Classic Ratatouille With Cheesy Chicken Breast
This Ratatouille is a vegetable packed meal that also incorporates protein from chicken breast and melty, creamy mozzarella cheese.
*Omit Chicken and Cheese to make Vegan
*Recipe is gluten free, paleo and keto friendly
Ratatouille has been one of my favorite dishes recently, not only because it reminds me of the adorable rat in the Disney movie, but because it really takes you back to the simple classics. I was reading a bit about the dish here: https://whatscookingamerica.net/Soup/Provencal-Ratatouille.htm and learned that it was originally a peasant’s dish that poor farmers would make when they had extra crops that needed to be used up. Ratatouille recipes usually just call for eggplant, zucchini, tomato, yellow squash and herbs, which are such simple and healthy ingredients. This dish is truly an example of how simple food can be so beautiful. After eating ratatouille, I feel nourished, warm, comforted, and grateful. Grateful to have fresh vegetables, a home and an oven to cook in.
This is the kind of dish that I feel brings people together. It’s a lot of fun, not to mention therapeutic, to cook because the eggplant, yellow squash, zucchini, and tomatoes have to be chopped carefully and evenly as they will be arranged just so, like the photo shows below. Arranging the vegetables could be a really fun way to get the kids (or significant other) involved. Traditionally, the vegetables would be placed in a spiral form all the way to the middle but I added chicken breast in the center instead. The chicken simply needs to be trimmed and placed in the middle. I tend to flip it at least once when I am adding it in to make sure it is fully submerged in the tomato sauce. Then, I add a little bit of salt, herbs, mozzarella, and olive oil on top and call it a day!
While the dish is baking, you’ll notice that the kitchen starts smelling like fresh tomato sauce and basil – so comforting in both the summer when the vegetables can be picked right out of the garden, or in the winter when you need a warming, nourishing meal. You can’t go wrong with ratatouille as it’s an easy, extremely healthy meal that can nourish and comfort the entire family. If you are cooking for one or two, it’s also great for meal prep. I know you are going to love this dish, I bet it even makes it into your weekly meal rotation.
- 6 Servings
- Prep time: 20 Minutes|Cook time: 1 Hours|Total time: 1 Hours 20 Minutes
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Cut Tomato, Eggplant, Zucchini, Yellow Squash into rounds. *Note: If the eggplant is larger, you may need to cut the rounds in half to arrange them in line with the other veggies.
- Dice bell peppers and onions.
- Mice garlic.
- Heat a cast iron or other oven safe skillet over medium heat and add 1 TBS olive oil.
- Add onions and bell peppers, sauté for 2 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook another 2 minutes, stirring.
- Pour in tomato sauce and about half of the minced basil leaves and parsley. Add salt and pepper.
- Cook, stirring, for about 5 more minutes.
- Turn heat off and carefully arrange vegetables, alternating all of the different kinds. Place around the edge of the pan standing up vertically as pictured. Leave a circle in the center for the chicken breast.
- Trim any excess fat off of chicken breasts. Season with salt, pepper and oregano and let rest for 5 min.
- Place chicken breasts in the center, immersing them in the sauce. You may want to flip them over once to make sure both sides are fully covered.
- Place a slice of fresh mozzarella on top of each chicken breast.
- Mix remaining herbs with 2 TBS of olive oil and a dash of salt and pour over top of the entire mixture in the skillet.
- Cover pan with foil and place in center rack of preheated oven. Bake covered for 30 minutes.
- Remove foil after 30 minutes, then bake uncovered for another 30 minutes. **If you have a kitchen thermometer, make sure chicken is at least 165 degrees in the center. If it is too cold, bake for another 5 minutes, then check again.
- Once finished baking, turn the broil feature of the oven onto high and broil for about 30 seconds, or until cheese gets some brown bubbles.
- Remove from oven, let cool for a few minutes, then serve.
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