Recipe: Ratatouille

Late summer veggies combine to make an amazing stew on a evening when you might notice that the sun is setting earlier. Rather than cook all the ingredients together in a single pot, this alternative version of ratatouille oven roasts each veggie separately before putting them all together for the final simmer. This method speeds up the recipe a bit and produces a prettier result as all the ingredients hold their shape and colour better when cooked separately first.


- 1 large or 2 small eggplants
- 2 summer squash (zucchinis or patty pans, or 1 of each)
- 2 medium onions
- 2-3 peppers
- 3 large tomatoes
- 1 bunch basil
- olive oil
- salt


1) Chop eggplant into 1 inch chunks. Place in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Leave to drain while you prep the other veggies. Preheat oven to 450 F.

2) Chop onions and fry in olive oil on high, adding a splash of water when the onions start to stick to the pan. The standard method for caramelizing onions is slow work, so we often use this short cut method to save time.

3) Chop summer squash into 1 inch chunks. Place in a roasting pan, salt light and drizzle with oil. By now the eggplant should be drained so you can drizzle than with oil in a separate roasting pan (so that you don't crowd any of the veggies) and put in the oven.

4) Slice peppers in half and place skin side up on a cookie sheet. Coat with olive oil and put in the oven. The squashes, eggplants and peppers should all take about 15-20 minutes to roast.

5) While the other veggies are roasting, coarsely chop tomatoes and mix with caramelized (or at least cooked down) onions in a pot with a sprinkle of salt. Heat on high until boiling and tomatoes start softening, then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring to break up the tomatoes.

6) Remove roasting pans from the oven when veggies are thoroughly browned. Slice peppers into strips. Mix all into pot with onions and tomatoes.

7) Add basil to pot and simmer on low for 10-15 minutes. Taste and add more salt as needed.

8) Serve with a starch of your choice, like rice or pasta. For this meal, Eric made cornbread triangles to dip into the rich, tomato-based sauce.

Guest Recipe: Late Summer Lasagna

Our second of two recipes from vegan cook extraordinaire: Natalie! This one is my favorite, it's so yummy. Zucchini, patty pan squash and potatoes stand in for the traditional lasagna sheet pasta, making this dish gluten free and loaded with fresh garden flavour. Vegan cashew cheeze holds it all together, but those of us who eat dairy can opt for the more standard ricotta or cottage cheese. I challenge you to try the cashew cheeze if you never have before, its lightly nutty taste works so well with the roasted veggies.


Lasagna "Noodles":

- 2 large pattypan and/or zucchini squash, sliced into 1/2 inch thick sections

- 2 lbs potatoes, washed well and sliced lengthwise into 1/2 inch thick ovals

- olive oil for drizzling

- salt to taste

Tomato Sauce:

- 2 lbs/1 pint Roma or other fresh garden tomatoes

- 1 tsp oregano (fresh or dried)

- 4 cloves garlic, minced

- 1 tsp salt 

- 1/2 tsp black pepper

- 2 tbsp olive oil

Cashew Cheeze (or 2-3 cups ricotta/cottage cheese in it's place):

- 1 cup raw cashews

- 1 block (454 g) Firm or Extra Firm tofu

- 1/2 cup fresh (or 1 tsp dried) basil

- olive oil

- juice of 1 lemon


- 1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes, zucchini, or melty cheese, whatever you'd like!



To prepare noodles:

1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Coat squash and potato slices in olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and place on them on baking sheets.

2. Roast at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until slightly browned. You may have to do this in batches depending on the size of your slices or if you only use one baking sheet.

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce:

1. Chop tomatoes and set in a colander (in a bowl or the sink) with about 2 tablespoons of salt for 15 minutes. This should reduce the juice...and don't worry, most of the salt will drain with the juices.

2. Once they are ready, coat a medium sized heavy bottomed saucepan with the oil and set to medium/high heat.

3. Add garlic and cook until just fragrant, then add oregano, salt, pepper, and the tomatoes. Simmer for 15 minutes or until desired consistency is reached. If desired, blend with an immersion blender to eliminate any remaining chunks or skin.

