety of available vegetables is likely to vary depending on when and where you're cooking this dish. That's no problem since you can swap out the vegetables as you see fit — use yellow squash in place of zucchini, substitute a standard globe eggplant for the Chinese (as they're larger, you may only need half), and use green or yellow peppers or even poblano or Anaheim chiles instead of the red bells Le Moing likes to use. You could also toss in a handful of mushrooms for a depth of umami flavor.

You should probably think twice before swapping the canned tomatoes for raw ones, though. Canned tomatoes, when cooked, will nearly always provide more flavor. They're also convenient, long-lasting, and cheap, and since this recipe was designed as a streamlined version of ratatouille this is the perfect time to use them. So save fresh tomatoes for salads and BLTs and use the best-quality canned diced tomatoes for your ratatouille.

What can I substitute for the garam masala?

Garam masala, which means "warming spices," is a spice mix popular in South Asian cooking. Though the blend can vary widely, the mix commonly includes cinnamon and cardamom, which gives it a sweeter flavor than most curry powders. If you have no garam masala on hand, it's not the end of the world, nor will it even necessitate an extra trip to the store. If you have a well-stocked spice cabinet, you can always make homemade garam masala by toasting a combination of cardamom seeds, black peppercorns, cloves, star anise pods, and cumin seeds, then mixing them with cinnamon, coriander, and nutmeg. For a quick and easy shortcut, you can also mix two parts ground coriander with one part cumin, then throw in a pinch each of ground cardamom, cinnamon, and black pepper.

Of course, other spice blends can be used in place of garam masala. For a similar South Asian flavor, you can go with the curry powder of your choice. You could also swap out the seasoning mix for a spicy Ethiopian berbere mix or anise-heavy Moroccan ras el hanout, which would complement the Mediterranean nature of the ratatouille. Even chili powder or taco seasoning, while they'll give your ratatouille more of a southwestern spin, would make for an equally flavorful dish. You could play up on this by leaving out the ginger, adding some diced jalapeňos, and swapping the canned chickpeas for black beans.