How often have you bought produce from the farmers’ market only to get busy at work, and later discover that once beautiful produce has “died”, untouched, in your crisper?! Same with leftovers…how often have you stored leftovers in the fridge, with the intention of eating them, then promptly forgotten about them—until their pungent stink smacks you in the face when you walk into the kitchen?!
Repurposing leftovers can be a fun challenge.
Too often, things like carrots, celery, the zucchini stubs that I save after making zoodles; jars of organic tomato puree or coconut milk (best used within 7 days) turn into science experiments in my fridge! Usually because I forget about them after using once for a specific dish that I’m cooking!
For the mindful cook, leftover anything (vegetables, meats, stock, herbs) can be a wonderful thing to stretch a frugal food budget.
Classic ratatouille is a warm-weather Provencal stew of vegetables, seasoned with herbs—tomatoes, onions, peppers, zucchini and eggplant. Tomatoes, peppers and eggplant are in the nightshade family; if you have a sensitivity to one or more, you may want to omit or swap out. Here, I’ve simply used leftover vegetables in my fridge—minced carrot and zucchini stubs—in a makeshift “ratatouille”.
1 large onion, minced (apx. 2 cups minced)
2 cups minced carrot
1-1/2 cups minced zucchini
3/4 cup organic strained (pureed) tomatoes
1 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
Celtic sea salt, to taste
You can chop by hand, but I used a large food processor to mince each vegetable separately.
Warm coconut oil in a 2-quart Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot with lid. When oil is hot (but not smoking), add onion. Saute apx. 8 mins. over medium heat, or until softened, stirring frequently.
Add minced carrot and zucchini; saute 1-2 mins. Add organic strained tomatoes, stirring well. Stir in ground cardamom.
If vegetables are sticking to the bottom of the pan, add a little filtered water to de-glaze. Bring vegetable mixture to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook apx. 5 mins. Serve warm.