Lastly, ready the cashew cheeze:

1. Place the cashews, garlic, salt and oil in a food processor or blender and process into a paste. Add the tofu and lemon juice and blend until the mixture reaches a spreadable consistency. Adding water is sometimes necessary depending on the type of tofu used.

2. Once smooth, add the basil and pulse to chop and combine.

Now put it all together:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 9 x 11 pan. 

2. Layer the lasagna. First a layer of squash to cover the pan. Make sure to cover the pan completely.

3. Next all of the potatoes.

4. Half of the cheeze/cheese.

5. Half of the sauce.

6. The remaining squash.

7. The remaining cheeze/cheese.

8. The remaining sauce.

9. Lastly add your topping of choice. We chose sliced tomatoes for this late summer feast!

10. Cover in foil and bake for 15 minutes with it on, then 15 with it off. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.


Denver is all business when it comes to this delicious lasagna.

Guest Recipe: Roasted Salad

For the next two weeks I'm thrilled to feature guest recipes from my dear friend Natalie. She's an awesome vegan cook, a mom to two sweet little boys, and a Toronto ex-pat like myself. Our respective downtown apartments used to be just a couple blocks from one another, but these days I pack the kids in the car and we drive from the farm out to Peterborough to visit. Wish we had the time to do it more often.

Natalie with her two monkeys, Barrett and Denver.


Natalie's at her most creative in the wee hours, when the house is quiet, and that's when this dish came to her. Sure, salad is delicious, but what about a roasted salad? That is, a salad made up entirely of oven roasted veggies. Mmm. The potatoes, squash and beans give this dish some weight and texture, while the tomatoes add caramelized sweetness and the kale a crisp leafiness. I think all I need to say are two final words: roasted garlic.


- 1 lb potatoes, cubed
- 1 medium sized patty pan squash, sliced
- 2 cups snap beans, trimmed
- 2 cups kale, coarsely chopped
- 2 cups tomatoes, chopped
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
- olive oil
- balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat oven to 350F. Toss patty pan squash, potatoes and snap beans in olive oil in a roasting pan and salt lightly.

2. Bake, stirring occasionally, until veggies are tender and beginning to brown, about 45 minutes.

3. Add tomatoes, kale and garlic to roasting pan along with a bit more olive oil and salt.

4. Bake until kale is beginning to crisp, about 5 minutes.

5. Remove from pan to a salad bowl and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. Take this time to pull kids away from their fun activity for boring old dinner. Might take longer than expected...

Just 2 more minutes, Mom, please?


6. Serve with additional olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and enjoy with some good friends. Yum!

Recipe: Roasted Patty Pan Squash

Roasted Patty Pan Squash

I dream of this dish all through the long Canadian winter. Sunny yellow squash is sliced and roasted in the oven or under the broiler until the surface caramelizes and the inside is tender and just a little bit sweet. It's a fantastic side dish on it's own but can also be chopped up into smaller chunks after roasting and thrown into a summer pasta alongside tomatoes, sweet peppers and basil.

- 1-2 patty pan squash, depending on size
- olive oil
- salt


1. Preheat oven to 450F if using bake method. No preheat needed if using broiler method.

2. Slice patty pans into roughly 1/2 inch thick slices.

3. Lay on cookie sheet on top of parchment paper, drizzle with olive oil and salt to taste. Ideally you shouldn't have to overlap any slices, but don't worry if you do, they will shrink a bit with cooking and then you can pack them more tightly together.

4. Either bake or set under broiler. Turn slices over when the surface is thoroughly browned and caramelized. This will take about 20 minutes per side on bake and 10 minutes per side on broil, depending on the thickness of the slices. Don't under-brown! The squash only gets sweeter and more tender the longer you cook so when in doubt cook more rather than less.

5. Enjoy the summery goodness on your plate!